Our metabolism is vital for managing the distribution of energy in the body. But how much do you really know about how that works? The Science Team at Lykon is here to clear up some misconceptions.
Lykon is a health coach for everyone that offers nutritional recommendations, recipes and lifestyle tips based on your blood values. Lykon blood tests have been developed by physicians, nutritionists and biochemists and are analysed in clinically accredited laboratories only. Just a few drops of blood from the fingertips are enough to detect nutrient deficiencies and make personalized recommendations. As an official medical partner of ALBA Berlin, professional athletes also use our blood tests to optimize performance. In addition, Lykon is certified by ePrivacy and meets the highest data protection standards. We at Lykon have no access to the encrypted data, only the user can access it through their unique combination of test ID and registration data.
What is metabolism and how does it work?
Metabolism is all about how our bodies respond to calories. This response varies from person to person. Age, gender, genetics and the amount of muscle and fat tissue in the body affect your metabolism.
Metabolism is the collection of chemical reactions that converts the energy we ingest from food and drink into fuel for every single cell in the body.
The body’s organs and tissue uses most of that energy (65-80%) to sustain itself, (such as pumping blood and controlling body temperature); this is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR), and encompasses all the things the body continues to do while at rest (1). Approximately 10% is the additional energy beyond the BMR that the body spends to break down the food you eat, and is known as the thermic effect of food (1).
Your body spends the remaining 10-30% on all physical activity, from fidgeting to walking and exercise.
What is the connection between weight gain and metabolism?
It might come as a surprise to learn that an increase in weight gain is associated with an increased metabolism. Having a greater body weight, as observed in obese people, requires a higher metabolism. More total muscle and tissue mass requires a greater amount of energy to sustain itself and increases the BMR (2). However, lean muscle mass requires more energy at rest than fat tissue, and building strength is one way to achieve fat-loss goals (3).
Similarly, extreme weight loss (such as that seen on the television show The Biggest Loser) triggers a substantial and long-term decrease in metabolism as a survival mechanism to protect the body’s storage of energy (4). This may make it much harder to keep the weight off in the long run. The body will compensate by holding onto remaining energy stores or eating more calories when you lose energy, and this contributes to the bigger appetites you might have after an intense workout (4). The human body is good at these adaptations, even though for some people that means more body fat where it’s not wanted.
So what does impact weight gain and weight loss? In most people this doesn’t start with metabolism, but instead with calories in, appetite control and physical activity level (5).
What can I learn about my metabolism?
Our expertise at Lykon is in telling you what your blood knows about your health through at-home blood biomarker test kits. While a blood test alone can’t tell you how much energy your body needs, biomarkers in your blood can tell you about your hormones and metabolic health.
The thyroid plays a major role in controlling the metabolism through hormones. Irregular thyroid activity can be a cause of slow metabolism and weight gain. In fact, the prevalence of underactive thyroid is about 1-2 in every 100 people, and is more likely to affect women than men (6).
Other blood biomarkers are important measures of metabolic health, such as triglycerides and HDL cholesterol (a.k.a. “good” cholesterol), both commonly tested as part of the lipid profile. The body’s ability to metabolise sugars and fats can become impaired for a number of reasons, including poor diet and low physical activity levels. You should measure your lipid profile regularly past a certain age to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lykon has assembled the myWeight Control test kit that measures these biomarkers and more. myWeight Control will provide you with important knowledge valuable for maintaining a healthy body weight and many aspects of your health.
Curious about your metabolic health? Test now!
- Westerterp, KR. Physical activity and physical activity induced energy expenditure in humans: measurement, determinants, and effects. Front Physiol. 2013 Apr 26;4:90.
- Ravussin, E, et al. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and resting metabolic rate in obese, moderately obese, and control subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Mar;35(3):566-73.
- Müller, MJ, et al. Metabolically Active Components of Fat-Free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure in Humans: Recent Lessons from Imaging Technologies. Obes Rev. 2002;3(2):113–22.
- Kerns, JC, et al. Increased Physical Activity Associated with Less Weight Regain Six Years After “The Biggest Loser” Competition. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Nov;25(11):1838-1843.
- Pontzer, H, et al. Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans. Curr Biol. 2016 Feb 8;26(3):410-7.
- Vanderpump, MP. The epidemiology of thyroid disease; Br Med Bull. 2011;99:39-51.