What is AMPK?
Have you heard of AMPK? It’s a super cool enzyme made up of three proteins that plays a major role in keeping your body’s energy levels in check. Especially when you’re in a caloric deficit, AMPK steps up to the plate and helps maintain a healthy energy balance. But that’s not all – when activated, AMPK has a bunch of amazing benefits for your entire body!
First off, it helps improve your insulin sensitivity, which is great news for anyone looking to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Plus, it even helps with cholesterol synthesis – talk about a multitasking superstar!
AMPK also helps you burn fat more efficiently by targeting those stubborn fatty areas through hepatic fatty acid oxidation and triglyceride synthesis and lipogenesis. And if you’re a fan of the keto diet, you’ll love this: AMPK stimulates ketogenesis, which is your body’s natural process of converting stored fat into energy.
But that’s not all – AMPK is also involved in multiple known longevity pathways, which means it can help you age gracefully and stay healthy in the long run. And get this – it even works on a cellular level! AMPK helps regulate activity of nutrients and hormones to maintain balance in the body (homeostasis) no matter what’s going on with your energy levels.
So there you have it – AMPK is a true powerhouse enzyme that has a ton of benefits for your body. Keep it activated and watch the magic happen!
Functional Structure of AMPK
AMPK is an important enzyme that is made up of three different sub-units: α, β, and γ. Each sub-unit plays a unique role in how AMPK is activated and functions in the body.
The γ sub-unit is particularly interesting because it has four different cystathionine beta synthase (CBS) domains. These domains help AMPK accurately detect changes in the ratio of AMP to ATP in the body. Think of AMP and ATP as molecules that play a key role in your body’s energy levels – when there’s more AMP than ATP, it signals to AMPK that your body needs more energy. The four CBS domains give AMPK two specific places where AMP can bind. When AMP binds to one of these locations, it “opens the door” for the next corresponding ATP point.
Interestingly, each sub-unit of AMPK is genetically encoded with its own specific markers. The γ sub-unit is encoded by the genes PRKAG1, PRKAG2, and PRKAG3, while the β sub-unit is encoded by the genes PRKAB1 and PRKAB2. Finally, the α sub-unit is encoded by the genes PRKAA1 and PRKAA2.
Overall, AMPK is a complex enzyme made up of three sub-units that work together to help regulate your body’s energy levels.
AMPK Signaling Pathway
The AMPK pathway acts as a master regulator of homeostasis on a cellular level. Activated in response to stimuli (fasting, exercise, and/or nutraceutical supplements) that modulate ATP supply. Activating AMPK positively regulates the signaling pathways and replenish your cellular ATP supplies.
Benefits of AMPK
AMPK blocks the production of cholesterol and triglycerides. Instead promoting cellular thermogenesis and burning fat.
AMPK senses the level of ATP being produced in the body. This results in increased hypothalamic energy expenditure, as well as improved appetite control.
In order to conserve energy at a caloric deficit. AMPK inhibits the production of proteins instead converting stored fat into usable ketones.
AMPK activators have been shown support several longevity pathways. Promoting healthy aging by enhancing autophagy and decreasing protein production.
AMPK activation is incredibly effective at protecting against cardiovascular diseases. By improving blood flow and reducing bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
AMPK inhibits NFκB, a primary activator of chronic inflammation, and thereby decreases inflammation in the body over time.
“If there is one small thing you could do to live a longer healthier life. I believe that is to activate AMPK regularly either by intermittent fasting or by using nutraceutical supplements.”
Natural Ways To Activate AMPK
When you exercise, you expend energy in the form of ATP. This results in lack of energy, which then stimulates AMPK. High-intensity workouts like high intensity interval training and exercises that involve contraction of large muscle groups (compound exercises like Olympic or power lifting) effectively activate AMPK. AMPK also improves muscle performance over time which in turn makes it easier to activate AMPK via exercise.
Restricting calorie intake has been known to have several beneficial effects against cancer, aging, and diabetes. These effects are mostly facilitated by AMPK. The two methods of activating AMPK through calorie restriction is either eating at a caloric deficit (if the goal is also to lose weight) and/or intermittent fasting, the practice of reducing the time you consume calories to a small window of no more than 8 hours per day.
Cold exposure activates AMPK in the hypothalamus. You can achieve this effect by taking a 5 minute cold shower or 2 minute ice plunge first thing in the morning. It’s a bit extreme for me but this practice is getting more and more popular today and is an effective and simple AMPK activator.
Natural Supplements That Can Activate AMPK
- A-Lipoic Acid
- Apple Cider Vinegar / Pomegranate vinegar / Acetic acid
- Arctigenin (Arctium lappa)
- Bitter Melon (Cucurbitane)
- Danshen / Salvia Miltiorrhiza / TanshioneIIA
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Ginsenoside RB1
- Red Rice Yeast
- Vitamin E / gamma tocotrienols + Turkey tail / PSP