4 Hidden Signs You May Have Metabolic Disease

metabolic health

Metabolic health is the absolute cornerstone of long term good health. If we look at the big issues that are plaguing our health services - cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and many preventable degenerative diseases. They all have metabolic dysfunction at their root.

We are in a tidal wave of metabolic disease which is being fuelled by not only our food environment, but also the pace and pressures of modern life. Put all of these variables together and it is not that surprising that we are seeing the disease patterns that we are.

Whilst some of the later stage signs of metabolic disease are obvious - ie we end up with full blown type 2 diabetes, the early stages and subtle warning signs often go un noticed or are overlooked. With that in mind, let’s explore some of them here.


Difficulty Losing Weight

You know by now my feelings around just focusing on calories when it comes to weight management. If you have had that experience where you are doing everything “right” ie creating the magical calorie deficit, working out 5 days a week, drinking your own body weight in water and eating endless avocado toasts, but that weight around the middle just won’t shift, then you are experiencing the very thing that I talk about when I say its not all about the calories.

Our bodies are regulated by hormones and if cutting calories and getting more active is not hitting the mark, it can be a sign that hormones are not on your side and you are heading towards poor metabolic health. It may signal a metabolic disorder such as insulin resistance or hypothyroidism.

Insulin resistance affects the body's ability to use insulin effectively, leading to excess fat storage and difficulty in weight management, regardless of caloric variation (Reaven, 2005). Additionally, hypothyroidism, characterised by reduced levels of thyroid hormones, can slow down metabolic processes, making weight loss challenging (Gaitonde, Rowley, & Sweeney, 2012). In my own clinical practice, I can see that this seems to be becoming more and more prominent.


Unexplained Fatigue

Fatigue just seems to be part of life these days. I mean, just watching the news is enough to make you want to hide in a darkened room utterly exhausted.

High stress, increased anxiety, long challenging working hours, demands on our time and yes of course, a food environment where it is easy to fuel ourselves with poor quality food, can all contribute to feelings of tiredness. But the fatigue I am talking about here is the type that just will not shift even with rest. I have to put my clinicians hat on for a second here and say that this kind of fatigue is also considered a ‘red flag’ so if you have been experiencing this for 2 weeks or more, please DO have a chat with your doctor.

Anyway, unshakeable fatigue can be strongly associated with declining metabolic health. Unexplained fatigue, despite adequate rest, can be a subtle indicator of metabolic dysfunction. This form of fatigue stems from the body's inefficiency in converting food into energy, a hallmark of metabolic disorders such as diabetes and thyroid diseases.

Studies have shown that individuals with insulin resistance, the precursor to type 2 diabetes, often experience chronic fatigue due to the body's inability to effectively use glucose for energy (Craft & Watson, 2004). Moreover, thyroid disorders, which affect metabolic rate, can also lead to pronounced fatigue (Klein & Danzi, 2007).


Increased Thirst & Urination

So many of us are always trying to drink more water and stay hydrated, and that message is certainly being drummed into us. But have you ever had the experience where no matter how much you drank, you just couldn't seem to quench your thirst? This could be a sign that things are taking a turn.

An often-overlooked sign of metabolic disease is polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyuria (increased urination), particularly indicative of diabetes mellitus. These symptoms occur as the body attempts to eliminate excess glucose through the urine, necessitating increased fluid intake to compensate for losses (Harris, 2008). The detection of these symptoms can prompt early screening for diabetes, thereby facilitating timely intervention and management (American Diabetes Association, 2020).


 Changes To The Skin

The final hidden sign is a pattern of skin changes. These may seem like simple pigmentation issues, but can be linked to declining metabolic health.

Acanthosis nigricans for example, characterised by dark, velvety patches of skin, especially in neck and armpit areas, is commonly associated with insulin resistance (Hud & Cohen, 2006). Additionally, xanthomas, or fatty deposits under the skin, can indicate dyslipidemia, a metabolic condition affecting the body's lipid processing (Bergman & Kimball, 2003).


How Can You Improve Metabolic Health

With the right targeted approach, we can change our diet in a way that improves the health of every body system that is affected by poor metabolic health. We can target blood sugar regulation, fat metabolism, cardiovascular disease and reverse the damage that has been done. A simple 6 step plan can start to turn things around rapidly. 

I have combined all of my clinical experience, using protocols that I have used with hundreds of patients and created a programme called ‘The Metabolic Fix’. A complete nutritional programme to help you lose weight and maintain it for life, fine tune your metabolic health, and reduce your long term disease risk with simple easy to apply steps that will make lasting change from day one!

You can learn more about this programme and get started with it - By Clicking Here



American Diabetes Association. (2020). 2. Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2020. Diabetes Care, 43(Supplement 1), S14-S31.

Bergman, R., & Kimball, A. B. (2003). Xanthomas: clinical and pathophysiological relations. Biomarkers in skin disease. 18(4), 220-224.

Craft, S., & Watson, G. S. (2004). Insulin and neurodegenerative disease: shared and specific mechanisms. Lancet Neurology, 3(3), 169-178.

Gaitonde, D. Y., Rowley, K. D., & Sweeney, L. B. (2012). Hypothyroidism: An update. American Family Physician, 86(3), 244-251.

Harris, M. I. (2008). Hyperglycemia and related health outcomes: A review. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 21(5), 412-420.

Hud, J. A., & Cohen, J. B. (2006). Acanthosis Nigricans in obese patients: Presentations and implications for prevention of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Dermatology Online Journal, 12(7), 1.

Klein, I., & Danzi, S. (2007). Thyroid disease and the heart. Circulation, 116(15), 1725-1735.

Reaven, G. (2005). The insulin resistance syndrome: definition and dietary approaches to treatment. Annual Review of Nutrition, 25, 391-406.

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