Slow Metabolism: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Last Updated on August 13, 2019 | by

Metabolism is a process that breaks down energy from the food for sustaining life processes. Metabolism is partly genetic and this is perhaps one of the reasons why some people tend to not gain weight so quickly even after heavy eating.

While many others have to watch what they eat in order to maintain their weight. The latter is more or less a result of slow metabolism that cannot be altered so easily.

Let us explore some of the reasons for slow metabolism:

Causes of Slow Metabolism

  • Lack of muscle tissue

Interestingly, fast metabolism helps burning calories even when you are asleep, unlike slow metabolic process, which exempts one from such a luxury. This situation gets further complicated when one has more fat reserves in the body than muscle tissue as a result of which the fat burning process gets slower further. It is for this reason that it is highly recommended to indulge in weight training and interval training exercises to get more lean muscle.

  • Lack of testosterone

A lack of or low levels of testosterone is known for causing higher levels of fat deposits in the body. The higher the fat levels, the lower the ability of the body to burn these.

  • Thyroid problems

Thyroid is one hormone that regulates the smooth functioning of all the organs of the body. Once this gland goes out of order, the entire functioning of the body goes haywire, including metabolism. An underactive thyroid leads towards hypothyroidism, which in turn slows the basal metabolic rate.

  • Lack of estrogen

A deficiency of estrogen in the body is linked to high levels of fat mass and low levels of muscle mass. As discussed earlier, the greater the fat deposits in the body, the lower would be the metabolic processes. Women nearing or going through menopause also get low levels of estrogen as a result of which they tend to gain more weight during this period.

  • High levels of insulin

High levels of insulin in the body are related directly to both insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. While the former reduces the body’s ability to absorb glucose thereby increasing the levels of blood sugar in the body, the latter, on the other hand, is known for delaying weight loss process or causing basal metabolic rate.

  • High level of cortisol

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, when in excess causes the body to think that one is under extreme duress and may, in turn need more energy to survive. It causes a vicious circle in fact whose end result is slow metabolism and nothing else.

Symptoms of Slow Metabolism

Just the way the causes for slow metabolism are varied, the symptoms of this condition are also varied and many. Some of those crucial symptoms are:

  • Sugar cravings

In case of more sugar cravings or carbohydrate intake, it is safe to assume that the person in question has developed insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means slow metabolism and the slower the metabolism, the faster would be the weight gain.

  • Depression

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that gut health is related directly to not just physical well being but also emotional and mental health. A healthy gut leads to a healthy brain, which is fast and active. An upset gut, on the other hand, means a sluggish metabolism that further leads towards feelings of hopelessness and depression.

  • Brittle nails

Slow metabolism means slow absorption of nutrients in the body as a result of which our nails, hair, skin are deprived of the essential micronutrients for healthy sustenance. A person suffering with slow metabolic rate may thus have hair fall, or brittle nails and even dry skin.

  • Unexplained weight gain

An unexplained weight change, whether gain or loss of it, is an indicator of something not right within the body. When the symptom is weight gain, one of the earliest possible causes may be slow metabolism.

  • Fatigue

As debilitating it may sound, very often the cause of chronic fatigue is slow metabolic rate. Fatigue is known to cause interruptions in daily life activities and requires a right diagnosis as well as treatment.

Treatment for Slow Metabolism

  • Eat healthy

It goes without saying that you are what you eat. Eat healthy foods and include nuts, seeds and avocados in your diet. Just the way gasoline serves as a fuel for the engine, the above listed foods provide the required fuel for your body. Include colorful foods for they are rich in antioxidants. Eating energy boosting nutrients such as vitamin B, omega 3 fatty acids, etc. speed up the metabolic process. Avoid sugar and such goods that have high glycemic index or carbohydrate value.

  • Stay active

It goes without saying that an active you is the door towards a more healthier and a happier you. Make walking your habit and include aerobic activity in your daily schedule. Weight training and internal training are also good exercises for speeding up metabolism.

  • Sleep well

A good sleep improves the performance of the brain, reduces the risk of heat disease and inflammation in the body.

Conclusion

When it comes to slow metabolism, certain diseases or health conditions, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome, are also the culprits. However a slow metabolic rate is more in need of a lifestyle change than medications. In case after all your efforts and hard work, the situation persists, consult a doctor.

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