Slow metabolism: Is it to blame for weight gain?

slow metabolism effects

The metabolism is a process by which the body is converting what we eat and drink into energy. Even when we are resting, our bodies need energy for the digestion, blood circulation, breathing and many other functions. The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the number of calories which your body is using for these basic functions. The metabolism is divided into 2 categories – anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells. Catabolism is the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy. The metabolism is linked to the nutrition and the availability of nutrients. The biochemical or metabolic pathways by which the cell ultimately obtains energy is described with the term bioenergetics. One of the vital components of metabolism is the energy formation.

slow metabolism diet

Slow metabolism symptoms

Here are some signs and symptoms which can indicate that you have slow metabolism:

  • Difficulty in losing weight: If you have a decrease in your metabolism, then it can be harder for you to lose weight because this is linked to burning more calories than you take in. If you are not eating well and you restrict your diet to lose weight, then your metabolism is naturally going to slow because it conserves calories for energy. When your metabolism slows, then it burns fewer calories and you have more chances to keep your weight on.
  • Lethargy and chronic fatigue: When the metabolism is lagging, then your energy levels and the process of breaking down food and transforming into energy will be diminished. There are some medical ailments which can reduce the red blood cell count brought on by Vitamin B or iron deficiency and this can cause both slow metabolism and fatigue.
  • Weight gain: The food intake and the physical activity are the biggest determiners of the weight but the slowed metabolism can lead to weight gain because your body slows your calorie conversion and you burn fewer calories on the same amount of food in the day which ends up storing more fat in your body.
  • Dry and cracked skin: It is known that hormones which aid in keeping your skin and nails healthy are the same with the hormones which control metabolic processes. If there is an imbalance in the one, then there will be imbalance in the other. If you have dry, itchy or even oily skin, then it can lead to discoloration, paleness or an increase in the acne and these are all signs that your metabolism is running slowly.

Slow metabolism causes

There can be many factors which could lead to slow metabolism, such as

  • Thyroid: This is a gland in the neck which secretes hormones that regulate the metabolic rate and it is defining factor for the efficiency of your metabolism.
  • Hormone production: The hormone production is going hand and hand with the thyroid gland. The rate of production of hormones and the hormone levels are playing an important role in the functioning of metabolism. Here are some signs of possible hormone imbalance:
  • Weakened immune system
  • Depression or feelings of anxiety
  • Ongoing fatigue or low energy
  • Gender – women will typically lose hair at the crown of the head and menstrual cycles may become irregular
  • Genetics: This factor can have a great influence on the metabolic rate. Age and sex are the 2 main genetics.
  • Age: As we are getting older, the metabolism slows because the muscle mass decreases and it lowers the rate that you burn calories.
  • Sex: The metabolism is lower in women than men because it has more muscle mass and less body fat.
  • Underlying health conditions: Here are some underlying medical conditions which can increase your risk of slow metabolism:
  • Hashimoto’s disease: This is an autoimmune disorder which is attacking your thyroid and it can cause hypothyroidism and this can lower the metabolism. Mostly, it is affecting middle – aged women but also it can happen in men.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is an underactive thyroid. Women who have over 60 are having more chances to get this disease.
  • Cushing syndrome: This is a disorder of the adrenal glands which are small glands located on the top of each kidney and this results in high levels of the hormone cortisol.


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