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Metabolic typing

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Metabolic typing is the term for a form of nutritional management and diet based upon the concept that people have unique metabolisms, and that therefore the nutrients and their balance which are appropriate for one person may be inappropriate for a second, and detrimental for a third.

The original concept was formulated primarily by William Wollcott and his company healthexcel since 1984. A variation on the same theme was also started by Harold Kristal, a doctor who worked alongside William Wollcott studying oxidation.

A principle of metabolic typing is that different populations of people and their respective genetic pools have developed over time, different types of metabolism. For example, some people oxidise carbohydrates quickly, and others slowly, some people have a sympathetic nervous system which is more (or less) reactive than their parasympathetic system, and so on. Because of this, different nutrients, eating patterns, and supplementary trace elements will often have different effects for different people, and it is stated that this is a major confound in nutritional and wellness research and dieting plans, because a particular regime, correlation or observation will always be applicable for some individuals (ie some metabolic types), but inapplicable or deleterious for others. For example, some people might benefit from a high protein diet which would lead them to feel high energy and healthy, but for others the identical diet would problematically lead to weight gain and fatigue. Such people might need a different diet (perhaps low protein/high carbohydrate) instead for the same effect, due to differences in how their bodies metabolise food. Similarly, for some people a particular supplement such as Potassium (or a particular form of it) may help, while for others with identical symptoms and trace element analysis, adding that identical supplement may worsten the problem.

The term metabolic type thus refers to factors such as whether a persons body oxidises food quickly or slowly, which branch of the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic/parasympathetic systems) is more reactive, and how other homeostatic systems within the body are naturally balanced, to determine a nutritional regime that provides ongoing energy and appropriate balance of nutrients for that individuals body.

In normal usage, metabolic typing uses readily accessible indicators such as how ones body reacts to certain foods and to certain eating patterns, and common visible symptoms related to the skin, eyes, and other superficial parts of the body, to assess different aspects of a persons metabolism and categorise them into broad metabolic types, and thus provide ways an individual can develop a better understanding of their own nutritional needs in a manner individual to themselves rather than relying upon potentially inappropriate generalisations based upon other body types.


Metabolic typing (under the healthexcel approach) recongises 10 fundamental control systems that dictate how chemical reactions behave within the body. The path to health lies in balancing each of these systems with the exact nutrients they need. Losing weight and reduction in chronic conditions of general ill-health are positive side effects of this balance. Key to this is addressing the main two systems, the autonomic and oxidative system. These shape exactly which foods your body needs to be healthy.

Examples of this can be seen in populations such as the Inuit (Eskimo) or tropical tribespeople, whose diets, although radically different, seem to be healthy for them, and also in the reduction in health that such populations often seem to incur when they exchange their diet for that of a different population, even if notionally "well balanced".

The single biggest discovery of metaboplic typing was the recognition that nutritionally, the same nutrient can have completely opposite biochemical effects depending upon how the metabolic systems are balanced in the person concerned. For example, two people presenting with high calcium and low potassium levels would usually be considered to have the same problem. According to the work of William Wolcott, a developer of metabolic typing theory:[1]

"As a slow oxidiser, Kitty resolved her chronic health problems with a high-potassium/low-calcium protocol... the logical conclusion just by glancing at her [hair analysis] chart."
"But because George is a fast oxidiser, we know his cellular calcium levels are low. And because his hair tissue calcium levels are high, he has a quantitative insufficiency, meaning that there is enough calcium in the body but it is neither where it should be (in the cells) nor is it being used properly... George was able to resolve his problems with a low-potassium/high-calcium protocol."

This opposite effect is said to explain why such startling contradictions are often seen in the world of nutrition.

Metabolic Typing considers as central to nutritional needs, two main systems of metabolic analysis: the Oxidative (or energy generating) process and the Autonomic (or energy regulating) process. The basic premise is that one or the other of these two systems (the Oxidative or the Autonomic) will often be more dominant in controlling any given person's metabolism, and that each of these can stabilise allostatically at different balance-points depending on the individual's genetic makeup. Metabolic Typing seeks to identify 1) which system is dominant in any given individual and 2) which of two sub-types within that system characterizes the individual (Fast or Slow Oxidizer within the Oxidative system, and Sympathetic or Parasympathetic within the Autonomic system).[2]

Healthexcel's system would put clients onto one of six nutritional plans, depending which system was dominant, slow, mixed or fast oxdation or sympathetic, balanced or parasympathetic. The sub type would also not be used to characterize the individual but is another piece of information in the 10 system blueprint about each person.

The variant developed by Dr Kristal looks at these main two systems, but is claimed not to look fully at the other eight, and has been criticised for over simplifying the science and not taking dominance factors into account correctly. The healthexcel theory would also hold that Dr Kristals approach is wrong in that its advice for Sympathetic and Parasympathetic dominants is the opposite way around. This has been said to be because Dr Kristal was working with William Wollcott on the oxidation system and not the Autonomic system.

Dr Kristals theory of Metabolic Typing recommends two basic types of diets, based on one's type:

  • Fast Oxidizers and Sympathetic-Dominants: benefit from diets higher in fats and protein, lower in complex carbohydrates
  • Slow Oxidizers and Parasympathic-Dominants: benefit from diets higher in complex carbohydrates, lower in fats and protein

While the above diet types are appropriate for those who test strongly as one of the four metabolic subtypes, there will be a significant minority of people whose test results show their metabolisms to be balanced. Those people can eat a mixture of foods from the two basic types of diets. In addition, testing strongly as one of above-mentioned subtypes is usually the result of prolonged dietary imbalances. After a period of therapeutic diet correction and supplementation, those whose metabolisms later show a metabolic balancing can eat a modest amount of foods they previously avoided.[3]

Healthexcel claim that everyone's nutrition routine can be found very precisley. They state that the can find the exact nutrients that will cover evryones nutritional demands. They do nont use blood test instead looking at the overall pattern of behaviour shown by the body. .e.g hunger, reaction to foods are all indicative of certain patterns inside therefore avoiding the need for tests. They believe that everyone has a unique geentic nutritional need and metabolic typing seeks to discover what your needs are today, and eat in accordance to these until your body chemistry reverts to its genetic style of functioning.

Healthexcel's theory of metabolic typing is based on the work of many many scientist, the most renown are Weston A Price, Nutrition and Physical Degradation, Roger Wlliams, Biochemical Individuality, Dr Kelly, One Answer to Cancer, George Watson, Nutrition and Your Mind and William Wollcott, The Metabolic Typing Diet. Healthexcel's bibleography page contains an extended list of contributors.

Healthexcel have analysed over 60 000 people in the last 30 years and their theory is rapidly growing with main stream popularity with leading health and fitness experts and increasing number of Doctors, the most renown being Dr joe Mercola who has the biggest health website on the internet outside government sites.


  1. ^ The Metabolic Typing Diet, Wolcott and Fahey, p.118-119
  2. ^ (About Metabolic Typing. Retrieved on 2006-09-05.)
  3. ^ (Kristal, D.D.S., Harold J; James Haig, N.C. (2001). The Nutrition Solution: A Guide to Your Metabolic Type. North Atlantic Books.)


The correct diet for a specific individual is determined from a combinations of a questionare and blood, urine, and saliva tests. The diet consists of a guideline of foods and supplements that are useful and ones that are to be avoided. Tests are best done in the lab of a metabolic typing practitioner, but home-based testing kits that yield less precise results are available.

Should the theory of Metabolic typing be correct, it may explain why certain diets (e.g. Atkins) appear to work for some but not for others.

External links

  • Healthexcel
  • Metabolic typing information
  • Metabolic Imbalances and Tests
  • Manhattan Metabolic Center*
  • Eat For Change - Metabolic Typing and Holistic Nutrition*
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