There are 3 things to focus on when fixing a slow metabolism.
- Reducing Stress Hormone Production
- Decreasing Inflammation
- Addressing Blood Sugar Problems.
If you can accomplish all three, then you will more than likely be running on all cylinders.
A note on supplements: While many times symptoms will improve with supplements and are useful, I believe it is crucial to address the root issue causing the deficiencies to begin with. So, don’t just take the supplements without correcting the lifestyle issues that got you in this place to begin with.
Signs & Symptoms of A Poor Metabolism
- Chronic Fatigue
- Trouble Losing Weight
- Low Thyroid Problems
- Trouble Sleeping
- Digestive issues – gas, bloating, indigestion, etc.
- Craving sugar
1. Addressing Stress Hormones
Stress hormones are called such because they increase due to some stress response. That can be from emotional (family, job), chemical (low blood sugar, inflammation), or physical (pain).
Avoid rapid fluctuations in blood sugar. I always say, control what you can control. It may be difficult to control your nagging mother or stubbing your toe, but you can eat better and start down regulating stress hormones. People in this category should focus on eating 3 meals spaced 5 hours apart with no snacking in between. See more under the hypoglycemia section below.
Get your emotional baggage under control with meditation, therapy, or some low intensity exercise like yoga. Excessive exercise can drive excessive stress hormone production.
Work on resolving chronic pain issues with a good manual therapist like a chiropractor, physical therapist, or qualified professional.
Consider adding an adaptogenic herb like Ashwaganda, Tulsi, or Rhodiola. Other supplements to consider would include Magnesium, Vitamin B6 (P5P), and Zinc.
2. Decreasing Inflammation
Inflammation will drive stress hormones as well so continue on with those recommendations below.
Inﬂammation is generated by the immune system. Inflammation is a natural part of regeneration, but left uncontrolled will drive degeneration. This will deplete vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients over time causing deficiencies.
Reducing Inflammatory Triggers
- Trying an anti-inﬂammatory or elimination diet can be helpful. Many times just cutting the biggest offenders can have a drastic impact (sugar, dairy, gluten).
- Use caution as you reduce problem foods! You must increase the foods that you can eat, in order to avoid worsening a potential blood sugar issue. Eat plenty of good protein and fat with each meal.
- Reduce inﬂammatory “accelerators.” Things that further drive inﬂammation include stress hormones like cortisol, insulin, and excessive NSAID use.
- Consider adding in supplements that help reduce inﬂammation like Turmeric, Resveratrol, and Fish Oil, Magnesium, Vitamin B6 (P5P), and Zinc also help your body make more ﬁsh oil from omega 3’s.
3. Addressing Blood Sugar: Low or high, it’s a problem.
A blood sugar will manifest as too high or too low. Too high is typically from insulin resistance and too low is a condition called reactive hypoglycemia. Which one are you?
Low Blood Sugar Signs & Symptoms
- Fasting glucose under 85
- Meals give you energy
- Waking up between 1-3am at night
- Anxiety, trouble falling asleep at night
- More prone to be underweight, but not required
High Blood Sugar Signs & Symptoms
- Fasting blood glucose above 100
- Meals give make you sleepy
- Neuropathy or nerve sensation issues
- PCOS Diagnosis
- More prone to be overweight
Both can cause PMS issues for different reasons.
Addressing (low blood sugar) Hypoglycemia
Focus on eating either 3 meals – 5 hours apart with around 30g of protein and a third of your calories for the day in each meal. I would avoid intermittent fasting in the morning. You need to run on the food you eat and not the stress hormones you produce. Most people in this category have very low appetite in the morning and even get nausea eating breakfast. If this is you, then try a piece of fruit followed by your large meal. It will be uncomfortable at first, but after the first week you will notice that those above symptoms are improving.
If you notice getting hungry before lunch, then re-evaluate your breakfast. It probably wasn’t enough for the day. I always encourage patients to focus on fat intake as it will maintain stable blood sugar much better than carbohydrates like oatmeal.
Addressing Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance occurs when the cell becomes sick of being bombarded with insulin constantly. Like the little boy who cried wolf and the town’s people stop listening to him over time. This will cause your blood glucose to rise over time as less will be pushed into the cell. You need to silence the boy long enough for the town people to trust him again. Type 2 diabetes gets diagnosed when the blood glucose builds up and goes over 100.
Stop filling the cell up with glucose Easy – stop eating sugar! Eat low glycemic carbs and focus on proper fat and protein intake.
Empty the cell of glucose
To improve insulin sensitivity exercise. This will begin to deplete the stores of glucose which will create a demand for more glucose. This is what makes the cell more responsive to insulin. Start with half of something you think you can do. If you can walk 3 miles, then start with 1.5 everyday. High intensity exercises are even better if you are physically able to.
- Supplements like berberine, lipoic acid, and chromium are also helpful to improve insulin issues.