How To Get Cortisol Under Control
Tips for maintaining healthy, balanced cortisol levels include the following:
- Consider what relaxes you. Is it meditation? A walk in the park? A bubble bath? Engaging in a creative project? Find what relieves stress for you, and integrate it into your daily routine.
- Exercise regularly, and give yoga a try if its not already part of your workout regimen. The synchronized breathwork that accompanies a nice, flowing vinyasa routine calms the nervous system and reduces cortisol all while giving your body and mind a thorough workout.
- Listen to your favorite music. A 2011 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that patients who listened to instrumental music during surgery had lower cortisol levels than a control group.
- Get enough sleep at night. Have you ever noticed how easily stressed and anxious you become on days when youre sleep deprived? This happens because during a night of deep, restorative sleep, your body is working to balance all hormones, including cortisol. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine explored how sleep deprivation impacted helicopter pilots on a 7-day emergency medical duty. Findings suggested it was sleep deprivation not the act of emergency medical care that elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels.
What Does Hormonal Weight Gain Look Like
Since hormonal weight gain is different from weight gain due to excess caloric intake, its symptoms are also distinctive. While body weight and fat are distributed equally in weight gain due to excess caloric intake, people with hormonal weight gain usually notice increased weight around specific body parts, such as the waist, arms, thighs, chest, and lower body.
Estrogen & Progesterone: What Do They Do
Even though both men and women produce these sex hormones, I’m going to focus on how estrogen and progesterone affect women.
Progesterone is a key hormone that helps to maintain and regulate menstruation as well as maintain pregnancy, particularly through the early stages. Every time a woman ovulates, progesterone steps in to prepare her body for pregnancy. If she does not become pregnant, the lining of her uterus breaks down and begins her cycle all over again. This is extremely simplified, but it’s at the crux of what this hormone does.
Estrogen is responsible for a woman’s secondary sex characteristics, including breast development, widening of the hips, and the development of pubic and armpit hair. Like progesterone, one of the big roles of estrogen is to help regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. Estrogen is also a key player in bone strength and mood regulation.
These hormones fluctuate, sometimes wildly, throughout a woman’s life – with surges through puberty and steep drop-offs through menopause. There is also a lot of variability through perimenopause , which can affect weight gain, fat storage, mood, and bone strength, to name a few.
What can you do to maintain healthy estrogen & progesterone levels?
After menopause, however, estrogen and progesterone decline. The decline in these hormones triggers the migration of fat from the hips and thighs to the abdomen – also known as the “middle-age spread.”
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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.
Symptoms Of Hormonal Weight Gain
The most common symptom of hormonal imbalance is weight gain, which may lead to:
- Sexual dysfunction
So, consult a doctor if you face any of the above symptoms and go for a routine hormonal check-up for proper management.
Lets answer another common question that people have about hormonal weight gain.
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What Happens To Your Body When You Have A Hormonal Imbalance
Weight gain is common with hormone imbalances. Women may start to see pounds pile around their middle, and men find it harder to build muscle while fat accrues. Hunger is uncontrollable at times. Physical symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, and increased sensitivity to temperature.
What You Need To Know About Leptin Resistance
When your body becomes resistant to leptin, leptin levels become too high. In fact, overweight individuals who get their leptin levels tested typically find their leptin levels to be as high as four times the normal level. Whats more, its really difficult to balance leptin levels once theyve become resistant.
With leptin resistance, communication between the brain and leptin is impaired, so that your brain doesnt understand that its full, and tells your body to keep eating. Its as if your brain thinks youre starving when in reality, youre just leptin resistant.
To reverse leptin resistance or prevent it from happening to you in the first place, lets talk food, drink, and supplements. Everything in your body impacted by what you put into it, and leptins no different. Sugar, in particular, can cause leptin levels in your body to skyrocket, so youll want to eat less sugar. Other ways to prevent or reduce leptin resistance include:
- Committing to a regular exercise routine
- Getting truly restorative sleep on a regular basis
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Signs Your Hormones Are Causing Weight Gain
Several different factors can cause belly fat, including gender, age, dietary habits and amounts of physical exercise and hormonal misfiring. So how can you tell if hormones are the cause of your abdominal weight gain? While you can look out for some signs, its important to discuss any of your questions with a doctor to identify the root cause. Sometimes its not always so obvious and can vary from person to person.
Here are a few warning signs and symptoms you can look out for to help identify the cause of your belly fat:
Hormones Incidental In Weight Gain
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, hormones can control everything from metabolism and energy levels to growth and development. Hormones play a role in weight, experts told USA TODAY but they are not the primary driver of weight gain, as the post claims.
Dr. Artur Viana, clinical director of the Metabolic Health & Weight Loss Program at Yale University, said that while hormones are involved in obesity, they are not the sole cause. Robert Lustig, professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco, told USA TODAY theres an ongoing debate in the nutrition field over the extent to which hormones contribute to obesity.
Is obesity a problem of energy balance, or is obesity a problem of energy storage? he said. If its a problem of energy balance, its all about calories. If its about energy storage, then the question is: Whats storing it? And the answer is one of two hormones: insulin and cortisol.
For example, when blood sugar rises, the hormone insulin goes up, allowing sugar to exit the blood and enter cells where it is needed. But when cells receive more sugar than they need, fat begins to accumulate. However, insulin itself doesn’t cause weight gain.
Lustig’s recommendation for people looking to lose weight is simple: Stop eating sugar.
Thats numbers one, two and three, he said. Get rid of the sugar, get rid of the sugar, get rid of the sugar.
Contact Synergy Wellness Center To Schedule A Medical Weight Loss Consultation
At Synergy Wellness Center, we understand that sometimes hormones and belly fat go hand-in-hand. We can help you treat and reset your hormones to help you start losing hormonal weight*. We offer personalized weight loss plans designed especially for you and your needs to help you live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you lose hormonal belly fat.
Hormones And Womens Weight
Since hormones regularly fluctuate in women and since those fluctuations can cause a variety of symptoms Davis said that hormones are often implicated when other health problems arise, sometimes without justification.
Some hormone-related disorders can cause weight changes. Hyperthyroidism, for example, occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine, according to the Mayo Clinic. That can result in weight loss or gain.
But that doesn’t establish hormones as a driving factor for all weight gain.
Pregnant women also gain weight in part due to the release of hormones that encourage fat deposits, Davis said. But she said pregnancy is not a womans general state, and therefore the rich hormonal milieu of pregnancy cant be implicated in all weight gain, either.
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Hormones That Can Cause Your Fatigue Weight Gain And Mood Changes
Something we know for sure is this we all have hormones. These chemical messengers in your body are sent to your organs and tissues to perform a certain function. The communication that happens between your hormones and organs control major metabolic processes within your body, such as mood, energy, weight, temperature regulation and even digestion. An imbalance in these little guys are often what causes us to look at our health a little more closely, because its only until they are not working optimally that we remember we even have them.
Well discuss some of the most common hormone imbalances we see in our patients. Sometimes when you identify one hormone imbalance, you may find that it could be linked to another hormone imbalance, giving you the pieces of the puzzle you have been looking for!
What you may experience with suboptimal thyroid:
- Feeling tired and exhausted
- Feelings of coldness in hands and feet
- Thin/scanty eyebrows
- Thinning, dry and brittle hair
- Scattered brain
What you may experience with an imbalance in cortisol:
- Poor stress response
What you may experience when insulin resistance is present:
Engage In Regular Exercise
Creating an exercise routine and sticking with it can be a significant lifestyle change for some and can take some getting used to. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , you should aim for 150 minutes of weekly, moderate-intensity activity for optimal body function. Exercise is excellent for keeping your hormones in check. If youre searching for tips on how to lose hormonal fat, exercise is the perfect opportunity to burn belly fat and calories.
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How Does The Stress Hormone Cortisol Sabotage Weight Loss
How is this overproduction of cortisol related to weight gain? First of all, heightened cortisol is linked to overeating. Ever notice how you eat when youre stressed? A study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology found that higher than normal cortisol levels were linked to overeating and weight gain. Another study links elevated cortisol levels to an increase in belly fat.
Get Sufficient Sleep For Faster Weight Loss
It may not seem like it, but while youre sleeping your body is busy doing the most important work for your well-being. Heres what I mean
You see, in order to reset your weight loss hormones your body needs time for R& R .
Rest and Repair cant occur when youre awake because youre already busy thinking, executing, planning and eating.
So, your sleep hours are when your body puts all the good stuff the smoothies, anti-inflammatory foods and supplements to use.
Give yourself enough sleep time every night, so that your body can do the hard work for you.
Thats hard work that you wont have to worry about
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Thyroid: What Does It Do
Thyroid is a combination of T3 and T4 hormones that help to maintain resting metabolic rate . Thyroid hormones are released from your thyroid gland under the direction of another hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone which is released from your pituitary gland. TSH acts as the regulator for how much T3 and T4 your body should release to function. It’s also worth noting that TSH gets its orders to move into action from another hormone in the hypothalamus called thyrotropin-releasing hormone .
Both T3 and T4 help to regulate body weight, muscular strength, body temperature, digestion as well as memory and mood.
What can you do to manage healthy thyroid levels?
Because thyroid is so strongly associated with weight gain, many people automatically turn to the foods they should eat or the foods they should avoid in an effort to maintain healthy function. But thyroid hormone weight gain is related to much more than just the foods you should or shouldn’t eat. Here are a few other things you can do:
Relying On Two Types Of Feedback
The researchers experiments and computer modeling indicated that the system must rely on two types of positive feedback fast and slow to enable precursor cells to ignore the normal rise and fall of glucocorticoids, as well as short daytime pulses, yet respond to long pulses. Their work had previously found that a protein called CEBP-alpha provides fast positive feedback meaning PPAR-gamma activates CEBP-alpha, which in return activates PPAR-gamma, the cycle playing out over three hours. Additional studies identified a protein called FABP4 as a key slow positive-feedback regulator of PPAR-gamma. In this feedback loop, which takes 34 hours, PPAR-gamma activates FABP4, which in return activates PPAR-gamma. This allows PPAR-gamma to continue to build up in response to long pulses, despite its tendency to degrade.
They also found that no increase in fat occurred as long as they boosted glucocorticoids, delivered by injection, only during the normal circadian peak times even if they increased peak glucocorticoid levels fortyfold.
The link between food and glucocorticoids is not well-understood, Teruel said. Some of her newer experiments aim to understand how food, insulin and glucocorticoids are related.
Other Stanford co-authors of the study are former postdoctoral scholar Karen Tkach, PhD former visiting scholar Sabine van Schie, PhD and graduate student Mingyu Chung.
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Does Hormone Replacement Cause Weight Gain
You may have heard that there is a connection between testosterone pellets and weight gain. In almost all cases, this is caused by temporary water retention, which is often mistaken for weight gain.
Once your doctor has dialed in the exact amount of hormones you need, this side effect should dissipate and you should find that you feel slimmer and healthier than you did before.
If your dosage isnt right, you could experience weight gain. This is one of the reasons why its so important to receive treatment by a qualified professional and keep up with all of your follow-up appointments. Eventually, youll achieve optimal balance and reach a stable, healthy weight.
For best results, youll want to combine your hormone therapy with a healthy lifestyle that includes diet, exercise, and stress management. Doing so makes it more likely that youll eliminate all or most of your unpleasant symptoms and experience overall better well-being.
Pillar : The Inflammation
Women with hormone imbalances may also experience some level of chronic inflammation, usually due to physical or emotional stress that can be triggered by hormonal changes themselves. This in turn can lead to premature aging, autoimmunity, and other chronic illnesses that could develop into more serious health complications.
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Hormones That Affect Weight Gain
Some of the main hormones that control weight gain and weight loss are:
- Thyroid hormones
Were going to look at each of these hormones more closely in just a moment.
But before we dive in, its important to remember that these hormones are not BAD.
They are our allies and they play very important roles in the body.
However, when theyre out of balance, theres a ripple effect that can cause rapid weight issues.
So, with that out of the way, lets look at how each of these hormones impact our weight.
Is Your Weight Gain The Result Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Eating more calories than your body burns causes weight gain, right? Yes and no.
Though your calorie equation counts when it comes to your weight, its not the only factor that influences the number on your bathroom scale.
Many people gain weight as they get older. Though some of the extra weight may be due to a decrease in physical activity, your weight gain may also be the result of a hormonal imbalance.
Here at OnePeak Medical, our team of health experts understands the connection between health and hormones, especially when it comes to your weight. Thats why we offer hormone testing and therapy for men and women.
If youre gaining weight and dont know why it may be a hormonal imbalance.
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Supplements Are Here To Help
A healthy, balanced diet is often enough to manage almost anyones hormones. With todays diets, the right mix of nutrients is hard to come by. Thats why adding a supplement could be vital for hormone production. Supplements to consider include:
- Magnesium helps with testosterone, estrogen, and DHEA production.
- B vitamins are involved with everything including metabolism, mood, and much more.
- Vitamin D3 deficiencies may cause estrogen imbalance.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help produce hormones that cause blood clotting, inflammation, and reproduction.
- Iodine, which helps the thyroid with hormone production.
- Probiotics can also help. Gut health is vital for balanced hormones.
Supplements, in general, can improve hormone production but should be used under the recommendation of a nutritionist or doctor.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About A Hormonal Imbalance
If youre experiencing new, persistent symptoms, its important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can order tests to help determine the cause of your symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hormones are complex and powerful chemicals. If one or more of them goes out of whack, it can cause certain symptoms that make you feel like youre not in control of your body. If you have new and persistent symptoms, its important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can order some tests to see if a hormonal imbalance or another condition is the cause. The sooner you reach out for help and treatment, the sooner youll be able to feel like yourself again.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/04/2022.