Updated: Feb 14
Do you wonder if metabolism really slows down after you hit a certain age? Do you remember the good old days when you could eat your heart out without suffering too many consequences? Now that you are older, your waistline is not cooperating despite your conscious effort to balance your diet. There is no magic button once a person hits a certain age, their metabolism is bound to slow down. There is an often overlooked, cumulative effect that takes place. Our metabolism is controlled by multiple factors, and we will take a look at how they can contribute to aging your metabolism.
Signs and Symptoms You May Have A Slowing Metabolism
If you check off one or more items on this list, you may have less than optimal metabolism
Increasing body fat percentage
Blood sugar level (fasting & HA1c) increasing
Increasing blood pressure
Increasing triglycerides and low HDL
Post meal fatigue
Energy slumps that lead to cravings
Now let's take a look at the contributing factors.
Contributing Factor #1 Insulin Resistance
Many of our traditional diets are based on carbohydrate-rich meals. Certainly, this is how I was raised. When there are high amounts of carbohydrates in our diet and they don’t get directed towards fueling a physically challenging day, the excess circulating sugar becomes a stressor in the body. As a response, the pancreas sends out a storage signal called insulin. The role of insulin is to put sugar into cells, and turn excess sugar into fat while telling your liver to stop making new sugar as you work on putting away the new influx of sugar. Insulin resistance is a process in which the body falls into a vicious cycle of failing to utilize/store sugar as energy efficiently, making too much new sugar in the liver, and storing excess fats. Your body initially fights hard to keep your blood sugar below dangerous levels by producing more and more insulin via the pancreas. This increase in insulin can temporarily keep your sugar in check but as this process continues, the body becomes resistant to the effect of insulin, which results in pancreatic burnout and a gradual increase in blood sugar levels.
Foods That Worsen Insulin Resistance: Watch Out For These Hidden Ingredients
These are factors can worsen insulin resistance. This list includes but not limited to the following:
Damaged Fats: fatty acids from the diet can turns on proinflammatory pathways in the body reducing insulin sensitivity
MSG raise both inflammation and fasting insulin levels. Please it increases excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain that makes portion control and craving control much more difficult.
Contributing Factor #2 Inflammation
When insulin resistance continues, the body turns on fat storage signals directing more excess energy into long-term storage. The excess fat storage is capable of turning on the inflammation cascade — this is not the type of acute inflammation that can be controlled and relieved with ice or lotions. It's a silent process. This inflammation alters immune function and causes cellular stress causing the progression of insulin resistance, making weight loss more difficult.
This inflammation increases fat tissue accumulation around vital organs (liver and the pancreas specifically) and gradually hinders the body’s ability to release digestive enzymes and insulin, challenging the homeostasis of blood sugar regulation.
Chronic inflammation can become a burden on your body’s immune resources. Infection can also add fuel to the fire of silent chronic low-grade inflammation. When more white blood cells are produced to clean up the infection, the quality of the blood changes, leaving the body with less available nutrients and antioxidants to fend for itself, even when a nutrient-rich diet is consumed.
Candida provokes infected pancreatic tissue to over produce insulin, exacerbating the insulin resistance process and pancreatic exhaustion.
You may already have heard of the term ‘stress weight’— you have stress hormones to thank for that. Meet cortisol, your stress hormone. This hormone has a vital function of mobilizing your energy reserve under times of stress. This is a natural process that is meant to help you resolve immediate stress, however, this mechanism has not adapted to modern stress that comes in the form of emails, notifications and that never-ending to-do list. All of this constant demand has a physiological cost on your health. Glucagon is released in times of stress, this hormone draws sugar into the bloodstream, makes new sugar from protein and increases cholesterol over time. Plus, adrenaline is produced at the cost of mineral and micronutrient loss.
The added fats in the circulation resulting from chronic stress can oxidize in the blood vessels resulting in more oxidative stress and damage to the cardiovascular system. This also contributes to the silent inflammation in the background.
Contributing Factor #3 Lack Of Vitamins & Minerals
Many vitamins and minerals are important for the metabolism of sugar. They are involved as the necessary cofactors to make sure blood sugar is balanced without a hitch. Therebare two main concerns regarding vitamins and minerals in relation to blood sugar balance:
Are you acquiring and absorbing enough nutrients from food and supplements?
Are you making up the nutritional deficit created by chronic low grade infection and stress?
Most vitamins and minerals have a narrow window of preferred pH 6.4-6.8 to be properly absorbed by the body. This means even the best quality food and supplements may not get absorbed in time as it slips through your digestive tract if the pH condition is not optimum.
Another concern is with the microbiota in the gut. Diets rich in inflammatory fats and refined carbohydrates promote the proliferation of bad bacteria which increases toxin release and depletes the body’s antioxidant reserve known as metabolic endotoxemia, which increases chronic low grade inflammation. Meanwhile, the overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungu can also directly damage the absorptive lining of the gut.
Chromium is a key component of glucose tolerance factor - this is the door that interacts with insulin when there is excess glucose in your system. Without enough chromium to allow insulin to do its job, glucose lingers around in your system longer leading to various symptoms such as black out fatigue right after eating or severe craving for energy a few hours after eating.
Chromium picolinate has been demonstrated to help improve cellular sensitivity to insulin, allowing the sugar into the cells rather than staying in the bloodstream. Food that is grown in chromium deficient soil can be low in chromium. A high demand of chromium from too much refined carbohydrate can increase the demand.
Potassium is a key mineral in the body’s acid/alkaline buffering system which promotes optimal nutrient absorption. Potassium is involved in the secretion of insulin in the pancreatic cells and potassium supplementation has shown promising effect on reducing blood sugar levels. Only 2% of the US population is getting enough potassium from their diet.
Zinc has a key role in insulin production in the pancreas and signaling cells to absorb sugar maintaining glucose balance. An estimated 12% US population is zinc deficient and that includes 40% elderly population.
Magnesium is also key in the secretion of insulin and the cellular sensitivity to insulin. It is estimated that 15-20% of the US population is deficient in this nutrient.
Low levels of Vitamin B6 has been shown to put one at a higher risk of developing diabetes by affecting gene expressions,dPdxk, in particular that increases sugar levels in the blood, and exacerbates insulin resistance by impairing fat metabolism pathways.
In fact it is usually not a dietary lack of B6 per se, rather it’s the state of our microbiome and pre-existing insulin resistance caused by high intake of refined carbs that feed into this vicious cycle.
Pancreas utilizes bioactive vitamin K the most in our endocrine system. Vitamin K can enhance the body’s response to insulin.
Although low intake can lead to deficiency, which one can reverse by incorporating 3 cups of leafy greens to their diet per day, the bigger issue lies within the gut where the mibromiobine ferments the greens to make bioavailable vitamin K for us. You might consider adding fermented greens into the diet such as sauerkraut to enhance your vitamin K levels.In normal healthy adults, 8-31% have vitamin K deficiency.
Beyond its role in maintaining immune function and bone health, vitamin D also plays a role in insulin secretion and synthesis in the pancreas. Clinical studies have shown promising evidence that with a eight week use of vitamin D oral supplement has improved insulin sensitivity in prediabetic individuals.
The following medications has been known to increase insulin resistance:
Sulfonylureas (diabetic Rx)
Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 inhibitors (diabetic Rx)
GLP-1 Agonists (diabetic Rx)
Insulin (diabetic Rx)
This website and all of its content is for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your medical doctor to seek medical advice, treatment or diagnosis.