How Long Does It Actually Take To Speed Up Your Metabolism? An MD Explains
Metabolic health is quite a complex process with plenty of unknowns. One question about it that gets floated around often: How long does it take to "speed up" your metabolism and start to optimize your metabolic rate? We asked around to learn about this process, so you can set realistic goals for your metabolic health.
Why your metabolism slows down
Before we dive into timing logistics, let's make one thing clear: Your metabolism will slow down with age, and that's normal.
This natural change is due to stress, inactivity, and potential shifts in diet or lifestyle factors like sleeping less, explains functional and integrative doctor Bindiya Gandhi, M.D.
The hormone leptin, which directly relates to feelings of satiety, also has a notable influence. "When [leptin decreases], we are more likely to gain weight and have trouble losing weight and hold on to weight despite making the appropriate lifestyle changes we were able to," Gandhi says. This hormone also tends to decline as we age,1 no matter how healthy we are.
How do you identify your metabolism speed?
How long does it take to speed up your metabolism?
Now for the timeline: "If someone's metabolism has been off for a while, and they have underlying hormonal issues, changing the conversation may take months," Gandhi says.
However, she notes that many patients she has worked with start seeing improvements in just two weeks when they start making lifestyle changes. Below, she shares her tips to get started optimizing your metabolic rate.
To sum up: Your metabolism can start to speed up after just two weeks of intentional lifestyle shifts, but it can take a few months if there are underlying health concerns or hormonal imbalances at play.
5 tips to speed up your metabolism:
- Tend to your microbiome: "Our microbiome, also known as our second brain, can really disrupt or improve our metabolism. There is data that when our gut lining is inflamed, that can actually contribute to blood sugar imbalance as well as inflammation, making it harder for us to lose weight2," Gandhi says. She suggests eating colorful veggies and getting plenty of fiber to keep your microbiome in tiptop shape.
- Get your hormones checked: If you can, getting your hormones tested may be hugely beneficial for overall metabolic health. "Usually there is underlying blood sugar instability, thyroid issues, or even sex hormone issues, that need TLC, and when we are able to address that, we see the needle move in the right direction," Gandhi says.
- Decrease inflammation: Inflammation has been linked to a slower metabolism in clinical studies3, but it's important to talk with a professional to identify possible causes of inflammation so you know where to adjust. "The goal is to identify the root cause of the inflammation and work toward improving it," Gandhi says. Here, a few tips for reducing inflammation using food.
- Manage stress: While this is always easier said than done, it's worth noting that stress can impact your metabolic health. Do your best to incorporate stress-relieving practices into your daily life. "A few of my favorite ways include yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, taking adaptogens and supplements like ashwagandha and reishi that help the body relax and unwind," Gandhi says.
- Prioritize sleep: Finally, getting enough sleep can benefit your metabolic health in a big way. Here are some strategies to help you improve your sleep quality night by night.
Speeding up your metabolism can take anywhere from two weeks to a few months depending on lifestyle changes and underlying hormonal imbalances. To ensure you're doing all you can at home, focus on consuming a variety of natural anti-inflammatory foods, getting enough quality sleep every night, and prioritizing stress management.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.