While diet and exercise are both important factors regarding weight, hormones can also play a significant role in weight fluctuation. If you’ve noticed that you’re experiencing hormonal changes and/or weight fluctuations, it’s always best to consult with your doctor about these issues first. Nonetheless, understanding how your body works and how it functions is vitally important and can be helpful in your everyday life.
According to U.S. News, “Your body relies on a complex network of glands, hormones and internal feedback loops to keep your weight in check. This weight-management system usually works on autopilot as you go about your day.”
If you feel as though you already lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you may want to consider if your hormones are working properly or if they are out of whack. Let’s take a look at which hormones could be affecting your weight and what you can do.
Hormones That Affect Weight
Leptin and Ghrelin
Leptin is the primary body weight-regulating hormone made by fat tissue. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that is released by the stomach to provoke your appetite. According to Lacey Dunn, a functional medicine dietitian, “ghrelin also stimulates the pituitary gland to release growth hormone, which actually breaks down body fat and promotes muscle buildup.”
Cortisol is a hormone naturally produced by your body. It is created by the adrenal glands in your kidneys, and it is released when you’re under stress. When your body is in fight-or-flight mode, it can temporarily halt regular bodily functions and as a result, slow your metabolism. Elevated cortisol levels can also cause cravings for sweet, fatty, and salty foods, and increase your likelihood of indulging in unhealthy foods.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas, and it regulates blood sugar levels by converting food energy into fat. It also breaks down fats and proteins. The hormone works by helping the body’s cells to absorb glucose. Insulin may cause weight gain if your cells absorb too much glucose and convert it into fat. If your body fails to produce enough insulin or if you become less sensitive to insulin, your blood sugar levels can incense and possibly lead to diabetes.
Estrogen regulates glucose and lipid metabolism and influences the amount of fat in the body. Levels that are too high or too low can cause changes in your weight. If estrogen levels are too high, there’s an increased possibility of becoming insulin-resistant and having elevated levels of blood sugar. This could lead to weight gain. Similarly, if estrogen levels are too low, there’s also a possibility of weight gain.
The Science Behind Hormones and Weight Management
Source: Live Healthy MD/YouTube
Dr. Blaney shares the main hormones that impact a patient’s weight, giving us a better understanding of the science behind it all. He explains that hormones essentially control everything within our body. The way our hormones are balanced can determine our chances of disease, as well as our ability and ease to control our weight.
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