How Hormone Imbalance Causes Weight Gain
September 27, 2023
The Connection Between Hormones and Weight Gain
Maintaining a healthy weight is something that a lot of people struggle with. More than two-thirds of adults in the US are overweight or obese. People who are looking for ways to manage their weight will find no shortage of diet plans and supplements that claim to hold the answer. However, a factor that is sometimes overlooked is the impact that various hormones can have on a person's weight.
The relationship between weight gain and hormones is complex and it can affect your body in a variety of ways. Hormones are chemical messengers that coordinate different functions in your body. Hormones control feelings of hunger and fullness, metabolism, and fat distribution, all of which can influence body weight. Even if you live a healthy lifestyle, watch what you eat, and get plenty of exercise, you can still gain weight for no obvious reason as a result of fluctuations in hormone levels. These changes can occur naturally due to aging or as a consequence of illness. In these cases, identifying and treating hormonal imbalance can be the missing key to getting your weight under control. Once you know which hormones to check, simple blood testing can get you started on finding the best way to address your weight.
Hormones That Affect Your Weight
Overweight people tend to have hormone levels that encourage the accumulation of body fat. The endocrine system continuously monitors hormone levels in your blood. When hormone levels go above or below a certain point it will instruct glands to stop or start releasing hormones. Since hormonal weight gain is linked to many types of imbalances, it can cause different symptoms. The symptoms you have depend on the hormones involved and whether you have too much or too little of it.
Knowing which hormones can impact your weight and how can help you find the information you need to correct imbalances that may be endangering your health.
Insulin: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates how the body absorbs sugar or glucose in the blood. When the glucose levels in the cells of your liver, and muscles are at capacity, the excess glucose is stored as body fat. This tells your pancreas to stop making insulin. People with type 2 diabetes tend to develop insulin resistance. They can't make good use of the insulin they produce, so blood glucose levels increase. As a result, the body sends excess glucose to fat cells, and the result is weight gain.
Leptin: The hormone leptin maintains the balance between your body’s food intake and energy use. It is produced by fat cells. Leptin's job is to alert the brain when energy stores in the liver and body fat decline. Leptin regulates hunger by providing the sensation of feeling full which reduces your urge to eat. When leptin levels are low, a person will feel hungry. Leptin deficiencies can cause obesity by causing a person to consume more food than they need. Leptin resistance is when a person experiences hunger even when their leptin levels are high which can also contribute to obesity.
Cortisol: Cortisol levels can also have an influence on weight gain. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands that can increase appetite and cause weight gain around the midsection. High cortisol levels can promote overeating and an increased appetite. Additionally, cortisol can cause your body to raise insulin levels, which may lead to cravings for sugary and fatty foods.
Estrogen: Estrogen is the female sex hormone that plays a role in regulating your body weight. Too little or too much estrogen does not have a direct cause-and-effect link to weight gain. Instead, an estrogen imbalance can hurt the body's ability to manage systems normally, which can lead to weight gain. Low levels of estrogen have been linked to weight gain and obesity. A common example of this is during and after menopause. The changing levels of estrogen hormones cause some women to experience weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Androgen: Androgens are the sex hormone produced by the body for both sexes but in greater amounts for males. Testosterone is the predominant androgen for both genders. Testosterone also plays a role in regulating body weight. It promotes muscle growth in both genders. Testosterone levels decrease as males age. A deficiency can halt muscle growth and lead to weight gain. Low levels of testosterone have been linked to increased body fat and obesity. Men gain weight in the abdominal area.
Growth Hormone: Growth hormones play a crucial role in regulating somatic growth, metabolic actions, and body composition. Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is associated with increased body fat and a lower lean body mass.
Thyroid hormones: The thyroid releases hormones that help to control metabolism, which is the way the body uses energy. As a result, these hormones affect each organ in the body. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. When this happens, many of the body’s functions slow down. A common symptom of an underactive thyroid is weight gain, often around the abdomen.
How do I test hormone levels for weight management?
Managing your weight can be a complex process. It's important to find the proper balance between lifestyle, diet, and medical factors like hormones. Request A Test offers a wide range of hormone and metabolism testing. We offer a selection of individual tests, as well as discounted hormone lab test panels that combine multiple tests for extra savings. You can order any test on our menu without the need to schedule a doctor's appointment. Just order and go to one of the thousands of lab locations we work with across the US. In addition to hormone testing, we offer hundreds of other options to help in your health journey. Most tests see results in just a few days so you can get answers fast. If you need help placing an order or finding the tests that best suit your needs, our team is here to help. Just give us a call at 888-732-2348 and there will always be someone ready to assist you during business hours. Weight management is difficult, but Request A Test is here to help. Take charge of your health and get started today.
Affordable, Rapid, Confidential