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What is metabolism?

Metabolism refers to the chemical processes that occur in our body needed for proper functioning. Metabolic processes include the conversion of food into energy, growth, development, tissue repair, and the elimination of certain waste products. 

How do you boost your metabolism?

Your metabolic rate is determined by multiple factors including body size, age, gender, genes, lean tissue mass, and physical activity. Though your metabolic rate is generally fixed, there are some long term changes you can make to help increase the speed of your metabolism. These include:

  • Increased aerobic physical activity to increase the number of calories you burn. 
  • Increased muscle mass through strength training as muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells. 
  • Limit the amount of time you spend inactive or sitting.
  • Eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

What is basal metabolic rate?

An individual’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy required by the body to carry out vital functions and chemical reactions to sustain life. Another way to look at it is as the number of calories burned when the body is at its most rested state. The most accurate way to measure BMR is in a laboratory setting under very specific conditions. A person’s BMR may account for up to 80% of their total daily energy expenditure or number of calories burned. 

The Harris-Benedict equation may be used to calculate a person’s BMR.

What is the Harris-Benedict equation for males?

BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) - (5.677 x age in years)

What is the Harris-Benedict equation for females? 

BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) - (4.330 x age in years)

What is the Mifflin-St. Joeir equation?

In the clinical setting another equation is often used to measure BMR. This equation is called the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. It is considered the most accurate for measuring BMR in healthy obese and non-obese individuals. 

What is the Mifflin- St. Jeor equation for females? 

10 (weight in kg) + 6.25 (height in cm) - 5 (age in years) -161. 

What is the Mifflin- St. Jeor equation for males? 

10 (weight in kg) + 6.25 (height in cm) - 5 (age in years) +5. 

What is metabolic acidosis?

Metabolic acidosis is a condition in which the body becomes more acidic than basic which indicates a serious electrolyte disorder. Typically, metabolic acidosis occurs when the body produces too much acid, there is a loss of bicarbonate from the blood, or when the kidneys are not removing enough acid from the body. There are numerous causes of metabolic acid which can result in short term (acute) metabolic acidosis which can severely affect the cardiovascular system Metabolic acidosis can also be experienced longer term (chronic) which may severely lead to problems with muscles, bones, kidney and cardiovascular health

What does it mean to have a high metabolism?

A high metabolism typically means that an individual will burn a significant amount of calories during physical activity as well as when they are resting. Your metabolic rate is determined by multiple factors including body size, age, gender, genes, lean tissue mass, and physical activity. Though your metabolic rate is generally fixed, there are some long term changes you can make to help increase the speed of your metabolism.

Related Terms

Metabolites

Learn more about Metabolism:

Photo of Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson

Medically reviewed by:

Kristin Ricklefs-Johnson, Ph.D., RD

Kristin is an RDN who also earned her Ph.D. in Nutrition from Arizona State University with an emphasis on insulin resistance, lipid metabolism disorders, and obesity. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at Mayo Clinic where she focused on nutrition-related proteomic and metabolic research. Her interests include understanding the exact mechanism of action of various genetic variations underlying individual predispositions to nutrition-related health outcomes. Her goal is to help all individuals prevent chronic diseases and achieve long, healthy lives through eating well.

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