11 Signs Your Metabolism Is Out Of Whack, Whether It's Too Fast Or Too Slow

When something is wrong with your health, it can be hard to pinpoint the source of your issues, especially when you have multiple symptoms. One area we might neglect to think about is our metabolism, so it's important to pay attention to the signs that your metabolism may be off. It might not be something we think about every day, but our metabolism is an important part of our health, fueling our body's necessary functions such as breathing, circulatory functions, the endocrine system, and more.

"Our metabolism is basically our body converting food into energy," says Dr. Candice Seti, psychologist, personal trainer, and nutrition coach over email. "When people talk about a fast or slow metabolism they are really referring to how many calories your body burns during this process to fuel your body's basic needs. This is also known as your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)."

Sometimes, for various reasons, our RMR can end up becoming too fast or too slow. This could be a result of an inherited metabolic disorder or of unhealthy habits, such as eating poorly, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, etc. And when you're metabolism is off, it affects the rest of your health.

If you suspect that something is not right in your body, consider these 11 signs that your metabolism could be out of whack.

1. You're Really Tired

If you're tired, all the time, no matter what, something could be wrong with your metabolism. "This is exhaustion for no reason or feeling a significant energy slump at 3 p.m.," says Dr. Caroline Cederquist, MD, metabolism expert, and founder of bistroMD. "This can be caused by problems with thyroid, blood sugar regulation, or other stress hormones that affect metabolism."

2. You Crave A Lot Of Sugar

"Many people whose metabolism does not function correctly crave sugars and starches," says Cederquist. "This is because their metabolism is not working to move sugar from the blood stream into cells where we need it for energy. The cells are starved for energy, so the body responds with various chemical signals that can make us crave sugars."

3. Your Moods Are Up & Down

Many of us have experienced negative moods when our blood sugar gets low, so we know that metabolism can play a role in our mood. Research shows that many neuropsychiatric disorders often co-occur with metabolic disturbances, and manipulating patients’ metabolism via injections of insulin can have striking effects on their mental state, according to The Scientist. If you experience unusual highs or lows, your metabolism could awry.

4. Your Period Is Irregular

The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that maintain the body's metabolism, and a symptom of a thyroid problem is irregular periods, according to the NHS. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as excessive exercise, stress, or overeating can cause your period to become off and affect your metabolism as well.

5. You Have Unexplained Weight Gain

If your habits haven't changed, and you're eating well and exercising, yet you gain weight, your metabolism may be to blame. "This can be caused by problems with thyroid, blood sugar regulation, or other stress hormones which affect metabolism," says Cederquist.

6. You're Constipated

"If your bowels are sluggish, it can be sign that other areas of your metabolism are sluggish too," says Cederquist. "This is especially true if your diet is healthy with adequate fiber and adequate water, and constipation is still present. This can indicate low thyroid function or vitamin or mineral deficiency."

7. You're Depressed

As I mentioned earlier, mood and psychiatric disorders are often closely tied to metabolic health, and depression could be a symptom of an affected metabolism. One study from University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences found that identifying and treating metabolic deficiencies in people with treatment-resistant depression can help improve, and sometimes even resolve, their symptoms, implying that there is a link between the two.

8. You're Losing Hair

"Hair and nails are essential to our life, so if they stop growing or are brittle, or your hair falls out, it is a sign that something is off in your metabolism and health," says Cederquist. This could be a hormone issue that affects your metabolic rate.

9. Your Body Temperature Is Off

Your metabolism is responsible for regulating your heat levels, so if you're always too hot or always too cold, something is probably off, according to Livestrong. A person with a slow metabolism might have a lower body temperature, and someone with a high metabolism will run warmer.

10. You Always Have To Pee

Going to the potty a lot? Blame your metabolism. An enhanced metabolism causes your body to produce an increased amount of waste in the form of water from cells, which can increase the amount that you urinate, according to Livestrong.

11. You're Breaking Out

Hormone production is part of metabolism, so a low metabolism can result in hormonal effects such as skin problems, according to Livestrong. This can include hormonal acne.

If you suspect something is wrong with your metabolism, it's best to go see a doctor, who can help you come up with the correct diagnosis.

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