Metabolism & Age
Luke Coutinho

Luke Coutinho
11 June 2021

This article is authored by Luke Coutinho. Luke is a globally renowned and award winning Holistic Lifestyle Coach in the field of Integrative Medicine.

The body requires energy to develop and work, and metabolism is the mechanism by which particular proteins control the process of producing energy or chemical reactions. It is essentially a chemical reaction that occurs in the body and includes both organisms and cells: the cells turn food into energy, which is then used to perform a variety of activities and acts, including our growth and development. In layman's terms, it's a mechanism in which everything we consume and drink is blended with oxygen to provide the body with the energy it needs to work properly.

 

I must point out that even when the body is relaxed, it requires energy for other functions such as blood circulation, breathing, hormone regulation, and cell fixing and development. Metabolism is a dynamic mechanism in which many chemical reactions occur in the body at the same time; the body uses a certain amount of calories to carry out all of these processes, which is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your body's metabolism is directly proportional to your basal metabolic rate; therefore, the slower your body's metabolism, the lower your BMR, and vice versa. Your BMR is often influenced by factors such as your age, gender, body size, and formation.

 

Metabolism of your body and in general is a fascinating mechanism to learn about because it involves many chemicals working together to generate energy through a variety of chemical reactions. Let us learn more about it.

 

How Metabolism Works

 

After you've eaten, the digestive system uses enzymes to crack up proteins into amino acids, then convert fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into simple sugar. The body now uses these fatty acids, amino acids, and plain sugar for energy to perform various functions. Furthermore, these amalgams are immersed in the blood, which transports them to the body's cells.

 

Additional enzymes are activated until these components are engulfed by cells, pursuing chemical reactions with these compounds. The body uses whatever energy is produced during these chemical reactions to perform functions or activities, or it retains it in tissues, muscles, liver and fat. This is how the whole metabolic process takes place.

 

Another interesting thing about metabolism is that it performs two inherent activities concurrently: anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is an efficient metabolism that helps with energy storage, cell formation and body tissue ordinance.

 

Catabolism, on the other hand, is a subversive metabolism in which cells divide large molecules to provide the energy required for their activities. Catabolism, in essence, induces anabolism, allows for body movement, and aids muscle compression.

Did you know that our basal metabolic rate never stays constant and actually decreases as we get older? Let me explain a little more about how and why our metabolic rate changes as we grow older.

 

Why Does Our Metabolism Get Affected As We Age?

 

The size of your body, your sex, and your age are some of the most key factors that influence your metabolism rate. Let me put it this way for you: as we age, we begin to lose muscle mass and accumulate fat. With age, the need for energy in muscle cells in the body continues to decrease.

 

But why does a person's muscle mass degrade as they age? The explanation for this is that as people age, their bodies naturally begin to lose muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is also influenced by genes. No matter how involved a person is in physical activity as they get older, their body will naturally lose muscle mass. After the age of 50, people lose 0.181 kg of muscle mass per year on average, and after the age of 30, they lose around 3 to 5% of their muscle mass.

 

In addition, as people age, they engage in fewer physical activities, lowering their energy requirements. As a result, energy intake is reduced, skeletal muscle mass is reduced, and fat accumulation in the body, especially abdominal fat, is increased.

 

Returning to the crux of the matter, how does all of this shift in old age impact our metabolism? Our muscle cells need more energy to maintain themselves, but as we age, the process of energy production, or metabolism rate, slows down. You can think of it this way: the more energy our muscle cells need, the quicker our metabolism will be, and vice versa. Since fat is replaced by muscle in the body of an older individual, nutrients are metabolized at a very slow rate, resulting in a slower rate of metabolism.

 

You would be surprised to learn that men have a faster metabolism than women because they have more muscle mass, less fat, and thicker bones than women. As a result, women's metabolisms are typically slower than men's. There are, however, other reasons for women's slower metabolism.

 

Furthermore, as people get older, the mechanism of anabolism slows down, preventing the formation of new protein muscle cells and, as a result, slowing down the metabolism. In brief, metabolic processes in old age cease to function as they did in youth.

 

So, there you have it! Much has been said about having a slower metabolism, but is it also possible to speed up your metabolism? Yes, indeed! Certainly, considering the normal changes occurring in the body, some lifestyle changes and the consumption of metabolism-boosting foods will result in a positive improvement in one's metabolism. I've included a list of foods that can help you increase your metabolism.

 

Metabolism-boosting Foods

  • Eggs, legumes, fish, animal products, seeds, beans, and nuts are high in protein and can help you to boost your metabolic rate and preserve muscle mass. These foods cause the body to generate and use more energy in order to break down the nutrients in these foods. In contrast to lower-protein foods, the high protein level in these foods allows the body to burn more calories to digest them.

 

  • Whole grains are one of the best foods for maximizing your metabolism! They trigger a slight rise in your BMR. Whole grains are easy to digest, and eating them will help you burn more calories when you're digesting them.

 

  • Including avocado in your regular diet will help you to increase your metabolism. This food not only makes you feel whole, but it also aids in weight loss. Obese and slow metabolism sufferers should consume this food on a regular basis. This also has anti-inflammatory properties that influence the metabolic process.

 

  • Chilli peppers can improve the body's metabolism by increasing the number of calories burned and fat oxidation.

 

  • Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, a compound that aids in lowering blood fat, reducing the risk of age-related ailments, and, most importantly, controlling the metabolic process in the body.

 

  • Ginger (in the form of ginger powder) and Cayenne Pepper are natural spices with the ability to burn a large number of calories, thus increasing metabolism.

 

  • Flaxseeds are a nutritious food for the body since they contain a variety of basic nutrients, vitamins, and protein. It also has the capability of assisting you in improving your BMR. It helps with not only metabolism but also diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Flaxseeds have a high fibre quality, as well as a certain amount of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

 

  • Zinc, selenium, and iron-rich foods will help you to manage your metabolic rate. These elements are needed by the body for the thyroid gland to function properly, a gland that has a significant effect on metabolism.

 

  • Green tea has a calming and therapeutic effect on the body, but it can also increase BMR by 4-10%. Green tea consumption can aid in the burning of a few extra calories each day.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Metabolism is a biochemical process in which energy is generated when various chemical reactions break down the nutrients in the foods and beverages we consume. Age, body size and shape, and gender all have an effect on one's metabolism, but when one gets older, the mechanism and pace of metabolism naturally slows down due to the loss of muscle mass and the accumulation of fat. However, by making certain lifestyle changes, exercising and participating in physical activities, and consuming metabolism-boosting foods, one can improve the rate and efficiency of their metabolism.

The body requires energy to develop and work, and metabolism is the mechanism by which particular proteins control the process of producing energy or chemical reactions. It is essentially a chemical reaction that occurs in the body and includes both organisms and cells: the cells turn food into energy, which is then used to perform a variety of activities and acts, including our growth and development. In layman's terms, it's a mechanism in which everything we consume and drink is blended with oxygen to provide the body with the energy it needs to work properly.

 

I must point out that even when the body is relaxed, it requires energy for other functions such as blood circulation, breathing, hormone regulation, and cell fixing and development. Metabolism is a dynamic mechanism in which many chemical reactions occur in the body at the same time; the body uses a certain amount of calories to carry out all of these processes, which is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Your body's metabolism is directly proportional to your basal metabolic rate; therefore, the slower your body's metabolism, the lower your BMR, and vice versa. Your BMR is often influenced by factors such as your age, gender, body size, and formation.

 

Metabolism of your body and in general is a fascinating mechanism to learn about because it involves many chemicals working together to generate energy through a variety of chemical reactions. Let us learn more about it.

 

How Metabolism Works

 

After you've eaten, the digestive system uses enzymes to crack up proteins into amino acids, then convert fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into simple sugar. The body now uses these fatty acids, amino acids, and plain sugar for energy to perform various functions. Furthermore, these amalgams are immersed in the blood, which transports them to the body's cells.

 

Additional enzymes are activated until these components are engulfed by cells, pursuing chemical reactions with these compounds. The body uses whatever energy is produced during these chemical reactions to perform functions or activities, or it retains it in tissues, muscles, liver and fat. This is how the whole metabolic process takes place.

 

Another interesting thing about metabolism is that it performs two inherent activities concurrently: anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is an efficient metabolism that helps with energy storage, cell formation and body tissue ordinance.

 

Catabolism, on the other hand, is a subversive metabolism in which cells divide large molecules to provide the energy required for their activities. Catabolism, in essence, induces anabolism, allows for body movement, and aids muscle compression.

Did you know that our basal metabolic rate never stays constant and actually decreases as we get older? Let me explain a little more about how and why our metabolic rate changes as we grow older.

 

Why Does Our Metabolism Get Affected As We Age?

 

The size of your body, your sex, and your age are some of the most key factors that influence your metabolism rate. Let me put it this way for you: as we age, we begin to lose muscle mass and accumulate fat. With age, the need for energy in muscle cells in the body continues to decrease.

 

But why does a person's muscle mass degrade as they age? The explanation for this is that as people age, their bodies naturally begin to lose muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is also influenced by genes. No matter how involved a person is in physical activity as they get older, their body will naturally lose muscle mass. After the age of 50, people lose 0.181 kg of muscle mass per year on average, and after the age of 30, they lose around 3 to 5% of their muscle mass.

 

In addition, as people age, they engage in fewer physical activities, lowering their energy requirements. As a result, energy intake is reduced, skeletal muscle mass is reduced, and fat accumulation in the body, especially abdominal fat, is increased.

 

Returning to the crux of the matter, how does all of this shift in old age impact our metabolism? Our muscle cells need more energy to maintain themselves, but as we age, the process of energy production, or metabolism rate, slows down. You can think of it this way: the more energy our muscle cells need, the quicker our metabolism will be, and vice versa. Since fat is replaced by muscle in the body of an older individual, nutrients are metabolized at a very slow rate, resulting in a slower rate of metabolism.

 

You would be surprised to learn that men have a faster metabolism than women because they have more muscle mass, less fat, and thicker bones than women. As a result, women's metabolisms are typically slower than men's. There are, however, other reasons for women's slower metabolism.

 

Furthermore, as people get older, the mechanism of anabolism slows down, preventing the formation of new protein muscle cells and, as a result, slowing down the metabolism. In brief, metabolic processes in old age cease to function as they did in youth.

 

So, there you have it! Much has been said about having a slower metabolism, but is it also possible to speed up your metabolism? Yes, indeed! Certainly, considering the normal changes occurring in the body, some lifestyle changes and the consumption of metabolism-boosting foods will result in a positive improvement in one's metabolism. I've included a list of foods that can help you increase your metabolism.

 

Metabolism-boosting Foods

  • Eggs, legumes, fish, animal products, seeds, beans, and nuts are high in protein and can help you to boost your metabolic rate and preserve muscle mass. These foods cause the body to generate and use more energy in order to break down the nutrients in these foods. In contrast to lower-protein foods, the high protein level in these foods allows the body to burn more calories to digest them.

 

  • Whole grains are one of the best foods for maximizing your metabolism! They trigger a slight rise in your BMR. Whole grains are easy to digest, and eating them will help you burn more calories when you're digesting them.

 

  • Including avocado in your regular diet will help you to increase your metabolism. This food not only makes you feel whole, but it also aids in weight loss. Obese and slow metabolism sufferers should consume this food on a regular basis. This also has anti-inflammatory properties that influence the metabolic process.

 

  • Chilli peppers can improve the body's metabolism by increasing the number of calories burned and fat oxidation.

 

  • Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, a compound that aids in lowering blood fat, reducing the risk of age-related ailments, and, most importantly, controlling the metabolic process in the body.

 

  • Ginger (in the form of ginger powder) and Cayenne Pepper are natural spices with the ability to burn a large number of calories, thus increasing metabolism.

 

  • Flaxseeds are a nutritious food for the body since they contain a variety of basic nutrients, vitamins, and protein. It also has the capability of assisting you in improving your BMR. It helps with not only metabolism but also diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Flaxseeds have a high fibre quality, as well as a certain amount of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

 

  • Zinc, selenium, and iron-rich foods will help you to manage your metabolic rate. These elements are needed by the body for the thyroid gland to function properly, a gland that has a significant effect on metabolism.

 

  • Green tea has a calming and therapeutic effect on the body, but it can also increase BMR by 4-10%. Green tea consumption can aid in the burning of a few extra calories each day.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Metabolism is a biochemical process in which energy is generated when various chemical reactions break down the nutrients in the foods and beverages we consume. Age, body size and shape, and gender all have an effect on one's metabolism, but when one gets older, the mechanism and pace of metabolism naturally slows down due to the loss of muscle mass and the accumulation of fat. However, by making certain lifestyle changes, exercising and participating in physical activities, and consuming metabolism-boosting foods, one can improve the rate and efficiency of their metabolism.

 

 

 

 

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