How AMPK Affects Cellular Health
The enzyme, AMPK, stands for Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase. It is found inside every cell in the body and plays an essential role in cellular homeostasis. (Cellular homeostasis is when a cell takes action to maintain health and balance.)
The major role of AMPK is to detect each cell’s energy status and to trigger responses that maintain the cell’s energy at precisely the optimal level. If there is not enough energy available, the cell will starve. On the other hand, if there is too much energy, a cell can exhaust and disrupt cellular components. In either case, the cell along with its tissues and organelle systems functions inefficiently without AMPK maintaining homeostasis.
Obviously, the human body is made up of trillions of cells. When cells experience apoptosis—or cellular death—due to starvation or exhausted cellular components, the whole bodily organism will decline. The lack of AMPK creates energy inefficiency across all cells and ultimately leads to dysfunction of the body’s systems.
The Exact Process of AMPK
Every cell in your body depends absolutely on a steady supply of energy in the form of chemical bonds. When you eat and absorb nutrients, energy from chemical bonds in food is released and passed down a complex series of enzymes until it is stored again in a molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. The more ATP that is present in the cell, the higher the cell’s available energy supply. When ATP is broken down to release energy for cellular work, the product is adenosine monophosphate or AMP.
If a cell were to use up all of its energy from ATP, it would rapidly fill up with low-energy AMP molecules. It would then run out of energy, and eventually, collapse and die as it was unable to sustain even the simplest energy-requiring processes.
And that is precisely where AMPK comes into play.
AMPK is biochemically activated in the presence of rising levels of AMP (and decreasing levels of ATP). Activated AMPK, in turn, increases fatty acid oxidation and glucose transport, thereby releasing additional energy from available or stored sources—fats and sugars.
AMPK Levels Decline with Age
Studies show that AMPK enzyme overall in the body declines with age—especially with women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms. As we age, our bodies also develop a low-grade inflammation. Low-grade inflammation, for example, results in neurodegenerative decline.
There are emerging studies indicating that the function of AMPK is not restricted to the maintenance of energy metabolism during increased energy consumption. It can also coordinate several housekeeping mechanisms, such as cleaning out damaged structures and alleviate stress by increasing resistance of tissue stress. AMPK can be an effective enzyme for combatting tissue inflammation like that which is found in neurodegenerative degradation (Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.)
What to Take Away
AMPK stimulation is a sophisticated approach to anti-aging medicine. Medical providers who practice AMPK production should have a comprehensive protocol based on your unique biochemistry. For patients, the takeaway about the importance of AMPK for anti-aging is:
- AMPK coordinates signaling of many age-related transcription factor pathways.
- Responsiveness of AMPK activation declines with aging.
- Increased AMPK activity extends the lifespan of lower organisms.
- It seems that AMPK signaling is a crucial regulator of healthspan and lifespan.
Make sure your medical provider innately understands how AMPK influences chemical pathways to enhance your body’s performance.