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How to increase your metabolism

For years, researchers and scientists assumed that our “set point” for weight and metabolism was inherited from our parents and there is little we can do to change it. Your set point weight refers to the specific body-to-fat ratio (within 10-15 pounds) that optimizes your chances for survival. And because our bodies like stability, our metabolisms defend that “ideal” weight, making it seem impossible to change.

woman increase metabolism

This may become an issue when you’re trying to lose that “last 10 pounds” or maintain recent weight loss results. Recently, however, it’s become clear that this set weight isn’t etched in stone, and as we learn more about which factors determine the rate of metabolism, we’ve uncovered how to influence a person’s ideal weight.

The rate of your metabolism is generally determined by four factors: age, hormones, genetics, and body composition. Age and genetics are impossible to change, but hormones, body composition, and the way food “talks” to your genes can be altered. And in doing so, you can optimize your metabolism to reach your weight goals.

5 steps to optimize your metabolism

1. Eat a healthy diet. Include protein (nuts, legumes, fish, eggs and lean meat), fiber (fruits and vegetables), complex carbohydrates (beans, brown rice, quinoa), and healthy fats (especially omega-3 fatty acids). We also recommend avoiding sugar (including artificial sugars), refined carbohydrates (white rice and bread) and unhealthy fats (saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol). Be sure to start the day with a healthy breakfast and consider the option of eating five smaller, more frequent meals rather than three large meals per day.

2. Find exercise you love. Building muscle provides a direct boost to your metabolism by increasing the number and size of your mitochondria, the cellular workhorses that turn food and oxygen into energy. Your goal is to move your body enough to work up a sweat about five times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Hiking through the woods, swimming, dancing, yoga — choose something you enjoy and that makes you feel good.

3. Balance your hormones. Sex hormones such as estrogen have powerful effects on the rate at which we store and burn fat. During menopause, it’s common for women to retain more weight around the belly because fat can actually produce estrogen to make up for lowering levels elsewhere. Also, cortisol, the adrenal hormone, signals the body to hold on to fat and slow the metabolism as a response to stress. Targeted herbs can help counteract these effects by balancing stress and sex hormones, and we have several great multibotanicals to help with this in our SHOP.

4. Prioritize sleep, stress relief, and happiness. Leptin affects metabolism by helping us feel full and influencing ghrelin, “the hunger hormone,” cortisol and thyroid hormone levels. Because leptin levels rise during sleep, lack of sleep subsequently leads to low leptin which slows metabolism and drives us to eat more. Cortisol tells our bodies to store fat during stressful periods in preparation for a crisis. That’s how chronic stress tends to produce “stubborn fat” that our bodies hold onto even as we try to lose weight. Stress relieving practices such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation and massage can lower cortisol levels, and keep the body from storing fat. Studies have shown that happiness is a key aspect of health. Using laughter therapy with type 2 diabetic patients changed how more than 23 different genes were expressed. And that resulted in the study participants’ bodies shifting toward the prevention of a range of metabolic imbalances. To affect your metabolism, we recommend placing a priority on getting regular sleep — at least 7-9 hours per night — as well as making time for more relaxation and fun.

5. Explore natural metabolism boosters. Certain vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and herbs naturally support a healthy metabolism. Consider trying any of these:

  • B vitamins
  • Green tea
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Chromium
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • L-Carnitine L-Tartrate
  • Calcium and magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Mangosteen
  • Indian sphaeranthus

We’ve made it easy for you to see what these herbs can do for you with our product, M-Boost. This exclusive metabolic formula includes B vitamins, green tea extract, alpha lipoic acid, mangosteen, Indian spaeranthus and more to support your metabolism and help keep your body from storing extra fat.

You can make a difference!

While there is no silver bullet for speeding up your metabolism, you can strongly influence your metabolism and weight when you start with the basics of eating right and finding time to exercise. We know these are simple steps are not all that easy to include in your already busy life. So we’ve put together a Weight Loss Resistance Program with everything you need to support your metabolism including a real-life meal plan, effective supplements like M-Boost, and key tips on sleep, stress relief and happiness. You can make a difference in your metabolism and we can help.


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2 Hyman, M. 2006. Ultrametabolism, 160. New York: Scribner.

3 Peterson, K, et al. 2004. Impaired mitochondrial activity in the insulin-resistant offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes. NEJM, 350, 664–671. URL: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa031314 (accessed 04.06.2011).

Zhao, M., & Qu, H. 2009. Human liver rate-limiting enzymes influence metabolic flux via branch points and inhibitors. BMC Genomics, 10 (Suppl. 3). URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2788385/?tool=pubmed (accessed 04.06.2011).

Moreno–Sánchez, R., et al. 2008. Metabolic control analysis: A tool for designing strategies to manipulate metabolic pathways. J. Biomed. Biotechnol., 597913. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2447884/?tool=pubmed (accessed 04.06.2011).

4 Walsh, E. 2010. Interleukin Genetics, Inc., and Stanford University report genetic test improves weight loss success. URL: https://www.ilgenetics.com/content/news-events/newsDetail.jsp/q/news-id/213 (accessed 04.25.2011).

5 Kim, B. 2008. Thyroid hormone as a determinant of energy expenditure and the basal metabolic rate. Thyroid, 18 (2), 141–144. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18279014 (accessed 04.07.2011).

Oosthuyse, T., & Bosch, A. 2010. The effect of the menstrual cycle on exercise metabolism: Implications for exercise performance in eumenorrhoeic women. Sports Med., 40 (3), 207–227. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20199120 (accessed 04.06.2011).

Fu, M., et al. 2009. Exercise, sex, menstrual cycle phase, and 17beta-estradiol influence metabolism-related genes in human skeletal muscle. Physiol. Genomics, 40 (1), 34–47. URL: https://physiolgenomics.physiology.org/content/40/1/34.long (accessed 04.06.2011).

6 Manini, T. 2010. Energy expenditure and aging. Ageing Res. Rev., 9 (1), 1–11. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2818133/?tool=pubmed (accessed 04.06.2011).

7 Lev–Ran, A. 2001. Human obesity: An evolutionary approach to understanding our bulging waistline. Diabet. Metab., 17 (5), 347–362. URL (abstract): https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/dmrr.230/abstract (accessed 04.06.2011).

8 Tremblay, A, et al. 1994. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism, 43 (7), 814–818.

9 Hyman, M. 2006. Ultrametabolism, 104–105. New York: Scribner.

10 Stamatakis, K., & Punjabi, N. 2010. Effects of sleep fragmentation on glucose metabolism in normal subjects. Chest, 137 (1), 95–101. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19542260 (accessed 04.08.2011).

Zeng, R., et al. 2010. The effects of chronic rapid eye movement sleep deprivation on energy metabolism and FT3, FT4 level in serum of rats. Zhongguo Ying Yong Sheng Li Xue Za Zhi, 26 (1), 105–108. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20476580 (accessed 04.08.2011).

Spiegel, K., et al. 2009. Effects of poor and short sleep on glucose metabolism and obesity risk. Nat. Rev. Endocrinol., 5 (5), 253–261. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19444258> (accessed 04.08.2011)

Morgan, L., et al. 1998. Effects of the endogenous clock and sleep time on melatonin, insulin, glucose and lipid metabolism. J. Endocrinol., 157 (3), 443–451. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9691977 (accessed 04.08.2011).

11 Patel, S., et al. 2006. Association between reduced sleep and weight gain in women. Am. J. Epidemiol., 164 (10), 947–954. URL (abstract): https://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/164/10/947.short (accessed 04.04.2011).

Spiegel, K., et al. 2005. Sleep loss: A novel risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. J. Appl. Physiol., 99 (5), 2008–2019. URL: https://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/99/5/2008 (accessed 05.15.2009).

Vorona, R., et al. 2005. Overweight and obese patients in a primary care population report less sleep than patients with a normal body mass index. Arch. Intern. Med., 165 (1), 25–30. URL: https://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/165/1/25 (accessed 05.15.2009).

12 Frawley, D. 2000. Ayurvedic Healing: A Comprehensive Guide, 163. 2nd Revised and Enlarged Edition. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.

13 Ayurvedic Talk. Ayurveda’s recommendations to boost up body metabolism. URL: https://www.ayurvedictalk.com/ayurveda%E2%80%99s-recommendations-to-boost-up-body-metabolism/493/ (accessed 04.04.2011).

14 Ayurvedic Talk.

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16 Ayurvedic Talk.

References & further reading on nutrients to support healthy metabolism

1 Flanagan, J., et al. 2010. Role of carnitine in disease. Nutr. Metab. (Lond.), 7, 30. URL: https://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/30 (accessed 04.07.2011).

2 Ames, B., 2010. Optimal micronutrients delay mitochondrial decay and age-associated diseases. Mech. Ageing Dev., 131 (7–8), 473–479. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20420847 (accessed 04.07.2011).

Hagen, T., et al. 1999. (R)-α-Lipoic acid-supplemented old rats have improved mitochondrial function, decreased oxidative damage, and increased metabolic rate. FASEB J., 13 (2), 411–418. URL: https://www.fasebj.org/content/13/2/411.long (accessed 04.07.2011).

3 Hyman, M. 2006. Ultrametabolism, 171, 324. New York: Scribner.

4 Depeint, F., et al. 2006. Mitochondrial function and toxicity: Role of B vitamins on the one-carbon transfer pathways. Chem. Biol. Interact., 163, (1–2), 113–132. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16814759 (accessed 01.29.2011).

5 Galgani, J., & Ravussin, E. 2010. Effect of dihydrocapsiate on resting metabolic rate in humans. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 92 (5), 1089–1093. URL: (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20826626 (accessed 04.07.2011).

Aizawa, K., et al. 2009. Administration of tomato and paprika beverages modifies hepatic glucose and lipid metabolism in mice: A DNA microarray analysis. J. Agric. Food Chem., 57 (22), 10964–10971. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19919127 (accessed 04.07.2011).

Snitker, S., et al. 2009. Effects of novel capsinoid treatment on fatness and energy metabolism in humans: Possible pharmacogenetic implications. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 89 (1), 45–50. URL: https://www.ajcn.org/content/89/1/45.long (accessed 04.08.2011).

6 Preuss, H., et al. 2008. Comparing metabolic effects of six different commercial trivalent chromium compounds. J. Inorg. Biochem., 102 (11), 1986–1990. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774175 (accessed 03.06.2009).

7 Shen, Y., et al. 2010. Verification of the antidiabetic effects of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) using insulin-uncontrolled type 1 diabetic rats and cultured adipocytes. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 74 (12), 2418–2425. URL: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bbb/74/12/74_2418/_article (accessed 04.07.2011).

8 Littarru, G., & Tiano, L. 2007. Bioenergetic and antioxidant properties of coenzyme Q10: Recent developments. Mol. Biotechnol., 37 (1), 31–37. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17914161 (accessed 04.07.2011).

9 Hyman, M. 2006, 171, 326.

10 Hyman, M. 2006, 322.

11 Chacko, S., et al. 2011. Magnesium supplementation, metabolic and inflammatory markers, and global genomic and proteomic profiling: A randomized, double-blind, controlled, crossover trial in overweight individuals. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 93 (2), 463–473. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21159786 (accessed 04.08.2011).

12 Wikipedia. 2011. NADH dehydrogenase. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NADH_dehydrogenase (accessed 04.08.2011).

Hyman, M. 2006, 171.

13 Honda, S., et al. 2006. Effects of ingested turmeric oleoresin on glucose and lipid metabolisms in obese diabetic mice: a DNA microarray study. J. Agric. Food Chem., 54 (24), 9055–9062. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17117790 (accessed 04.07.2011).

See also:
Li, Y., et al. 2010. Effects of multivitamin and mineral supplementation on adiposity, energy expenditure and lipid profiles in obese Chinese women. Int. J. Obes. (Lond.), 34 (6), 1070–1077. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20142823 (accessed 03.30.2010).

References & further reading on metabolic macronutrients

Wikipedia. 2011. Metabolism. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolism (accessed 01.20.2011).

Parra, P., et al. 2010. Moderate doses of conjugated linoleic acid reduce fat gain, maintain insulin sensitivity without impairing inflammatory adipose tissue status in mice fed a high-fat diet. Nutr. Metab. (Lond.) 7, 5. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2831902/?tool=pubmed (accessed 01.20.2011).

Parra, P., et al. 2010. Moderate doses of conjugated linoleic acid isomers mix contribute to lowering body fat content maintaining insulin sensitivity and a noninflammatory pattern in adipose tissue in mice. J. Nutr. Biochem., 21 (2), 107–115. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19195867 (accessed 01.20.2011).

Nelson, D., & Cox, M. 2005. Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 841. New York: W. H. Freeman and Co.

Lin Yang, et al. 2004. Stability of conjugated linoleic acid isomers in egg yolk lipids during frying. Food Chem., 86, 531–535. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2003.09.006 (accessed 01.20.2011).

Dhiman, T. 2001. Role of diet on conjugated linoleic acid content of milk and meat. J. Animal Sci., 79, URL (PDF): https://www.adsa.org/jointabs/iaafs108.pdf(accessed 01.18.2011).

Dhiman, T., et al. 2000. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content of milk from cows offered diets rich in linoleic and linolenic acid. J. Dairy Sci., 83, (5), 1016–1027. URL (abstract): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10821577 (accessed 01.18.2011).

Liska, D. 1998. The detoxification enzyme systems. Altern. Med. Rev., 3 (3), 187–198. URL (PDF): https://www.thorne.com/media/detoxificationenzymes.pdf (accessed 07.01.2009).

Last Updated: March 9, 2023
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