Can Hormonal Imbalance Cause Weight Gain?
How Do Hormones Affect Weight Gain?
If you have been experiencing weight gain, the cause could be attributed to hormonal imbalances in the body. Hormonal imbalances lead to increased risk of weight gain and reduced rate of healthy weight loss. On the other hand, when our hormone levels are balanced, the body tends to be in a balanced state of what is called ‘homeostasis’ (equilibrium).
Hormones influence the body’s metabolism (metabolism is the rate at which the body converts kilojoules into energy) and influence our appetite, hunger and sensations of fullness. Hormones impact the frequency and intensity of hunger pangs as well as the way in which the body is able to process, burn and utilize food energy.
In fact, hormones affect a trio of critically important factors called ‘HEC’ (Hunger, Energy, Cravings); if even one of these is out of sync, chances are that you will experience weight gain.
Leptin and ghrelin are two key hormones that affect appetite (and, consequentially, weight gain). The hormone leptin is secreted by fat cells in our bodies and controls how the body manages its store of fat. Inadequate levels of leptin leads to increased sensation of hunger pangs and impaired fat storage. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is secreted in the lining of the stomach and increases hunger pangs.
A malfunctioning thyroid is also a common cause for unexplained weight gain, especially in women.
Insulin and glucagon are other weight-impacting hormones that are secreted by the pancreas. Insulin is responsible for controlling glucose levels in the body by redirecting glucose into the cells. An imbalance in the insulin levels leads to impaired absorption of glucose and a spike in blood sugar levels.
Unutilized glucose gets accumulated as fat and leads to weight gain. Glucagon is responsible for inducing feelings of fullness after a meal. Low levels of glucagon may lead to excessive food intake.
Low Testosterone Levels and Weight Gain
Impaired levels of testosterone may also impact fat levels, bone density and cause weight gain. Inadequate levels of testosterone leads to reduced bone density and increase in fat levels. According to Dr Abraham Morgentaler, MD, Associate Clinical Professor for Urology at Harvard Medical School, testosterone has a profound impact on metabolism rate.
The good news is that hormones give us excellent feedback because we are able to ‘feel’ sensations of hunger, energy and fullness.
The other important fact to bear in mind is that there are no set rules for hormone levels. This is an individualized criterion for each person and the ‘right’ hormone levels vary across individuals depending on factors like age, gender, body type and so on.
Bio-Identical Hormonal Therapy (BHRT) is a specialized medical treatment designed to restore balance and hormonal synergy in the body. This form of therapy involves the use of medication that is derived from plant extracts like wild yam. The unique property of BHRT pellets is that they use the same chemical structure of the hormones in our body.
Bio-Identical Hormonal Therapy has the potential to stimulate lipid oxidation and improve insulin response, thus aiding healthy weight loss.