Hormones And Weight Loss

30 Jan, 2021 | Dr. Malik | No Comments

Hormones And Weight Loss

If you had a New Year’s resolution at the start of the year, it’s probably being tested right now. Luckily, the year is still young, and there is plenty of time to get back on track! Persistence and consistency will help you reach your goals. 

If weight loss was part of your New Year’s resolutions, this month’s article might interest you. We are well aware that maintaining a good diet, and exercising regularly can help with weight loss. But there is a third overlooked factor that can also help, and that is your hormones.

If weight loss was part of your New Year’s resolutions, this month’s article might interest you. We are well aware that maintaining a good diet, and exercising regularly can help with weight loss. But there is a third overlooked factor that can also help, and that is your hormones. 

Hormones are chemicals secreted within the body by the endocrine system, that help regulate the chemistry within the body. Their influence on the body is incredible, and can include blood pressure regulation, sleep, mood and even fat accumulation. 

As for digestion, hormones can control appetite, insulin production, fat storage, satiety, energy expenditure and more. The levels of hormone production can vary throughout the day, and can be affected by what we eat, and how we move. 

Here are some of the more common hormones related to weight gain,  and their effect on the body: 

  • Leptin: This is a hormone released by the fatty tissues after a meal. Leptin tells the brain when fat storage levels are sufficient in the body. This decreases our appetite, helping to eat less. If leptin levels are low, the brain interprets this as starvation, and signals it is time to eat
  •  
  • Ghrelin: This hormone tells the brain that the body is hungry and to seek out food. 
  •  
  • Cortisol: This is well known as the ‘stress-hormone’. Cortisol peaks in the morning and reduces throughout the day. Cortisol causes breakdown of muscles and promotes accumulation of fat in the body. Prolonged stress in the form of working from home, being in a pandemic, or using technology throughout the day can increase stress, which can cause an increase in cortisol levels. This results in more fat accumulation.  
  •  
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland which in turn stimulates IGF-1 that breaks down fat to use as energy
  •  
  • Insulin: This hormone is well known, it helps to regulate the blood sugar levels in the body. Insulin converts sugar to fat and muscle tissue. An increase in body weight makes cells in the body more resistant to insulin. The body compensates by producing more insulin, which causes an increase in fat storage. Hence, increased body weight can cause a further increase in fat storage.
  •  
  • Thyroid Hormones (T3 and T4): These hormones can be thought of as the thermostat of the body, regulating body temperature and function. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause increased fatigue, weight gain, a puffy face and muscle aches. 
  •  
  • Irisin: There are two types of fat in the body: brown fat and white fat. White fat accumulates in the body and acts as insulation, helping to keep you warm. Brown fat helps to maintain temperature when the body is cold. It produces heat and burns more calories as compared to white fat. Irisin helps to convert white fat into brown fat. People who are sedentary tend to have lower levels of Irisin, compared to people who exercise. It is thought that increasing activity helps produce more irisin, resulting in more brown fat, which in turn can help burn more calories, leading to weight loss.  

Source: Men’s Magazine: Hack Your Fat Hormones 

As you can see, there is a cascade of chemical pathways that are triggered by hormones. How can someone take advantage of these chemical pathways to maximize their weight loss goals? Here are a few tips that might help. Before changing your diet or lifestyle,  we recommend consulting with a Naturopathic Doctor and Registered Dietitian to determine which process is right for you: 

  • – Eating higher amounts of protein can help reduce ghrelin level. This can help you feel full faster. 
  •  
  • – Keeping the phone away, especially before bed, can help reduce cortisol levels. Meditation and mindfulness apps are great at relaxing the mind and the body throughout the day. 
  •  
  • – Avoid eating foods two hours before bed, this will help to reduce HGH levels, which in turn can help reduce fat deposits. 
  •  
  • – Avoiding sugary foods, and eating foods with a low glycemic index can help prevent insulin spikes, which can help prevent diabetes and improve weight loss. 
  •  
  • – Nuts and fish, especially tuna can help increase thyroid production, which in turn can help normalize metabolic function 
  •  
  • – An increase in exercise, especially HIIT workouts can help increase Irisin levels, leading to an increase in brown fat content in the body. 

The body is a complex and interconnected machine. This is why it takes a multi-factor approach to help manage healthy weight loss. 

Our clinic is pleased to offer a weight-loss program directed by our Registered Dietitian and Naturopathic Doctors. If you are interested in learning more about this program, please email us at clinic@muscleandjoint.ca or click the link below. 

Wishing you and your family the best of health!

Dr Malik

Positive SSL