Obesity Hormones As A Risk Factor For Disease
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke and several types of cancer, and with decreased longevity and lower quality of life. For example, the increased production of oestrogens in the fat of older women who are obese is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk, indicating that the source of oestrogen production is important.
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Why Menopause Promotes Weight Gain
The symptoms of menopause are often difficult to tease apart from the side effects of HRT precisely because both menopause and HRT are unfamiliar processes rooted in profound physiological transformation.
As the result of changing hormone levels, women who are entering menopause or who have already started menopause typically experience:
- Redistribution of existing fat deposits
- Accumulation of new fat deposits in the breasts, abdomen, and hips
- Reduction in muscle density, particularly in the biceps, triceps, and deltoids
- Reduction in bone density
Of these factors, reduced muscle mass is one of the primary triggers for menopause-related weight gain. Because muscles require a lot of energy to maintain, less muscle means your body needs fewer calories to maintain the same weight. Other factors exacerbate this effect. For example, hormonal changes in menopause reduce the bodys use of energy which is stored in fat. At the same time, critical hormones regulating fat breakdown are inhibited, leading to greater difficulty in unlocking the energy contained within fat deposits, but leaving the ability to consolidate energy into fats as strong as ever. This means that if a woman enters menopause and doesnt increase their level of physical activity or decrease their caloric intake, weight gain is all but assured.
Youre Not Getting Enough Vitamin D
Possibly due to our awareness of skin cancer and the use of sunscreen, our levels of vitamin D are lower than they were decades ago. Not to mention that we are spending more time working indoors in front of computers, or exercising inside vs. in the great outdoors. Vitamin D, synthesized by the action of sunlight upon the skin, is converted to a vital hormone in our bodies, and deficiency has been linked to allergies including food allergies, asthma, weight gain, fatigue, diabetes, and even cancer. Vitamin D levels can be tested through your provider with our Weight Management Profile and if testing uncovers a deficiency, supplemental vitamin D is cheap and readily available.
Getting To Know Ghrelin
You can think of ghrelin as your hunger hormone. Like leptin, it communicates with the brain in this case, telling your brain to eat. Every time your stomach becomes empty, it naturally releases ghrelin into your bloodstream. Ghrelin levels are lowest just after youve finished a meal. Theyre at their highest when the stomach is empty and youre ready for your next meal. This scenario is normal when a person is healthy and maintaining optimal weight.
An overweight person, on the other hand, will find that like the other hormones weve explored ghrelin levels are typically out of whack. In healthy individuals, ghrelin levels decrease in a way that satiates them and signals their brains to stop eating. But in obese individuals, ghrelin levels dont decrease enough after eating, which fails to send the brain the signal it needs to stop eating and feel satisfied.
What Hormone Helps With Weight Loss
Hormones that help with weight loss include: Testosterone: This sex hormone produced by both men and women inhibits fat storage, especially in the abdomen. Estrone: This form of estrogen helps women control their appetite and sugar cravings. Progesterone: This sex hormone facilitates the conversion of stored body fat to energy.
A Neat Way To Burn Calories
Many trainers get too focused on the calories clients burn during their training session and forget about how much they move the rest of the day . This other energy expenditure is called nonexercise activity thermogenesis , and it actually makes up the bulk of calories burned in a days activity.
If your clients are sedentary, ensuring theyre getting enough movement during the day should be a top priority. The suggestion for 10,000 steps is a great place to start. In the short term, apps or fitness trackers can be very effective tools for showing clients how inactive they truly are.
It can take 812 weeks to build new movement habits. Walking to work, taking the stairs, parking as far away from the entrance as possible , or doing a daily or nightly walk with friends or loved ones are all great ways to add more movement into the day.
If you want more context on NEAT, read this resourcenext!
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Taking The Next Steps Toward Health
If HRT doesnt cause weight gain, where does that leave women undergoing HRT who are having a hard time maintaining a healthy weight? The short answer is that youre probably better off taking the hormones than you would be without it. In fact, researchers have found strong evidence that HRT can prevent the shift in body fat proportions that typically accompanies menopause and mitigate some of the metabolic downregulation that occurs as a result of menopause, especially in energy-intensive places like the heart.
Nonetheless, theres a good chance that youll gain weight as a result of menopause, aging, and the associated lifestyle factors if you dont increase your level of physical activity and decrease your caloric intake. Working with a practitioner who combines an in-depth understanding of menopause and hormone replacement therapy with an integrative approach to treatment can help you create a comprehensive plan to optimize both your physical and emotional well-being. With the right tools and support, you can take charge of your health and enhance your confidence as you enter this new phase of life.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases.
Your High Estrogen Levels Are Expanding Your Fat Cells
Although estrogen is responsible for making women uniquely women, it’s also the hormone that can be the most troublesome in the fat department. At normal levels, estrogen actually helps keep you lean by goosing the production of insulin, a hormone that manages blood sugar. When estrogen gets thrown off, though, it turns you into a weight-gain machine.
Here’s how: When you eat, your blood sugar rises. Like a bodyguard, insulin lowers it by escorting glucose into three different places in your body. When insulin is in good working formnot too high and not too lowit sends a small amount of glucose to your liver, a large amount to your muscles to use as fuel, and little to none for fat storage.
If you’re healthy and in good shape, your pancreas produces exactly the right amount of insulin to have your blood sugar softly rise and fall within a narrow range . But when your estrogen levels climb, the cells that produce insulin become strained, and you can become insulin resistant.
That’s when insulin starts to usher less glucose to the liver and muscles, raising the levels of sugar in your bloodstream and ultimately storing the glucose as fat. Your fat tissue can expand by as much as four times to accommodate the storage of glucose.
Weight Loss Helps Reduce Frequency Of Hot Flashes Night Sweats
That doesnt have to be downer news, however. Past research has shown that women who lost at least 10 lb through a healthier diet over the course of a year were significantly more likely to see hot flashes and night sweats disappear compared with those who didnt lose weight. That small weight loss can also decrease your heart disease risk, Dr. Pinkerton notes.
To determine if this hormone therapy is right for you, Pinkerton notes that the treatment is safe for women who start it at menopause, especially for women under 60 or who are within 10 years of menopause.
Whats more, if women are over 65 and already using hormone therapy for symptoms, Pinkerton says theres no evidence to suggest they stop. Certainly, any of these situations warrant a conversation with your doctor to assess the benefits and risks for you.
How Progesterone Can Cause Weight Gain During Menopause
For many women, weight gain is a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. Dramatic changes in hormone levels mean our bodies might react differently to the same diets and routines we’ve kept for years.
In some cases, weight gain during menopause can be linked to estrogen dominance. Wait aren’t we producing less estrogen? It might seem backward to think of estrogen dominance after menopause, but progesterone production that drops off faster than estrogen levels can again throw off that ratio.
Many factors impact our hormones and our weight during perimenopause and menopause, so it’s essential to work with a provider to identify the best course for your goals. If your progesterone levels are out of whack, your doctor may recommend a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy such as progesterone cream. If used correctly, supplementing your body with bio-identical progesterone can help combat the effects of estrogen dominance, including weight gain.
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Causes Of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance can be the result of a variety of risk factors. Though both lifestyle and diet can contribute to hormonal imbalance, it often develops from illness.
Issues with the thyroid or adrenal glands are a very common catalyst for hormonal imbalance. Thyroid conditions can affect the production of certain hormones. Hypothyroidism, in particular, is linked to significant weight gain. The weight gain and obesity that often comes with hypothyroidism is a result of hormonal imbalance.
Other causes of hormonal imbalance include:
Why Am I Putting On Weight And Why Is It So Hard To Take It Off
If you are putting weight on easily and having a hard time taking it off, you should know that hormonal imbalances affect weight-loss and weight gain and could be part of the problem or maybe even the whole problem. In fact, some hormonal imbalances can make it down right impossible to lose weight!
Plenty of people attempt various diets and exercise programs with the intention of taking off any excess weight. Sometimes it can be frustrating when results are not forthcoming, which can end by giving up all together. What many people dont realize is that there can be many underlying health issues which impede weight loss attempts. Not only that, but these same issues can actually be the cause of the weight gain in the first place, in addition to poor diet and lack of exercise.
Hormone imbalances and other deficiencies can very likely be the reason. We frequently get phone calls from patients who are desperate for help because the pounds keep packing on no matter what they do. Unfortunately, many of them have sought help from their doctor, only to be told that they just need to eat less and exercise more, period. This not only leads to feelings of shame, but also helplessness and can be quite demoralizing.
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Hormones Influence Body Weight
Fat storage and breakdown are strictly regulated by certain hormones in the body. Hormones also influence energy expenditure, or the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis.
For this reason, fluctuations in hormone levels may lead to weight gain or loss, as well as body fat accumulation in specific areas.
For example, the thyroid secretes hormones that are responsible for metabolism regulation.
When the thyroid gland is overactive, it releases too much thyroid hormone. This puts the body into a hypermetabolic state, where it burns more calories . This is known as hyperthyroidism.
Conversely, an underactive thyroid, characterized by low thyroid hormone levels, leads to less energy expenditure . This is known as hypothyroidism.
This is why people with hyperthyroidism may lose weight, while those with hypothyroidism may gain weight.
Insulin is another hormone that can affect body weight.
Cells need insulin to use glucose for energy and store it for later use in the form of glycogen. Insulin is also required for storing energy as fat and inhibiting fat breakdown to maintain body weight .
Keeping insulin levels within a standard range is critical. Chronically elevated insulin levels may lead to insulin resistance, where cells stop responding appropriately to insulin.
Human and animal studies indicate that this may lead to the impairment of hunger and fullness hormones, excessive fat uptake by organs like the liver, and compromised metabolism (
Hormones And Weight Gain: The Story You Arent Told
Im sure youve heard that losing, gaining, or maintaining weight is a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out. But what if I told you that this isnt actually true. Although calories are important, hormones can override the calorie equation and prevent you from losing weight. If this wasnt the case then certain medications wouldnt lead to weight gain. The prime example of this is Cortisone. Cortisone is the synthetic form of cortisol, your long term stress hormone, and often used to treat asthma. One of the known side affects of Cortisone is weight gain. Now if calories were the only thing involved in weight, then that cortisone pill would have to be packed with a bucket of KFC to cause such weight gain.
Our most basic desire is survival. During our evolutionary days, the amount of stored energy that we had directly correlated with how long we could survive during a threatening situation, such as a famine. Fat storage was therefore an essential bodily function. Your body controls all of your essential bodily functions without you needing to think about them. Although you have a certain element of control over them like altering your breathing or holding your breath your body will always have the superior power. If you hold your breath for too long then youll pass out, but your survival mechanisms will kick in and youll start breathing again.
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High Blood Sugar Levels
Its normal for blood sugar levels to rise when you eat high-carb foods. But you may have insulin resistance if your blood sugar levels are always elevated.
Insulin is the hormone that helps transfer blood sugar into the cells. The cells tend to become insulin resistant when exposed to too much insulin for long, this leads to high blood sugar.
High blood sugar levels can cause weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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What Are The Signs Of Hormone Imbalance
Hormone levels naturally change at various points during every persons life, including puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and more. Additionally, underlying conditions, certain medications, and other factors can impact hormone levels. Because the hormones play such a major role in the regulation of so many important physiologic processes, hormone imbalance can cause a number of frustrating and disruptive symptoms, including:
- Weight gain
- Loss of bone and/or muscle mass
- Hair loss
- Low libido
These Hormone Tests Will Give You A Clear Insight Into Your Well
You’ve tried each and every trick in the book to lose weight but it all seems in vain. Especially if you are a woman–you are bound to be more vulnerable to slow metabolism, food cravings and hormonal changes throughout your life. So everything from PMSing to pregnancy, menopause to daily stress could take you through a variety of ups and downs, courtesy your hormones.
Research has also revealed that appetite, weight-loss, metabolism and female hormones are all closely linked. So, if you can’t find a happy solution to your weight gain, it is probably because of your skewed hormonal balance.
Therefore, you may want to get these 6 hormones tested before losing all hope:
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Science Explains How Unbalanced Hormones Can Make You Gain Weight
Many things can cause you to gain weight, but have you ever considered that your unbalanced hormones may be the culprit? Your hormones have a significant impact on your entire body, and many people dont realize the significant part they play in their overall weight. Think about it hormones can cause you to have a low mood, can make you feel tired all the time, and they can even lower your libido.
Is it such a far stretch to think that they can also cause you to gain weight? You must be careful and not lay too much blame on your hormones because the most common reason a person is overweight is that they overeat. St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center did a study with other New York area hospitals that found that your calorie intake is the biggest culprit in weight gain.
Conversely, its interesting to note that having unbalanced hormones can hinder you from losing weight, which is mostly observed in women. During menstruation, ladies often go through various hormonal fluctuations because of their cycle, which men dont encounter. That doesnt mean that men dont have issues with their hormones.
Men can deal with hormonal weight gain when they dont get enough sleep, drink too much alcohol, have poor nutrition, or their genetics dictate.