5 Unconventional Ways to Enhance your Metabolism

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Mary Pardee

Co-Founder, Authentic Self

1. Make sure you are having 1-3 bowel movements per day.

Less than 1 bowel movement a day means you are constipated. If you are not excreting your waste (your poop) then you are recirculating toxins in the body, which directly affects your metabolism. When your body is exposed to toxins it tries to protect you by shunting those toxins into fat and decreasing the rate that fat is burned for fuel so that toxins are not released back into the blood. This is a protective mechanism that unfortunately can cause people to gain weight, and feel fatigued. Constipation also indicates that you may have an imbalance in your gut bacteria. The microbes in your gut produce compounds that travel to the liver and can directly impact the metabolism of sugars and fats. 

2. Lab test for optimal thyroid function.

One study estimated that 10% of individuals have hypothyroidism (1).

Thyroid hormone is responsible for the regulation of metabolism.  In functional medicine, we use a much narrower range than your conventional medical doctor to define what optimal thyroid hormone production should be. Symptoms of below optimal thyroid production include: inability to lose weight, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss/dry hair, cold hands and feet, constipation, bloating, puffiness around the eyes, longer recovery time needed after activity, high cholesterol, forgetfulness, “brain fog”, hoarse voice, and muscle cramps. Having some of these symptoms does not mean you have hypothyroidism since these can also be symptoms of many other things. Getting routine lab work down with a naturopathic or functional medicine doctor can be an easy way to avoid guessing.

Interested in checking your thyroid levels?

Be|yond Optimal offers at home lab testing for wellness optimization.

3. Sleep

Lack of sleep causes an increase in our hunger hormones, making it more difficult to maintain or loose weight (2).

Additionally, 60-70% of growth hormone is secreted during sleep (3). Growth Hormone is responsible for building muscle, reducing fat mass, and improving bone density. Sleep also resets your cortisol/melatonin rhythm. Ideally, cortisol is highest in the morning, allowing you to burn fuels and feel alert, and is lowest at night allowing for restful sleep and repair.

4. Stand up straight and feel powerful:

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Sitting is the new smoking. Sitting all day may promote insulin resistance, even if you decrease the amount of food you intake to match the reduced caloric expenditure (4).

Using your stabilizing muscles to stand promotes insulin sensitivity and may help to prevent metabolic conditions (diabetes, obesity ect). In addition, one small study suggests that “power posing” may increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol levels; making the perfect recipe for a happy metabolism (5). Both men and women need adequate levels of testosterone for optimal wellness. Testosterone increases metabolism, increases muscle mass, decreases fat mass and improves energy levels and libido.

How to implement this throughout your day: Purchase a standing desk, or work from a higher countertop. 

5. Limit alcohol:

Alcohol is a toxin. In addition to the negative effects that toxins have on your ability to mobilize fat for fuel, alcohol may decrease thyroid production, directly reducing your metabolism.  

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Men: chronic alcohol consumption may decrease testosterone levels.

Low testosterone has too many side effects to mention in one article but the most pertinent one is weight gain (other side effects of low testosterone? low libido, fatigue, reduced muscle mass... and the list goes on). Alcohol can also increase cortisol levels, contributing to negative effects on sleep (see #3). 

 

References:

  1. PMID:10695693
  2. PMID: 21112019
  3. PMID: 9779515
  4. PMID: 21067784
  5.  PMID: 20855902