What supplements boost metabolism and should you use them? A slow metabolism can have negative effects, so here’s what you should know if you’re considering taking something to boost it!
Can’t shed those extra pounds?
Feel bloated, uncomfortable, and sluggish all the time?
Your metabolism could be to blame!
If your digestive system isn’t quite doing what it’s meant to, metabolism booster pills could help.
But how do they work and will they actually help?
And what supplements boost metabolism anyway?
Let’s dive into the details and figure out if these supplements are worthwhile or not.
How Does Metabolism Work?
To understand how metabolism-boosting dietary supplements work, it’s important to know how the metabolism works.
The word “metabolism” covers a variety of chemical processes in the body that involve breaking things down and building things up.
For example, the digestive process counts as metabolism, but so does breathing and moving.
Metabolism is basically the process of energy production.
Which means that the rate at which your body digests food and absorbs nutrients is down to your metabolism.
Also, the amount of energy that your body expends (or calories it burns) during the day is also affected by your metabolism.
Chemical processes happen all the time, whether you’re awake, asleep, active, or inactive!
Your basal metabolic rate is the minimum amount of calories your body needs per day just to survive and keep doing these processes.
When it’s slow, it means fewer calories get burned and more get stored as fat.
A fast metabolism means you burn more calories and store less fat!
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There are two parts to metabolism: catabolism and anabolism.
In terms of digestion, catabolism is the breaking down of food molecules into usable energy.
Anabolism is when your body uses energy to perform functions.
Energy released, energy used.
That’s how a normal metabolism works.
In the case of a slow metabolism, it’s more like energy released, energy stored.
Your energy levels are negatively affected and your weight is likely to go up!
Why Does The Metabolism Slow Down?
So, metabolism is the process of food being broken down into energy, and that energy being used to fuel other bodily processes.
No doubt you’ve heard someone talk about having a slow metabolism, but what does that mean, and how does it happen?
A “slow metabolism” basically means that your body’s process of getting energy from food and using it for other things is sluggish.
Instead of providing the energy for the body to use, it stores it away as fat. Here are some of the things that can cause your body to store fat unnecessarily:
Hormonal changes can significantly slow your metabolism.
Insulin, a hormone that helps you manage blood sugar levels, is considered to be the main anabolic hormone in the body.
When your insulin levels are out of whack, your metabolism follows suit.
Diabetics and those who are overweight tend to have bigger problems with insulin, which means they’re more prone to developing a slow metabolism.
Lack of Sleep
When you’re short on sleep, the digestive system has a hard time digesting stuff properly, particularly carbs.
This leads to a spike in your blood sugar levels, leading to an increase in insulin… Which basically instructs your body to store extra energy as body fat.
A lack of sleep can also lead to your body needing more energy during the day…
Which could have you reaching for the pastries or getting takeout to increase energy, instead of taking a nap.
Which leads to our next point…
If you’re eating a balanced diet, your body should get all that it needs.
But if you’re eating too many calories, too few calories, or unhealthy foods, your metabolism can slow.
A high-fat diet means there’s just more fat for the body to store.
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Eating too few calories can accidentally slow down your metabolism as your body thinks food supply is low and it needs to store energy!
Lack of Activity
If your body is inactive, your metabolism may follow!
Exercise raises blood pressure, getting nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and organs quicker. This speeds up processes, increasing your metabolism both in terms of digestion and energy production.
It’s also been well-documented that interval training can boost your metabolism for hours after the exercise session.
High stress levels can increase the level of cortisol in your body.
This can lead to a whole lot of negative behaviors, including less sleep, poor diet choices, and a lack of exercise.
In this case, lowering the cortisol levels of the body is the key to fixing your metabolism!
Certain medications can halt your metabolism and pile on the pounds!
Cortisone is one of the main culprits, but you’d be surprised at how many meds have this effect.
If you’re on chronic meds, check the potential side effects and ask your doctor if you think it may be slowing your metabolism.
What Supplements Boost Metabolism?
To understand which supplements are best to increase your metabolism, you need to know what the most likely cause is behind your slow metabolism. This could prevent you from taking unnecessary supplements!
For example, if your sleep is out of whack, fixing that could speed up your metabolism significantly!
Maybe you’re on medication that’s making your digestion sluggish. Your doctor could prescribe an alternative instead.
Simply increasing your exercise, making better nutritional choices, and lowering stress in your everyday life can have hugely positive effects on your metabolism.
But if you’re already exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough rest, and you’re healthy and not on medication, then you might want to consider a metabolism-boosting supplement.
But what supplements boost metabolism? Here are the options, plus a bit of info on whether or not they’re good for you.
Taking probiotics is the most natural way to even out your gut health.
It’s simply adding good bacteria to your digestive system, which helps to reduce appetite, increases nutrient absorption, and boosts energy.
Probiotics are especially effective when used in conjunction with exercise and a high-fiber diet.
Fat burners are controversial. It’s hard to tell which are for real and which are gimmicks, and it’s made more difficult by the fact that they’re not regulated or monitored by the FDA.
Most fat burners contain thermogenic ingredients that increase blood pressure, which boosts energy expenditure and calorie burn, and can lead to fat loss over time.
Some of them also reduce appetite and prevent fat absorption from food, which can help the metabolism to work faster.
Ingredients to look for that have proven fat loss properties include caffeine and green tea extract.
But be careful: too much caffeine can cause high blood pressure, and even heart problems!
So always best to discuss with your doctor before taking a supplement with "fat burning" ingredients.
Other ingredients, like carnitine, forskolin, kelp, chromium picolinate, and conjugated linoleic acid need more research before we can say they truly do help.
If you already have high blood pressure, be extra careful with fat burners!
It’s wise to double-check each ingredient to make sure you have no sensitivities and it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor before taking a fat burner.
Vitamins, Minerals, & Supplements
In some cases, a slow metabolism can be caused by nutritional deficiencies.
In other words, if you aren’t getting all the vitamins and minerals you need from your food, your metabolism could slow down.
It’s generally easy to get vitamins and minerals over the counter.
Here are some you may want to consider adding to your daily intake to increase your metabolism:
- B-complex Vitamins: Help to release stored energy for use.
- Calcium & vitamin C: Boost overall health and wellness.
- Capsaicin: Found in hot peppers, this can help you burn more calories each day!
- Curcumin: Found in turmeric, this reduces inflammation and boosts your metabolism.
- Niacin, vitamin B-6, iron: This combo helps to supercharge the body’s production of L-carnitine, an amino acid that can help you burn fat.
Can You Lose Weight Just With Supplements?
As much as we’d all like a magic pill for weight loss, the truth is that supplements are meant to be used as an aid, not a solution.
You can take all the supplements you want, but if you aren’t making an effort to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep, your metabolism will stay slower and more sluggish than it could be.
However, metabolism-boosting supplements can help if you’re also doing resistance training and eating a diet high enough in protein to build muscle.
The more lean muscle mass you have, the faster your body metabolizes things, so this is the magic combination!
The Best Way to Kick-Start a Sluggish Metabolism...
Clearly, you need to eat better and exercise to start to boost your metabolism...
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