Last month’s blog explained the other reasons for weight gain besides too many calories. One of those was hormonal imbalance. As a follow-up, here is a further look at the particular hormones that regulate hunger, fat storage, and metabolism. Get to know your weight management hormones!
The hormones in your body affecting hunger, fat storage, and metabolism, work together as a precise system. When one hormone is unbalanced, many follow suit, causing weight gain.
Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and it sends messages to the brain of hunger. It is the appetite-stimulating hormone and rises before meals with levels decreasing after. So, it would seem a solution for weight gain would be decreasing this hormone. Because hormones work together, this cannot be a fix. In fact, dieting can send hunger signals, making decreasing calories very difficult.
This hormone is produced in the pancreas, so how does it affect weight management? Insulin is secreted throughout the day and it promotes glucose to make energy. But it also has the purpose of being the fat storage hormone, relaying messages to store fat rather than converting into energy. While also necessary, this resistance can build and develop unhealthy fat accumulation.
Also produced in the pancreas is glucagon. While insulin is released when blood sugar levels are high, glucagon is released when glucose levels are too low. That’s why it is important these two are balanced because they work together. Any imbalance will lead to a yo-yo effect, contributingto the wrong signals being sent to the brain.
While insulin and glucagon balance each other, leptin works with grehlin. Leptin is produced by adipose or ‘fat’ cells and it regulates energy use by inhibiting hunger. Unfortunately, like with grehlin, this hormone cannot be the simple solution for weight loss. In fact, when calories are decreased, this starvation hormone will send the signals to the body to produce more fat in order to survive.
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, with highest peaks in the early morning, and decreasing throughout the day. But, during times of stress, levels do increase, leading it to being called the ‘stress’ hormone. This steroid hormone does have the purpose of protecting the liver
and reducing inflammation, however when the brain signals stress, it reacts by overproducing for survival situations, which leads to eating too much.
This is the hormone that tells the body to use fat for fuel. The more adiponectin in your bloodstream, the more fat you will burn. However, the more body fat there is, the lower the level of adiponectin. This hormone might need an extra push for regulation by increasing magnesium, if levels are low.
But with all these hormones, the best regulation practice is eating good food, such as protein, fruits and vegetables. Processed foods and sweets should be avoided. Important also, is good sleep of 7-9 hours and plenty of exercise. Eliminating stress and keeping your body on a schedule is also best for optimal hormone function.