Metabolism After 50: All You Need to Know

How does the metabolism change after 50? Can we slow the process down? Find out here!
Metabolism After 50: All You Need to Know
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 16 January, 2023

What changes can occur in your metabolism after 50? Many people have erroneous ideas about what really happens. After all, this is a process that can be reversible and can be slowed down easily, as long as good lifestyle habits are maintained. But it is good to get to know the physiology of the whole process in order to identify what can be done about it.

The need to look after your diet will help to prevent the development of illnesses and diseases, and to slow down certain aging processes. It’s crucial to have an optimal supply of nutrients so that your internal processes will function efficiently. Otherwise, changes could occur that will affect well-being.

Metabolism after 50: does it slow down?

When you pass the 50-year barrier, your metabolism may slow down a bit, but at a slower rate than most people realize. In fact, it doesn’t have to be significant when it comes to maintaining a good state of body composition, as long as you have good lifestyle habits.

But of course, you’ll need to ensure you are ingesting a normal amount of calories and carrying out frequent physical exercise, focusing especially on strength work.

What you should bear in mind is that part of this process is conditioned by the reduction of muscle mass. This starts from the age of 30 if you don’t train as you should. This is a problem known as sarcopenia that causes loss of muscle and strength and can negatively affect health. This is evidenced by research published in the Clinics in Geriatric Medicine journal.

This is more likely to happen in sedentary people, as endogenous protein synthesis will be impaired. To prevent it, it’s best to consume enough protein and train the tissue by subjecting it to high-intensity stimuli. Thanks to this, the anabolic pathways of metabolism will be activated, which will slow down the decline and even promote improvements in the state of body composition.

The importance of all this is that muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body. Therefore, it’s crucial to maintain a high energy expenditure throughout the day.

When muscle is consumed, it depresses the consumption of calories, which causes a significant reduction in metabolism. Despite the fact that this problem usually arises from the age of 50 or 60, it’s becoming more and more common even among young people.

Are there alternatives to increase metabolism?

Metabolism at 50 Might Require Some Supplements.
There are some substances that can be consumed freely in food or be consumed in the form of supplements to improve the state of health.

A good part of the metabolic expense will depend on the amount of existing muscle tissue and its activation. That’s why you have to carry out strength exercises daily and eat well. Ultra-processed foods should be avoided, as these have trans fats that have been shown to cause internal inflammation. They increase the production of free radicals and this interferes with recovery and lean mass gains.

On the other hand, consuming enough fatty acids from the omega-3 series will make a difference. According to research published in the magazine Mar Drugs, they help to improve muscle condition, even helping to prevent catabolism processes.

Thanks to this, a high energy expenditure will be maintained over time. Above all, this dietary strategy is decisive when people are over 40 or 50 years of age, as it will also have a positive effect on cardiovascular risk.

We mustn’t forget either the need to include enough protein in your diet. This is the most important structural component for our bodies. You’ll need to ensure at least 0.8 grams per kilo of weight per day in sedentary people, with an intake of more than 1.2-1.4 grams per kilo of weight when exercising frequently. However, in very active people, these requirements would even double, as confirmed by this study.

Certain foods can cause a momentary activation of the metabolism, such as spicy food. There is evidence that capsaicin slightly increases body temperature, which causes greater energy expenditure and may contribute to weight loss. In fact, it’s used from time to time in the form of supplements for this purpose.

Caffeine can speed up metabolism

Another of the strategies that can be used to activate the metabolism from the age of 50 is to include a certain dose of caffeine in your diet. This substance increases expenditure and modulates the use of energy substrates, causing more fat to be oxidized to carry out the same activity.

This will have a very positive impact on body composition, helping you to lose weight and helping you to maintain that over time.

Of course, you have to be careful with this substance, as there’s a maximum tolerable dose per intake and throughout the day. It could have a certain level of toxicity, so you shouldn’t exceed limits.

The best way to take it is through coffee or tea, as this also takes advantage of the antioxidant phytochemicals they contain and improves insulin sensitivity.

In recent years, supplements with a high caffeine content to activate the metabolism have become popular, but these aren’t highly recommended. We mustn’t forget that this substance can create tolerance if consumed too regularly. On the other hand, it negatively affects the ability to sleep when taking it close to sleeping hours.

Sleep and metabolism after 50

Another fundamental aspect that can determine our metabolic rate after the age of 50 is sleep quality. As a general rule, older people sleep less. However, experts don’t know if people age because they sleep less or sleep less because they age.

It’s one of the great physiological questions today. Be that as it may, what is clear is that good sleep is vital for maintaining internal homeostasis.

During the night all the body’s recovery and repair processes are carried out. There’s also an increase in the synthesis of certain hormones, such as testosterone or growth hormone. Both are essential in order to maintain lean mass in good working order and to prevent tissue catabolism. Thanks to them, you’ll prevent a loss or reduction in the basal metabolic rate.

On the other hand, sleep quality affects the sensations of appetite and satiety. Not only will energy expenditure be modulated, but intake may also change, which would mean there would be a significant lack of control over body composition.

These are situations that must be avoided in order to keep inflammation under control and prevent the development of chronic and complex pathologies, such as cardiovascular diseases.

To achieve better sleep, you can opt for melatonin supplementation, apart from always seeking to improve good sleep habits. It’s important to go to bed early and not look at your mobile in bed. If not, the endogenous melatonin production could be reduced, causing sleep disturbances and interruptions during the night.

Is it possible to maintain a high metabolism after 50?

Metabolism after 50 can slow down.
Avoiding some toxic compounds such as alcohol is very useful to take care of metabolism at any stage of life.

What is clear is that from the age of 50 you can have a high metabolism as long as you follow good lifestyle habits. You’ll need to carry out strength exercises at least 3 or 4 times a week with the right intensity.

Consuming enough calories and protein will always make a difference. Likewise, you’ll need to avoid toxic elements in the diet, such as alcohol. This alters the entire hormonal condition, and favors catabolism, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

As for fats, cis-type fats should be prioritized, giving special importance to lipids of the omega-3 group. These compounds help maintain inflammatory balance in addition to delaying the shortening of telomeres. This process is directly related to cell aging and inefficiencies in organ function and in the main physiological pathways.

Metabolism changes after the age of 50, but less than you think

Metabolism doesn’t change too much from the age of 50 as long as good habits are followed. If not, then changes will start to occur from 30 years of age, which will cause the early appearance of chronic pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer. To prevent this, it’s key to eat well, rest well, and exercise almost daily.

We mustn’t forget the importance of avoiding toxins in our diets. Some, like alcohol, are so entrenched in our culture, and this is tremendously damaging. The best way is to never consume it, as its effect is cumulative and it’s very difficult for the body to remove them.

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