Like our fingerprints, our metabolisms are uniquely our own—some people may have slower metabolisms and show signs of fatigue, and others may have metabolisms that work at the speed of light to provide enough energy for a three-hour strength training session.
While your metabolic health can be largely influenced by your genes, like your fingerprints, your muscle mass, hormones, diet, age, sleep, stress levels, and environment may also affect your metabolic functions.
In this article, we’ll deep dive into what affects metabolism and explore what you can do to improve your metabolic health.
From largely determining our heights to governing the foods we prefer, genetics play a large role in our lives. It only makes sense that genes greatly impact our metabolisms, as well.
When it comes to metabolism, melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) is one gene that especially stands out.1
In recent years, scientists have discovered that people who have a rare type of MC4R are less likely to be overweight with body fat than people who lack this version. This correlation indicates that MC4R may help determine our metabolic rates.
Kinase suppressor of Ras 2 (KSR2) is another gene that, when altered, may affect metabolism.2
Studies suggest that KSR2 mutations may predispose people to the following:
- An increased risk of obesity
- An increased insulin resistance
- A cellular inability to properly process glucose
Genetics also play a role in hormones and muscle mass, two factors that, as we’ll see, help determine a person’s metabolic health.
#2 Muscle Mass
Muscle mass refers to the amount of muscle in a person’s body. While some people have more muscle mass, others have less. Your muscle mass greatly contributes to your resting metabolism.
To better understand how muscle mass affects metabolism, let’s unpack a key term: resting metabolic rate (RMR).
In short, your RMR is the rate at which your body burns calories while you’re at rest. Because muscle expends more energy than fat, people with higher muscle mass compositions have a higher RMR. In other words, it takes more energy to maintain muscle than it does fat.
Although your muscle mass is initially determined by genetics, adding resistance and strength training to your workouts can greatly increase your muscle mass. This training consists of:
- Weightlifting, especially full-body workouts
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Basic calisthenics
Whichever workout you prefer, adding more resistance and strength training can tone your physique and improve your metabolic health. If you’re interested in vitamins for muscle health, consider taking B12.
You can also explore our wide range of recovery supplements for athletes to keep you in peak performance!
Hormones are chemicals the body uses to send messages to different organs. While hormones impact many bodily functions, they play an especially important role in the metabolic system.
Let’s take a look at a few hormones that affect metabolism:
While hormones are largely genetic, hormone supplements—especially those containing selenium—can help stabilize your thyroid, leading to improved metabolic functioning.
If you are trying to figure out how to improve metabolic health, it is important to know that what you eat plays a crucial role in your metabolism. To this extent, studies suggest that some nutrients and supplements are better for your metabolism than others. Below, we’ve broken down a few nutrients that affect metabolism.
Diets rich in protein can improve metabolic functioning.3 This is because the body burns and absorbs protein slower than fats and carbohydrates. As a result, more energy is needed to process protein.
When eating for your metabolic health, consider the following sources of protein:
Carbohydrates and Alcohol
While protein-rich diets can help improve metabolic functioning, diets dominated by carbohydrates may negatively affect your metabolism.
In addition to requiring less energy to process, carbohydrates increase insulin production, which results in more stored fat.
Studies have also shown that alcohol impairs metabolic functioning. While drinking in moderation is OK, too much alcohol can lead to a slower metabolism. Instead, replace alcohol with water, coffee, and/or green tea.
While it’s possible to control our diet and exercise, we cannot control one of the most important factors that influence our metabolism: our age.4
As we grow older, the signs of slow metabolism start to show when we tend to lose lean muscle mass and gain body fat. As a result, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases.
That said, there are ways to improve your metabolism even as you age. These include eating a proper diet, building and maintaining muscle mass, and sleeping well. Learn more about how to increase metabolism after 40.
Sleeping enough is one of the best things you can do for your metabolic health. This is because sleep is essential for the regulation of two of the most important metabolic hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Let’s take a closer look:
In addition to impacting hormone regulation, not sleeping enough can affect metabolism in other ways. For example, when you’re sleep-deprived, you’re less likely to engage in physical activity. This lack of physical activity can result in decreased muscle mass.
If you’ve ever been in a stressful situation, you know the impact stress can have on your mental state. Stress is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, restlessness, and anger.
But did you know that stress can also affect your metabolism? That’s right—stress induces our nervous system to produce two hormones related to metabolic functioning:
Fortunately, even the most stressful situations eventually subside. That said, there are things you can do to minimize stress and improve your metabolic health. These include:
Studies have shown that temperature affects metabolism.5 When we are exposed to prolonged cold temperatures, our bodies respond by producing hormones that cause us to store fat mass. As a result, our BMR slows down.
However, brief exposure to cold temperatures causes our body to expend more energy to keep us warm. This leads to a rise in BMR.
Similarly, when our bodies heat up due to exercise, fever, or stress, our BMR increases.
Improve Your Metabolism With Cymbiotika
Understanding the uniqueness of your metabolic functions may help to improve your overall health and well-being. But you must first understand the factors that affect your metabolism, such as your genes, hormones, and stress levels, as well as your diet and exercise habits.
Packed with metabolism-boosting ingredients such as nicotinamide mononucleotide, green tea extract, and green coffee bean, Cymbiotika's NMN + Trans-Resveratrol is designed to help increase your energy and keep you feeling your best. Another great option is our Apple Cider Vinegar capsules. Made from 100% organic apples, our capsules are an ideal alternative to avoid tooth enamel erosion from liquid apple cider vinegar.
Jumpstart your health with Cymbiotika.
- NIH. The melanocortin-4 receptor: physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20190196/
- NCBI. KSR2 Mutations Are Associated with Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Impaired Cellular Fuel Oxidation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898740/
- Harvard Health Publishing. The truth about metabolism. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-metabolism
- NIH. Aging, basal metabolic rate, and nutrition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NIH. Cool Temperature Alters Human Fat and Metabolism. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/cool-temperature-alters-human-fat-metabolism