Hormones & Your Weight Gain Saga

They are called as chemical messengers of the body. Hormones as they are called are important substances secreted by vital organs which govern several developments in the body which are observed towards the end of childhood and the beginning of fresh youth.

While hormonal changes bring about increase in fat mass in the females, they cause an increase in muscle mass in the males. The growth in fat mass in females brought about as a result of hormones of adolescence is mainly accumulated in the gluteal, hip, waist & chest regions. This is to facilitate the dormant reproductive functions in females when they reach adulthood. Hence, often these hormonal changes when compounded with erratic eating habits, gluttony & poor physical activity among adolescent males as well as females can cause considerable weight gain much early in life.

There are several hormones which play an active role in causing weight in both males & females during their adulthood & middle ages. Let us take a look at all the hormones responsible for causing weight gain in humans throughout their lifespan.

Estrogen

Estrogen is the female reproductive hormone which helps in the development of secondary sexual characteristics in females during adolescence. The production is regulated towards the end of adolescence. However, some food or environmental triggers can cause an increase in estrogen production in the body and it can go unregulated. High estrogen levels in females can result in severe weight issues since it’s a hormone responsible for gaining fat mass.

Restricting intake of soya products, alcoholic beverages and increasing intake of cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts can help lessen estrogen levels.

Insulin

It’s an essential anabolic hormone responsible for regulation of blood glucose levels. Insulin plays a role in making body cells utilize circulating blood glucose or else if body cells are optimum in their glucose stores, it converts extra glucose or carbohydrates into fat mass in the body. Often, diabetes is followed by weight gain or vice versa due to the inefficient secretion of insulin.

Controlling intake of carbohydrate & fat rich foods, increasing fiber intake & supplementing exercise regime in daily routine helps in stabilizing insulin levels.

Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in response to physiological or psychological stressors. They are responsible for increasing insulin levels in the body & hence increase appetite. Changes in the secretion of Cortisol levels can lead to weight gain.

Regularize sleep timings on a daily basis. Cortisol levels are secreted minimum in the evening hours; however, engaging in long hours of work past midnight and erratic sleeping habits can disrupt Cortisol secretion, leading to weight gain. Practice deep breathing, relaxation methods, personal hobbies and manage stress effectively.

Leptin

Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells in the body in response to increased fat stores. It is called satiety hormone since it signals the brain to cease food intake in view of adequate fat stores. When there is leptin resistance, the brain is unable to get the satiety signal leading to weight gain.

Reducing intake of the inflammation inducing foods such as processed & preserved foods, artificial foods with additives, a regular habit of proper sleep & exercise can help reverse leptin resistance.