Herbs & supplements, naturopathy, Women's health


Slow Oxidizers
A slow oxidizer is an individual who’s Thyroid and Adrenal glands are underactive, resulting in a slower metabolism.

Slow Oxidizers are more prone to chronic fatigue, weight gain, Copper toxicity, hypoglycemia and a slower digestive system leading to fewer bowel movements. Slow Oxidizers tend to do better taking dietary enzymes with their food since their low Sodium retention due to low Aldosterone production by the adrenals will decrease the production of HCL in the stomach. Slow Oxidizers should also reduce dietary intake of Fat since fat takes a longer time to metabolize and slows down the oxidation rate even more. Simple sugars should also best be avoided since they will worsen a hypoglycemic condition by overstimulating the production of insulin which will wear down the already compromised carbohydrate metabolic capabilities of a Slow Oxidizer.

Reduced Thyroid activity means an elevation of Calcium in the tissues since the Thyroid is responsible for lowering serum Calcium levels. Meanwhile a reduction in Adrenal function will cause a decline in both Aldosterone and Cortisol hormone levels.

Low Aldosterone production will lower Sodium levels in the tissues which causes salt cravings in a Slow oxidizer. Low Aldosterone will cause an increase in Magnesium retention which will have a sedating effect on the nervous system.

Low Cortisol production means less conversion of proteins and fats into glucose, which is how Cortisol is able to maintain blood sugar levels. Without this conversion taking place, a Slow oxidizer will tend to have a more severe trend for hypoglycemia as blood sugar levels cannot be maintained. Slow oxidizers therefore tend to have severe sugar cravings in order to rescue their plummeting blood sugar levels.

Low Cortisol production will also mean that there will be lower Potassium levels in the tissues. This is because Potassium is a intracellular electrolyte, meaning inside the cell. As Cortisol converts and proteins and fats into glucose, Potassium is released from these cells as they are being mobilized as fuel for energy production. Less Cortisol production means less of this conversion taking place which will result in a lower serum Potassium reading.

A high tissue Calcium reading with a low tissue Potassium reading clearly indicates Low Thyroid function. Potassium is required to sensitize the cells to Thyroid hormone, while Calcium blocks the absorption and transfer of all hormones and nutrients into the cell. This type of situation will cause extreme fatigue as the Thyroid is unable to help convert glucose into ATP energy as other important developmental processes. Low Thyroid in children can cause severe developmental delays.

Low cortisol levels result in low blood sugar levels, which can cause fatigue and depression.
Diminished thyroid activity impairs the utilization of glucose, contributing to energy loss.
Elevated tissue calcium and magnesium levels in the slow oxidizer have a sedating effect. Calcium increases the voltage at which nerve cells fire. The effect of excess soft tissue calcium is a depressing or numbing effect on the central nervous system.
The slow oxidizer also commonly has a deficiency of available calcium and magnesium. This detrimentally affects cellular energy production.

When the tissue calcium levels are above about 200 mg%, we refer to the condition as a Calcium shell. Individuals with this pattern are commonly defensive, withdrawn and mentally depressed. The calcium shell is an extreme coping mechanism, brought on by emotional or nutritional imbalances. It is essentially a numbing of the senses so that an individual does not have to feel the pain of an uncomfortable situation or hurtful experience. It is a coping mechanism to avoid stress but causes extreme fatigue.

Copper tends to accumulate in the tissues of the slow oxidizer, due to adrenal gland weakness. High tissue copper levels are intimately associated with depression. While the mechanism is not clear, it is known that monoamine oxidase is a copper-dependent enzyme. One class of anti-depressant drugs is monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors.
Low tissue potassium levels, commonly noted in slow oxidizers, can also contribute to fatigue and depression. Potassium is needed to sensitize the tissues to thyroid hormone and potassium is a key regulator of metabolism.

The slow oxidizer may also develop a bipolar disorder. One reason for this is that copper can have a stimulatory effect, causing fluctuations between manic and depression conditions.
A Slow Oxidizer Metabolic rate is revealed on a Hair mineral analysis test by a Calcium to Potassium ratio greater than 8:1 and a Sodium to Magnesium ratio less than 2:1 as defined by Dr. Paul Eck.

Slow oxidizers tend to have dryer hair and skin, sweat less, low blood pressure and tend to be cold. A basal body temperature less than 97.5 degrees farenheight is indicative of reduced thyroid activity.

A slower metabolism means less metabolic byproducts such as acetates, therefore the slow oxidizer will be more alkaline with a plasma ph of 7.43 or above.

A low thyroid diet for a slow oxidizer should consist of low fat proteins and complex vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collard greens, green beans, beet greens, and other nutrient rich and low glycemic sources of proteins and carbohydrates. Simple sugars such as bread, pasta, sweets, fruit, and fruit juice should be eliminated from the diet or reduced. Fat intake should also be very moderate.

Special digestive spices such as ginger, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves can be included in your cooking to help increase the metabolic rate, warm the digestive system and increase the absorption of food nutrients. These spices can also help speed up the metabolism to increase weight loss.

Cold foods are best avoided. Whenever eating anything from the refrigerator, always allow it to sit out and warm up before eating. Hot soups, porridge and cooked meats and vegetables are recommended to warm the Spleen (TCM term for the digestive system, not the actual organ).


Written by Alex Tuggle LAc