Getting to know your metabolism.
by Sarah Len Mutiwasekwa
Metabolism is the collective processes that occur in the body cells of a living organism which converts consumed food into energy that enables the body to function normally. In this biochemical process, the energy that is released results from the combining of nutrients with oxygen. Metabolism is vital as it is the only way that the body can synthesize energy. Without metabolism, we are not able to sustain internal and external body function, growth, recovery, and movement.
How does metabolism take place?
There are basically two types of metabolism which are anabolism and catabolism. They are also referred to as metabolic pathways. Catabolism is the process by which food molecules are broke down into smaller units. These smaller units combine with oxygen to release energy or they are used in the anabolism process. Examples of catabolic processes include the breakdown of muscle protein into substrates for the process of gluconeogenesis, the breakdown of fat into fatty acids which occurs in the adipose tissue, Krebs cycle, fermentation of lactic acid in muscles and glycolysis. There are three stages of catabolism which occur as follows;
In the process of digestion, large insoluble food molecules such as proteins, cellulose, and starch into smaller soluble molecules like amino acids and glucose, the blood plasma can easily absorb these molecules.
These smaller molecules can be broke down further once inside the cells into even smaller molecules. Further break down enables the formation of acetyl coenzyme A, resulting in energy release.
Storage of energy.
After energy is released, coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is reduced into nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide plus hydrogen. This results in the production of chemical energy used for growth and maintenance of body cells.
Anabolism is a process which involves bodily utilization of the energy released by catabolism in order to synthesize complex molecules. After they form these complex molecules, they then make cellular structures from these building blocks. Examples of anabolic reactions include physical exercise to build muscle, mitosis, carbohydrate synthesis and protein synthesis. Anabolism has three main stages that occur as follows;
The first stage involves the production of molecule building blocks such as nucleotides, amino acids, and monosaccharides.
After formation of the building blocks, activation of the building blocks takes place so they take up their active forms. This process uses up energy from ATP.
Formation of complex molecules.
When the building blocks have taken their active form, they then form complex molecules such as lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and polysaccharides.
Factors affecting metabolism.
Metabolic rate and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate can measure metabolism in the body). Metabolic rate is the pace at which metabolic reactions occur in the body. Basal Metabolic Rate is the rate at which the body uses energy to maintain vital functions such as breathing and warmth while it is resting. There are factors that affect the metabolic rate and basal metabolic rate.
What you eat and how you eat it affects your metabolism either negatively or positively. A fast metabolism means that the body can burn calories fast, while slow metabolism means that the body burns calories slower, which makes it harder to maintain weight or lose weight. Foods high in fat and processed sugars slow down metabolism while high-fiber foods like vegetables and fruits increase your metabolism. Eating foods high in calcium, magnesium, and iron also increase metabolism.
As we grow older our metabolism naturally slows down. This is because there are changes that occur hormonally, neurologically and muscle mass. As we grow older, we lose muscle tissue. Children have high metabolic rates because of the rapid growth of tissues and high activity.
Women have a slower metabolism as compared to man. This is because men have more muscles than women do. The higher the muscle mass the higher the metabolism rate.
People with bigger bodies have higher rates of metabolism. This is because people with bigger bodies have larger organs and fluid volume to maintain.
Some people naturally have a faster metabolism than others because of genes that run in the family. It is possible to inherit some metabolic disorders.
Drastic Increase in temperature or decrease in temperature results in high metabolism because the body works harder to maintain normal body temperature.
Drugs like caffeine will increase your temperature while drugs such as antidepressants will slow down your metabolism.
Hormonal imbalances affect metabolism.
The higher the muscle mass the higher the faster the metabolism.
Being more active increases metabolism because the muscle mass increases hence calories burn at a faster rate.
17 signs and symptoms of slow metabolism.
- Constantly feeling fatigued.
- Inexplicable weight gain.
- Difficulty in losing and maintaining weight.
- Dry skin.
- Loss of hair.
- Craving for sugar and carbohydrates
- Loss of sexual drive.
- Slow pulse rate.
- Abnormal menstrual cycle.
- Hormonal changes.
- Development of food intolerance.
- Feeling cold all the time
- Underlying medical issues such as low thyroid activity.
- Frequently forgetting things.
- Slow pulse rate.
How to increase metabolism.
Increase in metabolism has a lot of health benefits which include;
- You lose weight faster and you can maintain it.
- It can help cleanse the body of toxins.
- It improves Blood circulation.
- You are often in a good mood.
- It boosts Your immunity.
- You look younger.
- You become more energetic.
Below are 25 easy ways to help you increase your metabolism in order for your body to function at its best.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Eat enough protein daily.
- Eat more of whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as you can.
- Stay away from fatty foods and processed sugar. (hands off the junk food)
- Cook with extra virgin oil.
- Work out as often as you can during the week.
- Have some green tea.
- Build up your muscle.
- Eat garlic and ginger.
- Spoil yourself with dark chocolate.
- Add chili to your food.
- Eat foods loaded with magnesium, iron, and calcium for optimal vitamin D absorption.
- Eat lots of nuts especially almonds.
- Eat salmon.
- Have an apple a day.
- Have lean protein for breakfast.
- Make sure you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, never skip a meal.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Dim lights before bedtime for the optimal release of melanin and sleep early.
- Eat avocados.
- Have a slice of cheese.
- Laugh more often. (A good excuse to binge on your favorite comedy.)
- Drink lots of water.
- Add vinegar to your meals.
- A cheat day once a week will keep you sane.