1. Arm Yourself with Knowledge

We have stressed that the first and best things you can do to improve your metabolism are to improve your overall health, nourish your body with ideal proportions of a variety of healthy food choices, and lead an active life that includes regular aerobic exercise. Once you have taken these steps, you may want to explore other supplements that can provide additional nutrients to your body as well as short-term and long-term health and metabolism benefits with very little effort. However, David Grotto, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, warns, “Supplements can enhance a diet where there are shortfalls, but a handful of vitamin, mineral, or other dietary supplements can never take the place of a healthy diet.”

Please note that just because a supplement is labeled natural or herbal does not mean that it’s inherently safe. Be sure to consult your physician before starting, or radically changing, any physical, nutritional, or supplemental regimen. Some supplements may interact with other medications or other supplements, and some may be dangerous if you take too many.

2. Take Fish Oil Capsules

Over the years, fish oil has been touted to help with a myriad of medical problems—including protecting the body from the onset of Parkinson’s and schizophrenia—but what is very exciting is its ability (because of the high levels of omega-3 it contains) to lower the body’s cholesterol levels, reduce overall blood pressure, and keep you full for longer. There is also recent evidence from the International Journal of Obesity that suggests fish oil helps with the body’s ability to burn fat and that those who supplement with fish oil will metabolize more fat as they exercise. When you’re looking for a fish oil supplement, reach for those containing 300 milligrams of the fatty acid EPA and 200 milligrams of the fatty acid DHA and take two each day. Ask your doctor before taking omega-3 supplements if you have an increased risk of bleeding.

3. Try Pancreatin

Pancreatin, or pancreatic acid, is a combination of the pancreatic enzymes lipase, protease, and amylase, which improves digestion by signaling more digestive enzymes to take on the task. These enzymes help the body to be more effective at breaking down fats, starches, and complex proteins into nutrients so they can be absorbed into the body.

Be sure to take only the recommended dose of this supplement as high doses can cause problems such as colon damage and high blood levels of a dangerous substance called uric acid.

4. Try Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha lipoic acid is a fatty acid found in each cell in the human body and in limited amounts in foods rich in lipoyllysine. These foods include spinach, broccoli, and organ meats. As an antioxidant that is both water and fat soluble, it can protect against free radicals throughout the body, including those created during the synthesis of vitamin E. However, its primary function is to covert glucose into energy, which boosts metabolism.

5. Try Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes help regulate protein function. Your body produces these enzymes naturally, but production slows as you age. Some of the food you eat—cooked or processed meat, for example—causes the enzymes to be diverted from their main role to help digest the food. Proteolytic enzymes also combat inflammation by neutralizing biochemicals associated with the problem. Between the body’s natural slowdown in enzyme production and diversion of the enzymes for digestion, you are losing a soldier, so to speak, in the battle against inflammation caused by free radical damage. Supplements work well in replacing those lost enzymes. You can find proteolytic enzyme supplements at any health food store.

6. Try Vanadium

Mushrooms, black pepper, parsley, dill weed, and whole grains contain vanadium, a compound that boosts your body’s sensitivity to insulin, which you need to properly process calories and thereby stabilize your blood sugar. You can also take supplements containing vanadium, but it can be toxic. DO NOT EXCEED 1.8 milligrams daily. People with kidney disease should not take vanadium and the recommended doses should be adhered to as high doses of vanadium (more than 1.8 mg per day) may cause liver or kidney damage.

7. Try Schizandra

Schizandra berries, also known as the “five flavor fruit” because they stimulate all five of the taste buds, have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. The herb reduces the body’s response to stressful situations, but herbalists believe that it can also improve endurance, mental alertness, and aid metabolism by regulating blood sugar levels. In addition, it is said to help detoxify the liver and improve the workings of many of the body’s organ systems.

8. Try Resveratrol

It appears that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, is the key to unlocking the maddening “French Paradox.” Though, at this juncture, most of the research has been conducted on nonhuman species, those studies suggest that the fat-soluble compound helps the liver to process carbohydrates—boosting metabolism. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant and may help to protect against atherosclerosis and heart disease. It also activates SIRT1, a gene that helps the body process fat, improves overall aerobic activity, and may have a positive impact on longevity. Resveratrol should not be used with drugs that increase risk of bleeding, including warfarin/Coumadin, aspirin, heparin, and lovenox. Until more is known about the estrogenic activity of resveratrol in humans, women with a history of estrogen-sensitive cancers, such as breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers, should avoid resveratrol supplements.

9. Try Ginseng

Ginseng has many beneficial effects. It has been used for thousands of years by herbalists to reduce cholesterol levels, increase the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal walls, mop up free radicals in the blood, and protect against cancer. Ginseng may decrease muscle injury and inflammation following exercise, and some studies suggest that it may reduce oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and brain tissue. This herb can also boost your metabolism. It does so primarily by alleviating stress and by reducing the amount of carbohydrates that are processed into your bloodstream and cause your glucose levels to spike. People scheduled for surgeries should stop taking ginseng a week before surgery and caution should also be practiced if taking anticoagulants. Patients with hormone-sensitive diseases—like certain cancers—should not consume ginseng.

10. Try Carnitine

Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino-acid derivative that helps the body convert fat into energy. After you eat, the compound takes the fatty acid molecules from your food and brings them into a cell’s mitochondria so they can be broken down and used for energy. Though carnitine is usually found in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm in adequate quantities, you can turn to red meat and dairy for an extra boost.

People with certain conditions such as peripheral vascular disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), alcohol-induced liver disease (cirrhosis), diabetes, and kidney disease should talk to their doctor before taking carnitine. Also talk to your doctor if you are taking AZT, doxorubicin, isotretinoin, or valproic acid.

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