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The body’s metabolism is actually a series of processes that break down food and other chemical intake into smaller and smaller pieces. Often the term metabolism is used to refer to how quickly people are able to lose weight, or how much people can eat before gaining weight. Sluggish metabolism may be due to several medical or physical factors. There are some ways to increase metabolism, but each person’s body is different, thus these methods may only work for some people.
The best way to increase metabolism is by creating a higher demand for calories. This is usually accomplished through exercise. People who exercise on a regular basis naturally can eat more food without gaining weight because they use more calories. In a healthy person, cardiovascular exercise creates a demand for more calories. When the body is not supplemented with additional calories, as when the person eats a normal healthy diet, this tends to increase the metabolism with resultant weight loss.
However, one may not increase metabolism if one deprives oneself of food. People who are actually malnourished tend to break down food much more slowly. Their bodies slowly acclimatize to receiving less food. They tend to store food in different ways, usually resulting in higher fat storage. So while exercise may increase metabolism, it must be paired with a good diet. One should never skip meals as this may decrease metabolism. When doctors caution folks not to skip breakfast, they really are helping a person maintain a healthy metabolism.
Some people have low levels of chemicals in their bodies that must be supplemented in order to increase metabolism. For example, people who have low thyroid hormone levels often have slow metabolism and may carry excess weight, even if they are not overeating and are exercising. For those who are earnestly attempting to lose weight through diet and exercise, and are not seeing any results, seeing a doctor and having a simple blood test performed may show reduced thyroid count.
Taking thyroxidine, a synthetic thyroid hormone, can help increase metabolism. It may also help with things like memory, fatigue, excess sweating, and hair loss. Thyroid hormones should only be taken when prescribed. Many diet preparations contain thyroid hormones synthesized from animals. These can cause significant health issues in the person who has adequate thyroid, and can be indicated in racing pulse, or dangerous heart arrhythmias. Do not share a thyroid prescription with others, and avoid thyroid hormones of animals in diet preparations.
Other medications can decrease metabolism and cause quick weight gain. Medications that are depressants, anti-psychotics or tranquilizers are all indicated in people gaining weight. Recent studies have shown that people with bipolar disorder may actually need thyroid supplementation even when they show low to normal thyroid rates. If one is suffering from bipolar disorder and are having difficulty with excess weight gain, an addition of thyroid medication may help increase metabolism.