Hormones That Affect Weight Control

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Hormones-That-Affect-Weight-ControlHormones impact many aspects of your life, your mood, your metabolism, energy level and your weight. Hormones fluctuate over the course of your life as you go from puberty to adulthood and eventually menopause.

If you have stubborn weight that just won’t come off, you may be able to change that by bringing your hormones into balance. These are the hormones that affect weight loss and weight gain:

Estrogen – Estrogen is responsible for the development of female sexual characteristics and the fat deposits in a woman’s breasts and hips. Later in life during menopause, levels of hormones tend to decrease, especially estrogen and progesterone. While both are decreasing, if progesterone levels fall lower than estrogen levels, estrogen dominance occurs.

Too much estrogen relative to your progesterone levels (estrogen dominance) leads to weight gain as your body stores more fat around your waist, hips and thighs. Estrogen dominance is also affected by exposure to environmental estrogens, estrogen mimicking chemicals like pesticides, hormones in animal products, and even plastics used in food storage. These pseudo estrogens are known as “endocrine disruptors” as they adversely affect hormone production and release.

Cortisol – Cortisol controls your body’s response to stress. Unfortunately, in our modern world we are bombarded with a constant stream of stressors that increase the production and release of cortisol in our bodies. Excess cortisol levels increased your risk of heart disease, and also promotes storage of visceral (belly) fat around your internal organs.

Under normal conditions, cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy in a truly stressful or dangerous situation. Excess cortisol stimulates excess insulin release which reduces blood sugar leading to an increase in appetite resulting in cravings for sweet, high-fat and salty foods.

Leptin – Leptin is produced by your body’s fat cells and its function is to signal your brain (the hypothalamus) that you are satiated, or pleasantly full. Today’s modern diet is loaded with fructose, found in many processed foods and fast foods.

When you consume excess fructose, your body converts and stores it as fat. Too much sugar promotes excess insulin and cortisol which then promotes an excess of leptin. Too much leptin over time leads to leptin resistance. Your body can no longer tell if you’re full and you may continue eating resulting in weight gain.

Insulin – The hormone insulin is produced by your pancreas and helps regulate glucose (blood sugar) in your body. Several things happen if you eat too much sugar and produce too much insulin. Insulin binds to and carries sugar from your bloodstream into your tissues and cells, if there is too much sugar, it is converted and stored as fat.

A constant supply of sugar also causes a constant supply (overproduction) of insulin and over time, your body no longer responds to insulin. This insulin resistance will leave an excess of sugar which is then stored as fat, adding weight daily.

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, your hormones may be to blame.

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