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Biosignature modulation: science or science fiction?
Biosignature modulation: science or science fiction?

Biosignature modulation: science or science fiction?

Date: November 02, 2020
We all know plicometry; the method of measuring body fat implemented by the skinfolder and which allows to detect the thickness of the skin folds.
The protocols generally used include the detection of 7 or 3 landmarks (Jackson and Pollock) and the study of the correlation between subcutaneous fat, total fat and body density in order to reconstruct the percentage of fat mass and consequently that of lean mass.
But there are also those who have argued, through studies and tests, that the accumulation of fat in specific areas of the body can be related to a hormonal imbalance.

Charles Poliquin and Biosignature modulation: what is it all about?

He is one of the best known bodybuilding athletic trainers in the world and is the father of the "biological signature"; the theory according to which it is possible to establish a person's hormonal baggage without blood tests and that body fat is nothing more than the result of hormonal imbalances.
There are 12 body fat sites in the Poliquin Biosignature that can be tested and these include cheek, chin, pectoral region, triceps, umbilical, above iliac, subscapularis, middle axillary, quadriceps, hamstrings, knee and calf.
Poliquin's goal was not only to establish the fat mass but also to establish, based on the distribution of the fat mass itself, the exact hormonal baggage of a person.

Hormonal balance is determined on the basis of 12 measurements of the thickness of the skin folds
With the Poliquin method, if you do not have a calorie deficit but you manipulate the hormones through different types of supplementation, you can shift fat without changing its quantity.
If we examine this concept, it is easy to think that "shifting the fat" for example from the abdomen to the legs of a man could be counterproductive.
It is quite another thing when during a diet, the goal of which is to lose fat mass and try to lose it in difficult places (for a woman, for example, thighs and hips) hormonal manipulation could be the key to a perfect result.
For Poliquin, the modulation of the biological signature is the most effective test able to accurately determine the amount of fat in each of the main sites while the remaining test methods are able to provide only a percentage.

Genetics: the non-modifiable factor pre-established at birth

In arguing his theory, Poliquin focuses on genetics that no one, by any method, will ever be able to change.
The differences, both in hormone production and in the fat storage pattern, are largely genetically determined and the redistribution of fat mass is therefore not always desirable.
About 50% of the difference in the fat storage model between men and women can be explained solely by our DNA and this already indicates that the role of hormones in influencing the fat storage model is marginal.
However regional fat distribution is affected by the activity of various hormones - hormones can still make a big difference in a person's fat distribution.

Cortisol: a hormone not to be underestimated

Known by all as the "stress hormone" it acts on glucocorticoid receptors by stimulating LPL (lipoproteinlipase) which stimulates the fat cells to accumulate fat.
Simply put, LPL is an enzyme that makes fat cells ready for storage.
The fat between the organs of the abdomen is made up mainly of fat cells called visceral adipocytes which have a very high percentage of these glucocorticoid receptors compared to any other fat cell.

Cortisol is the hormone with the strongest relationship in fat distribution in both sexes and causes belly fat to accumulate only if there is not enough testosterone to stop it

In the trunk, for example, the number is very low and minimal in those on the hips and upper legs.
This is why cortisol causes an accumulation of fat mainly on the abdomen and only minimally on the lower part of the body.
But there are also other hormones involved such as testosterone for example; the cortisol antagonist.
Cortisol stimulates LPL and testosterone inhibits it by having a permissive effect on the action of cortisol.
In men the effect of estrogen is incorporated into the effect of testosterone and the production of estrogen (estradiol + estrone + estriol) is always proportional to the production of androgens.
The main producer of estrogen is the aromatase enzyme which converts a portion of androgens into estrogen most of which come from testosterone aromatase.
In any case, estrogen is always a proportion of testosterone: they rise together and fall together.
For this reason, it is impossible to distinguish between the fat-storing effects of testosterone and estrogen in men.

What about women instead?!

What testosterone is for men, estrogen is for women; the main cortisol antagonist that reduces LPL activity.
A woman with high levels of estrogen will present in the classic "pear shape" while a woman with low levels of estrogen will have a more pronounced fat distribution pattern on the abdomen and less on the lower body.

Testosterone in women has the opposite effect of estrogen and therefore centralizes the accumulation of fat just like cortisol: the mechanisms are not yet known but this is what we can observe (increase in testosterone and decrease in estrogen) during menopause where the fat moves from the lower to the upper body.
Women are complex and this complexity is represented by progesterone whose effects completely depend on the physiological state in which they occur.
Progesterone stimulates LPL and can therefore lead to fat accumulation, block the glucocorticoid receptor and thereby reduce the fat-centralizing effects of cortisol.
This complexity is probably the reason why progesterone is not present among the sites considered by the Poliquin Biosignature.

The thyroid

The biological signature states that excessive accumulation of fat on the rib cage indicates a malfunction of the thyroid gland.
In particular, people with a lot of trunk fat have very high concentrations of the thyroid hormone T3.
There are several mechanisms by which thyroid activity increases in response to overall fat levels in the body.
Leptin, for example; the hormone produced by fat cells stimulates the conversion of T4 into T3, setting in motion the entire production chain of the thyroid hormone.
In general, the production of thyroid hormones is linked to body weight and the higher the levels of fat the more the thyroid works actively and its state changes with the change of metabolism: in the face of a weight loss its activity decreases for lower energy expenditure while, in the face of weight gain, you will notice an increase in his work.
Insulin and biological signature

It is the hormone that facilitates the passage of fatty acids from the blood to the cells, stimulates the synthesis of fatty acids starting from excess glucose and amino acids and inhibits lipolysis (fatty acids for energy purposes).
It interacts strongly with LPL to store fatty acids from the blood in adipose tissue and, as cortisol stimulates the production of LPL, insulin enhances its effect. According to Poliquin's theory, the deposition of fat on the back is an indication of all this: if the insulin levels are high the sites analyzed do not lie.


In order for the body to function optimally it is necessary that a hormonal balance is reached because, very often, it is precisely the intervention on hormonal imbalances that leads to the resolution of more serious problems.

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