13 Easy to Miss Signs of a Metabolism Problem

Pears with Hearts

When it comes to our metabolism most people just know that they want to give it a boost. And that their metabolism affects their diet. What many don’t know is that they may have a metabolism problem or disorder, considering there are so many.

Now, we recently talked about understanding your weight loss plateau and overcoming it.

What I had mentioned in that post, ahem, if you didn’t read it, is that there are a lot of different reasons that you might be stuck and unable to lose more weight.

One of those reasons was your health.

There are many signs that can be easily missed when it comes to having a problem with your metabolism.

Before we start, I just want to say, don’t be one of those people who is stuck with their weight loss and create these symptoms, so they have an excuse.

You are a, dare I say it, kickass person. So, if you really want to lose the weight you can do it if you put your mind to it.

No excuses!

Metabolism Definition

Chemicals Metabolize in Your Body

According to Merriam-Webser, metabolism is defined as, “the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated”.


That is an intense definition.

They way most people recognize the definition of metabolism is how quickly you burn calories or fat.

This is how we get energy. From your body burning the foods you eat.

From the first definition you can see that there is so much more to your metabolism than just burning calories and fat.

But, for our purposes here, just know that your metabolism is a vital and necessary aspect of your health.

Metabolism and Diet

Overactive Metabolism Underactive Metabolism

Since your metabolic rate determines how fast your body burns calories and fat, it is important to those seeking to lose weight.

Obviously, if you have a fast metabolism you will burn more calories.

And having a slow metabolism means you are burning fewer calories.

There are ways you can boost your metabolism and help get you back on track.

However, if you have a metabolism problem, you might consider contacting your doctor.

Boosting Your Metabolism

Spicy Food Boosts Your Metabolism

Eating certain foods can give your metabolic rate the boost you are looking for.

Protein rich foods, such as, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, are great for this.

Spicy foods, like chili peppers can also help.

And try having a cup of coffee each morning to give it a jump start right off the bat.

There are other ways you can increase your metabolism as well.

HIIT workouts are a great way to give yourself a leg up. And they are a great workout. If you want to learn more about HIIT workouts, check out this post.

If you aren’t into HIIT workouts, weightlifting can help, and not just with your metabolism. Check out the other advantages here.

Even just moving around throughout the day can be a big help. If you work at a desk all day, make a point to get up, stretch, walk around, do a little jig.

Whatever you need to do. Or, get a Fitbit to tell you to move if you can’t trust yourself to do it.

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Finally, a good night’s sleep can boost your metabolism.

A lack of sleep has been linked to an increase in your bodies hunger hormone, ghrelin. Think about that for a second.

How many times have you been really tired and find yourself reaching for food, any food, more often than when you are well rested?

Now, let’s get into what you really want to know.

Metabolism Disorder Definition

Colors Colliding Metabolism Disorder

A metabolism disorder, or metabolic disorder, is when you have abnormal chemical reactions in your body that disrupt the process of burning fat and calories.

This can be caused from having too much or too little of a substance in your body.

Now, we all know that disorders are never really a good thing when it comes to our health.

But don’t panic. Knowing there is an issue it the first step to getting your health back on track.

Signs of a Problem

Sign of a Problem

Before we get too far into this, I again want to tell you not to panic or create problems in your mind.

These signs could be caused by numerous things, not just a metabolism or thyroid problem.

Your thyroid gland plays a huge role in your metabolism and regulating your energy.

If your thyroid isn’t working properly, meaning there is over activity or under activity, you could experience some serious complications.

These can include everything from depression or mood swings to dry skin.

1. Migraines and Metabolism

Migraine a Sign of a Thyroid Problem

If you are a person that has migraines, you know how much they suck.

But what you probably don’t realize is that it can be more of a problem than you think.

Migraines have actually been linked to Hypothyroidism. This is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones that play a vital role in metabolizing food.

This in turn causes you to have a slow metabolism.

In a case study done this past January, published in Cephalalgia found that only 13% of subjects that did not have hypothyroidism had migraines. While 46% of subjects with a thyroid problem did have migraines.

That is a significant difference and definitely something to keep in mind if you have chronic migraines.

2. Changes in Skin, Hair, and Nails Because of Your Thyroid

Getting Nails Done- Brittle Nails Are a Sign of a Metabolism Issue

There are other links to thyroid disorders as well. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has stated that you can see signs and symptoms related to a thyroid issue in your hair, skin, and nails.

There are numerous changes in your skin that you should take note of. A few are, dry skin with deep cracks, slow healing cuts, cool pale skin, or even reddish spots that come and go.

When it comes to your hair, you should pay attention to signs like thinning hair, having less hair on your arms and legs that you do on other areas of your body, and if your hair is coarse, dry, and breaks easily.

As for your nails, do they peel or break easily? Or are they thick and brittle?

These are the types of signs you should be noticing. And if you are seeing these signs, it could be due to a thyroid and metabolism problem.

It is always best to consult your doctor, especially if you have noticed numerous changes or symptoms.

3. Gaining Weight and Metabolism

Gaining Weight is a Sign of a Thyroid Problem

I’m not saying just because you gain weight you have a thyroid or metabolism problem.

If you are eating a box of Twinkies a day after you hit up every fast food joint in town, you are bound to gain weight.

What I am talking about here is if your diet hasn’t not changed and all of the sudden you start to gain weight.

When you have a thyroid issue, your metabolism is out of whack and cause it to be slow.

Slow metabolism leads to increased weight. And the worse this condition is, the more weight you could gain.

Fortunately, if this is the case and you have your condition treated, you should be able to lose that excess weight because it is typically just water weight.

4. Mood Swings and Your Thyroid

Theater Masks- Mood Swings

If you have experienced mood swings, it might be due to a thyroid or metabolism disorder.

Studies have shown that those who have a thyroid issue and a slow metabolism, can experience moodiness because it affects the area of the brain that deals with processing information.

So, the cause of those mood swings might not be all your fault.

5. Forgetfulness and Metabolism

Thought Bubble- Metabolism Problem can Cause Forgetfulness

Alright, if you are getting older, being forgetful is natural. It can come with age.

However, it could also be a red flag that your metabolism isn’t working right.

What did we just talk about?

Oh, that right, we just talked about having mood swings and how a metabolism disorder can affect areas of your brain.

Having an over or under active thyroid can cause you to experience some short-term memory loss.

If you feel that your memory loss should not be due to your natural aging, then it might be something you want to keep an eye on and discuss with your doctor.

6. Trouble Concentrating and Your Thyroid

Women Concentrating Playing Jenga

This one can be a little harder to detect because who doesn’t have days where they can’t stay focused.

For me, it is usually Fridays where my concentration will slip. But that is something I can pull myself out of.

This type of trouble concentrating is usually coupled with trouble sleeping and nervousness.

So, if you find you routinely have these symptoms, they could be due to an overactive thyroid or a high metabolism.

7. Depression and Metabolism

Depression Caused by a Metabolism Problem

This is another area of your mood that might be affected by metabolism.

Studies have found that those with a slower than average metabolism are at a much greater risk of developing depression than those with a normal metabolic rate.

8. Exhaustion and Your Thyroid

Exhaustion Caused by a Thyroid Problem

In some cases, if you have a high metabolism caused by an overactive thyroid, you can experience fatigue.

After a while of your metabolism working so fast, it takes a toll on your body.

Think of it this way. You are running on a treadmill. You are going along at a good speed and you are keeping up just fine.

Even if you keep at a consistent speed, what happens?

Eventually you will get tired because you are overworking yourself.

The same goes for your metabolism. It is working too hard, burning everything you have, and in turn it leads to burnout.

9. Arrhythmia and Metabolism


An arrhythmia means that your heartbeat is irregular. This could be because it is beating too fast, too slow, skips a beat, or even adds a beat.

When you have an overactive metabolism (from hyperthyroidism), it causes you heartbeat to be irregular.

Some studies have shown that having low levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone, is a sign of hyperthyroidism.

To be safe, you should always consult your doctor if you feel you have an irregular heartbeat.

10. Tremors and Your Thyroid

Tremors in the Hands

Another interesting symptom of a metabolism problem, are tremors.

A tremor is an involuntary shaky movement in a body part, such as the hands.

This is caused by an overactive metabolism.

This sign will be pretty easy to spot. It is just realizing that is could be a symptom of an issue with your metabolism and thyroid that is the tricky part for most people.

11. Menstrual Issues and Your Metabolism

Heat Pad on Woman's Stomach

For women, your thyroid is what regulates your menstrual cycle. So, if your metabolism speeds up or slows down, it will directly affect your menstrual cycle.

This can cause your period to be irregular, be very light, very heavy, or even stop for a period of time.

Women, you know you pay attention to your cycle and flow. If it changes significantly with no other factors involved, such as starting birth control or being pregnant, this is something you want to make note of and keep an eye on.

12. Bowel Movements and Your Thyroid

Bathroom Sign

Having hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can both cause issues with your bowel movements.

A common sign is diarrhea, but any issues you have with your bowel movements could be a symptom of one of these conditions.

Again, it is always wise to keep note of any significant changes in your body that are becoming routine.

13. Appetite Changes and Metabolism

Dog with Tongue Out

The final symptom of a metabolism issue is if you have a change in your appetite.

In most cases, where you have an overactive thyroid, you could see an increased appetite.

However, if you have an under active thyroid, it would be likely to see a loss of appetite.

 This will be a noticeable change. Don’t be concerned if you had a larger breakfast so you ended up not being hungry at lunch time.

This is not that kind of situation. Your changes in appetite would be more sever, consistent, and lasting.


You Got It

We covered a lot of information about your metabolism and thyroid. By now, you should be confident in knowing what your metabolism is and how it affects your body.

Remember that your metabolism is the process your body has for burning the food you eat. And when you have a problem with your metabolism, it is a disruption in the process of burning the fat and calories.

You can have a high or low metabolism. If it is fast, if will burn more calories and vice versa for a slow metabolism.

You can boost your metabolic rate by eating certain foods, staying active, and getting enough sleep each night.

Your metabolism and thyroid are directly connected, so a change in either will show in the other.

Keep in mind all of the signs that could be present letting you know that there is an issue with your metabolism or thyroid.

If you have several of these symptoms, it is very likely that you have a metabolism or thyroid problem, and you should consult your doctor.

You might also want to consult your doctor about some of these symptoms, even if you don’t think it is that type of issue because it could be related to other health problems.

Signs of a Metabolism Problem

The signs you want to watch for are migraines. There is a strong link between migraines and hypothyroidism.

Also, watch for changes in your hair, skin, or nails. Dry hair, skin, and nails is a common sign of a metabolism problem.

 You might also notice unexplained weight gain, which would be due to a low metabolism.

While an overactive metabolism can cause exhaustion and even tremors.

And issues with your thyroid can cause mood swings, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and depression.

A drastic change in your appetite is also a tell-tale sign of a metabolism issue.

Finally, you could experience an irregular heartbeat, a sever change in your menstrual cycle, and bowel problems, such as diarrhea.

All of these should be kept in mind and noted when you see an issue. Again, if it is persistent, always consult your doctor so you can live your healthiest life.

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Published by Amy

I have always had a strong passion for health and fitness, as well as helping others. So much so, that I went on to receive my Level 1 Precision Nutrition Certification. My goal is to help others feel at their best! I know it can be a struggle to reach your fitness goals, whether it is losing weight, getting in shape, or improving your overall health. I want to help you reach your goals and find what works best for you so you can stick to it! Let's work on making you Happy Healthy and Strong!

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