What is metabolism? How does it work, and what does it mean for health and wellness? We’ve all likely asked this question at some point in our adult life. In short, metabolism is how our cells change the food we eat into the energy we need to live. So, what is metabolism? Metabolism is a highly complex process that combines calories and oxygen to create and release energy. Age, sex, and physical activity help answer the question, “what is metabolism.”
Our daily habits affect our metabolism in several fundamental ways. First, what you eat affects your metabolism. Consuming too many calories leaves us with excess energy that we store as fat – plain and simple. That means avoiding fried foods, refined sugars, and many baked goods. These energy sources are stored as fat. Instead, choose lean proteins, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.
Secondly, you must understand how exercise affects your metabolism. For example, muscle tissue needs more energy than fat tissue and is a big reason women burn fewer calories than men. Exercise and building muscle are essential to answer the question, “what is metabolism.”
As mentioned, many factors go into how your metabolism works within your body. And not all metabolisms are the same. For example, someone with a faster metabolism burns many calories even while resting. Slower metabolisms require fewer calories to keep going. Having a fast metabolism does not necessarily mean thinness or good health. Overweight people often have fast metabolisms as their bodies need more energy to keep going strong.
But understand that metabolism is decided by other factors as well. The vitamins and medicines we take can affect and define your metabolism. So, before you ask, “what is metabolism?” Ask, “what affects my metabolism.”
Vitamins are essential to overall health and wellbeing. Not getting enough specific vitamins can interfere with your metabolism. For example, the recommended dose of vitamin D is needed to help absorb calcium and keep your bones nice and firm. Vitamin B is essential to metabolism as it helps your body break down carbs, fats, and proteins. Vitamin C plays a critical role in the question, “what is metabolism.” Vitamin C not only helps maintain your metabolism, but it helps trigger weight loss.
Magnesium is vital to your overall health and wellness. It helps with metabolic function and over 300 enzyme reactions. There is evidence that giving magnesium supplements to “metabolically obese, normal-weight” people helped lower blood pressure and improved overall metabolism.
Some medicines and drugs can slow down your metabolism. These include many antidepressants, mood stabilizers, diabetes medicines, corticosteroids, migraine and seizure prevention medications, beta-blockers (heart medications), and allergy relievers. Some medicines might cause a person to retain water, making them weigh more even if they don’t put on extra fat. Studies continue to further our understanding of our metabolism and how it is affected by various elements, including vitamins and medications.
A strong metabolism can be achieved at any age with the proper diet and exercise. There are no substitutions for a well-balanced, clean diet and a good mix of activities. This leads to an active, healthy lifestyle that will serve your body and metabolism well. Vitamins and medications are designed to support overall health and wellness and help treat a list a variety of medical indications. Whether you take vitamins, supplements, or prescribed medications, if you suspect your metabolism may be affected by what you put into your body, research, learn and speak with your physician.
So, the answer to the question, “what is metabolism,” isn’t a straight forth answer. There are many aspects to consider and a great conversation to have with your physician or health care provider.