Your Metabolism is Slowing Down, Here’s Why!

Girl keeping diet
Medically Reviewed
January 24, 2024

Ah, metabolism is the engine that burns calories and fuels our every move. When it’s humming along nicely, we feel energized, lighter, and with a bit of effort, maybe even see those stubborn pounds melt away. 

But what happens when that engine sputters and stalls? We’re left feeling sluggish, frustrated, and wondering why our best efforts to lose weight seem to yield minimal results. 

The integrative experts at Nava Health are here to shed light on four common culprits behind a sluggish metabolism and unveil the integrative medical strategies that can get that engine roaring again. 

Four Key Factors Contributing to a Slow Metabolism

#1 The Age Factor 

Time marches on, and unfortunately, so does our metabolic rate. Studies show a decline of about 2-3% per decade after age 20. This is due to several factors, including: 

  • Muscle loss: Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so as we lose muscle mass with age, our resting metabolic rate (RMR) dips as well. 
  • Hormonal changes: Declining levels of hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormone play a role in slowing down metabolism. 
  • Changes in body composition: As we age, we tend to store more fat and less muscle, further tipping the metabolic scales in the wrong direction. 

Integrative Strategies 


  • Strength training: Building and maintaining muscle mass is key to revving up your metabolism. Aim for at least two strength training sessions per week. Compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups are effective for most of our average exercisers.  
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT): This type of exercise alternates between short bursts of intense activity and rest periods, proven to boost metabolism and burn calories even after you’ve finished sweating. 

 Bioidentical Hormone Optimization Therapy (BHRT)  

  • During menopause, declining estrogen levels can lead to a slower metabolism, making it harder to burn calories. BHRT with estrogen might counteract this, potentially allowing you to burn more calories at rest and during exercise 
  • BHRT might help shift fat distribution, leading to less visceral fat. This change may have metabolic benefits as visceral fat is more metabolically active and linked to health risks. 
  • BHRT can help maintain or even increase muscle mass. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat, even at rest, contributing to a slightly higher metabolic rate. 

#2 The Sleep Thief 

We all know a good night’s sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being, but did you know it also plays a crucial role in metabolism? When we’re sleep-deprived, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to increased belly fat storage and decreased insulin sensitivity, both of which hinder metabolism. 

Integrative Strategies 

  • Prioritize sleep hygiene: Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. 
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Practices like meditation and yoga can help manage stress and promote better sleep. 
  • Light therapy: For individuals with circadian rhythm disruptions, using a light box in the morning can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and improve metabolism. 
  • BHRT can alleviate sleep disruption caused by hormone imbalance 

#3 The Gut Gangster 

Our gut microbiome, the trillions of bacteria that reside in our digestive tract, plays a surprisingly significant role in regulating metabolism. An imbalance in gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis, has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. 

Integrative Strategies 

  • Probiotics and prebiotics: These supplements help restore balance to the gut microbiome. Choose high-quality probiotic strains and incorporate prebiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet. 
  • Fermented foods: Traditional fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are naturally rich in probiotics and can help optimize and support gut health. 
  • Dietary changes: Limiting processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats while focusing on whole, unprocessed foods can promote a healthy gut environment. 

 #4 The Stress Monster 

Chronic stress is a major metabolism wrecker. When we’re stressed, our bodies release cortisol, which promotes fat storage, particularly around the belly. Additionally, stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like emotional eating, further hindering weight management efforts. 

Integrative Strategies 

  • Mind-body practices: Yoga, meditation, and tai chi can all help manage stress and promote relaxation. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy can help you identify and modify negative thought patterns that contribute to stress. 
  • BHRT can alleviate mood swings and depression, often impacting motivation and dietary habits. 

Optimize Your Health and Metabolism with Nava

Don’t forget, a sluggish metabolism is often a complex issue with multiple contributing factors. The integrative approach addresses the underlying causes rather than just focusing on symptoms, which is key to getting your metabolism back on track.  

Combining conventional medical approaches with lifestyle modifications and complementary therapies can unlock your body’s full potential and help you feel energized, healthy, and vibrant at any age. 

StephanieM Headshot Doctor - Nava Health

Stephanie is an autoimmune advocate and Functional Nutritionist who blends science, humor, and herbalism to create personalized nutrition and integrative health strategies. With over five years of clinical experience, Stephanie has helped numerous clients overcome various health issues, from weight management to autoimmunity and hormonal balance.