Balance These Hormones And Start Losing Weight

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on April 24, 2019

Dieting has become the number one trend for weight loss, yet many people fail to achieve their desired results even after following multiple diets. Many people tend to add some exercise to burn through their calories faster, but still end up losing insignificant amounts of weight.

Then there is a group of people who lose some weight, but quickly gains back what they have lost in a relatively short time. All of this can be quite frustrating and quickly lead to a person giving up on their dream of having a slender and healthier body.

The body is extremely complex. There are many systems, organs, tissues – and, on a smaller scale, cells, that need to work together, communicate effectively, and still perform their own functions for the body to survive. A lot of people do not understand that problems with certain systems in the body can make losing weight seem almost impossible – and the endocrine system is an excellent example.

The endocrine system is responsible for secreting hormones. Many hormones are known to have an effect on metabolism, fat storage, energy expenditure, and other factors that may contribute to either weight gain or weight loss. Here, we take a look at important hormones that should be taken into consideration when it comes to weight loss, as well as strategies that can assist in balancing these hormones for faster weight reduction.

Leptin

The first hormone we want to target is leptin – because the amount of food that a person consumes has a significant impact on how much weight they would gain or lose. Leptin is often referred to as a satiety hormone since the hormone is responsible for signaling satiety in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that plays a role in hunger.

Leptin is a hormone that is released by fat content in the human body. The higher levels of leptin rise, the less hungry a person would be. At the same time, however, it is crucial to understand that this does not mean the more fat that is present in the body, the less hungry a person would be. One study (1) found that the body eventually becomes resistant to leptin, which means the hormone is eventually unable to effectively transmit the messages of satiety toward the brain, or, more specifically, the hypothalamus. Thus, the more a person eats, the less sensitive their body eventually becomes to this hormone.

The good news is, there are ways to increase the body’s sensitivity to leptin and help to reduce the resistance. For example, diets that contain too many carbs are known to contribute to leptin resistance. It is also important to avoid refined carbs as much as possible. Studies (2) have found that diets that are higher in protein, as well as healthy fat contents, can assist in reducing the resistance that the body has against leptin and make the body more sensitive to the hormone.

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is kind of the opposite of what leptin is. This is another hormone that plays a crucial factor in overall food intake. While an increase in leptin hormones will lead to satiety, ghrelin rather stimulates a person’s appetite, leading to an increase in hunger. The hormone itself is known to have an effect on the pleasure sensors on the brain. This particular hormone is known to play a role in more than just hunger – it plays a role in how much a person eats, how long they would chew food, and their taste preferences.

Ghrelin is a very complex hormone, as studies have discovered that it is not only food intake that may actually have an effect on ghrelin levels. While consuming food is sure to reduce levels of ghrelin due to satisfying the hormone through food intake, one study (3) discovered that a mindset that feels satisfied with a specific food item that was consumed leads to a more significant reduction in ghrelin compared to a mindset that is not satisfied with the food that a person has consumed.

Individuals who are struggling to lose weight might want to stop following fad diets. It has been found that chronic dieting can cause a disruption in various hormones that play a role in the metabolic processes – including ghrelin.

Furthermore, according to a study (4) by Stanford University, poor sleep may also lead to an elevation in ghrelin levels. Thus, when a person does not ensure they sleep enough, then they are more likely to feel hungry more often. They will also be more likely to overeat when they do consume food.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends a minimum of seven hours’ sleep per night for adults to stay healthy and functional (5).

Cortisol

Often called the body’s stress hormone, cortisol is released when the body is under stress – both physical and psychological stress can cause the body to release this particular hormone. This is yet another hormone with a very complex relation to weight management – it can both cause weight gain, and it can lead to weight reduction. It is, however, important to understand how the hormone works for a better balance.

When exercising, cortisol is released due to the presence of adrenaline, as well as human growth hormone, which is both released through intensive training sessions, as well as exercises like cardiovascular training. This causes an enzyme known as hormone-sensitive lipase to active in the body, ultimately leading to fat being released and used as energy in the body.

On the other hand, when in a fed state, cortisol will rather turn into a hormone that causes fat storage. When a person has consumed a carbohydrate-rich meal, insulin is released. Together, these two hormones cause fat to be stored in the body. This action is primarily achieved through activation of an enzyme known as lipoprotein lipase.

One of the best ways to utilize cortisol as a fat burning hormone is to exercise. Intense exercise that lasts for short periods is usually considered beneficial. This will allow all essential hormones to be released in the body for excess fat to be burnt.

It is also important that a person implements appropriate steps to manage their stress levels effectively. There are many ways in which stress can be reduced, ranging from yoga and meditation to massages and even a hot bath with some essential oils.

It should also be noted, and as with ghrelin, the body requires adequate sleep for cortisol levels to be balanced. When a person lacks sleep, the body releases cortisol as it is placed under excessive stress (6).

Thyroid Hormones

The Thyroid releases two important hormones, including triiodothyronine and thyroxine. These hormones both play a role in the body’s metabolism. When the Thyroid is able to release adequate amounts of these hormones, then it becomes easier to burn off excess calories, as a steady pace in metabolism can be maintained. When Thyroid hormones start to become low, however, metabolism may slow down significantly. This can then lead to weight gain, instead of weight loss – even when implementing appropriate steps to reduce a person’s weight.

There are quite a large number of factors that can affect the Thyroid gland and its ability to release these two important hormones. For example, people who do not sleep long enough or experience poor overall sleep quality may be at risk of reduced Thyroid hormone levels in their body. Stress can also implicate the Thyroid gland and cause a reduced number of hormones in the bloodstream.

Studies (7) have also found that people who are constantly following diets that cause them to restrict their caloric intake significantly tend to experience a weakening of their Thyroid gland’s ability to produce and release both thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Thus, while creating a caloric deficit for weight loss to be possible is appropriate, daily caloric intake should not be significantly suppressed, as this may cause problems with the Thyroid gland.

Human Growth Hormone

Also known as HGH or sometimes the human body’s own anti-aging hormone, human growth hormone is one of the most common hormones associated with positive results when it comes to reducing body weight. The hormone is also known to assist in building lean muscle mass, as well as contribute to physical and muscle. The hormone does more than this – it also helps to assist in the repairing of tissue that has been damaged, especially in the musculoskeletal system.

Unfortunately, with age, the level of human growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland starts to decline naturally. As levels of the hormone decline, it may become harder for a person to lose weight effectively.

There are various methods that can be implemented to increase human growth hormone levels. While it is possible to utilize a prescription injection, many people are opting for more “natural” methods.

A study (8) by the Washington University School of Medicine found that quality sleep can help to promote the release of human growth hormone. Thus, if a person gets their full seven to nine hours of sleep every night, they are already helping their body produce more of this hormone.

Another study (9) found that intermittent fasting may have quite a significant role to play in the release of human growth hormone. After studying the effects of intermittent fasting, it was found that in some people, the release of human growth hormone may be elevated by as much as 2,000% with an appropriate intermittent fasting plan in place. This is definitely something to be taken into consideration since intermittent fasting has a number of additional benefits to play in the human body – and may even contribute to the balancing of other hormones as well.

Furthermore, a study (10) by Brunel University in the United Kingdom also discovered that exercise could be exceptionally beneficial for the release of human growth hormone in the body. They found that certain types of exercises may help to increase the number of these hormones that the pituitary gland secrets, ultimately leading to improvements in body composition – primarily a reduction in body fat and an increase in the development of lean muscle mass.

Apart from these tips, it should be noted that protein should play an important role in a person’s diet if they are looking to maintain an adequate level of human growth hormone. The protein may assist in helping the body secrete more of this hormone and could also reduce the effects that age has on the hormone.

Conclusion

An imbalance in hormones within the body can lead to a number of adverse reactions, including weight gain and difficulty shedding excess pounds. Understanding the hormones that may assist in weight loss when balanced is important for the average person struggling to shed their excess weight, as well as what strategies can be used to get these hormones back into balance.

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793
(2) https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/82/1/41/4863422
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21574706
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15602591
(5) https://www.sleepfoundation.org/excessive-sleepiness/support/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9415946
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2341229
(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC297368/
(9) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/imc-sfr033111.php
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12797841

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