Hormones aren’t just for controlling sexual desire and characteristics, hormones affect your weight, too. Your body has a wide variety of other hormones that keep it functioning at its best. In fact, there’s a huge link between the right balance of hormones and your health. Hormones influence all bodily functions from how much energy you have to how much fat you store. Even your brain health depends on the right balance of hormones. You probably already realize that a low production of thyroid hormone will make you gain weight or too much estrogen can pack on the pounds. There are other hormones that affect weight gain.
Insulin is an important hormone for many functions that affect weight.
Insulin plays a role in metabolism. It helps the body create complex molecules. It signals the cells to take in glucose—blood sugar—for energy. That keeps your cells healthy and nourished while keeping your blood sugar levels normal. When you eat too much sugar, a high amounts of insulin is released. If this continues, over time, the cells become insulin resistant, which means they don’t open, leaving sugar in the blood. It can cause weight gain and problems digesting carbs. Since there’s a high amount of sugar in the blood, the body releases even more insulin and eventually the vicious cycle causes Type II diabetes.
Stress triggers the production of cortisol, which can cause the accumulation of abdominal fat.
Visceral fat—belly fat—is not only the hardest to lose, it’s the unhealthiest type to have since it presses on internal organs. Unresolved stress, stress that isn’t followed by fighting or running, which burns off the hormones created by stress, is associated with not only the accumulation of visceral fat, but also heart disease. Two ways to help combat stress are exercise and meditation. Stress burns off the hormones and resets you to normal. Meditation also helps reduce stress, but can be beneficial in preventing you from feeling stressed.
HGH—human growth hormone—helps build muscle tissue.
HGH is often considered the antiaging hormone. As you age, it’s production can slow. It’s responsible for body fluids, bone growth, fat metabolism, regulating body composition, sugar metabolism and even heart function. It’s made in the pituitary gland. Since it helps control the metabolism of fat to use as energy and the development of muscle tissue, it’s important to weight control, too. One way to increase HGH naturally is with exercise. Intense exercise, such as HIIT—high intensity interval training—and a healthy diet can boost your body’s HGH and act like a fountain of youth.
- Serotonin can affect weight gain. It is a hormone that helps with mood regulation, sleep cycles, memory, appetite and specific muscular functions. If you have low levels you might experience depression, insomnia and weight gain.
- Another sleep-promoting hormone is Melatonin. It only works in total darkness. It not only counteracts stress, it also is an antioxidant. Lower levels are linked to cancer, obesity and diabetes. Restrictive nightwear and lack of complete darkness can reduce melatonin levels by as much as 60%.
- While testosterone is a male sex hormone, it has other functions and women even have it. It aids in building muscle tissue, which also boosts your metabolism.
- High amounts of estrogen or an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen can cause weight gain.