Your metabolism is the process of your body converting what you eat and drink into energy. The energy produced is responsible for everything from your movement to the automatic functions of the body.
The metabolism works around the clock continuing its job when you are sleeping. It is necessary that things such as your circulation, digestion, and breathing continue to work through the night. This all is dependent on your metabolism.
Have you ever wondered if your metabolism is low? If so, there are a couple of tests that you can do at home to get an objective perspective. The first involves some measures of your temperature. Another will involve your pulse.
Let’s look at these simple tests that may reveal some interesting information!
Cycles of Your Temperature
Typically, your temperature will be between 97.8 and 98.6 degrees. However, it ebbs and flows throughout your day.
- little lower in the morning
- peak mid-day
- decline again in the evening
If you are cycling, it will also vary based on the phase of the cycle you are in.
- from bleed to ovulation (follicular phase) it will be a little lower (maybe high 97s).
- during your luteal phase, it will be higher (98s).
How to Measure Your Temperature
To measure your basal body temperature, keep a thermometer by your bedside. Since your temperature fluctuates throughout the day, be sure to measure it when you first wake up in the morning.
When measuring your temperature be sure to take it under the tongue. Hold the thermometer in your mouth for 2-3 minutes to warm it up before pressing the button. These steps will help you get the most accurate reading and make sure you don't get artificially low temps.
Once you have done this for three days, take the average of your temperatures. An average below 97.8 can be a sign that your body has slowed your metabolism.
Measuring Your Temperature After Meals
Another clue in checking to see if your metabolism has slowed is taking your temperatures after you eat. Your temperature should go up slightly after meals because you are metabolizing that food. If it goes down after you eat it means your food increased your stress and your metabolism isn’t working well.
Again, it is important to take your temperature under your tongue. For the most accurate read, be sure to leave the thermometer in your mouth for a few minutes before turning it on.
Measuring Your Pulse
I used to think that the lower the pulse, the better! After all, Lance Armstrong had a resting heart rate in the 30s, and he was a great athlete, so that must be ideal.
However, I have learned that a healthy pulse is actually 75-85 beats per minute at rest. Dr. Mashfika N. Alam, a general practitioner at Icliniq, states that the "pulse rate is directly proportional to metabolism, hence a slowed pulse rate occurs in conditions that slow down the basal metabolic rate."
- If a person has a low pulse, this can be a sign of slow metabolism (potentially adrenal or thyroid deficiency).
- A high pulse at rest can be a sign of high adrenaline or cortisol.
What about athletes? A low pulse tells us that your body has become more efficient, using less energy to perform the same amount of work. It's helpful in the short term for athletes, but in the long term creates a slower metabolism. This may be why a lot of athletes struggle with fertility, digestion, and regular cycles.
What Causes a Slow Metabolism
There is no one cause for a slow metabolism. It could be a combination of some of the following factors.
- chronic dieting or under-eating
- moving too much (over exercising) or too little (sedentary lifestyle)
- stress and constantly being in "fight or flight"
- nutrient deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals
- medications and supplements creating imbalances in the body
- poor sleep and imbalances in our circadian rhythm
What is the problem with having a slow metabolism?
Having a healthy metabolism (not too fast, not too slow) is a sign of ideal health. When our metabolism slows down, our body can be prone to other dysfunction occurring. These may include the following:
- slow digestion - this can lead to constipation, gas, bloating, reflux, etc.
- hormonal imbalance - when our metabolism isn't functioning properly, we can be more prone to PMS, painful periods, irregular cycles, poor sex drive, PCOS, estrogen dominance and more
- thyroid dysfunction - one of the ways your body tries to "help" when you aren't fueling it appropriately is to slow down the metabolism through the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones.
- blood sugar imbalance - when our metabolism slows, the body may try to maintain homeostasis by changing the amount of or sensitivity to the blood sugar controlling hormone insulin.
If you use these tests and find that your metabolism has slowed, give me a call. We can schedule an appointment to explore what is going on and get you back on track. As always, I love partnering with you on your journey to health.