Hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for triggering or regulating bodily functions. When hormones are out of balance, negative effects within the body can result, including weight gain. Hormones can fluctuate as a result of many factors, including stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, inadequate rest and illness. Just as weight can be affected by hormone levels, the hormones can fluctuate as a result of gaining weight.
All hormones have an effect on weight. Growth hormone, endorphins, testosterone, estrogen, thyroxine, epinephrine, cortisol, serotonin, melatonin, insulin and glucagon are all hormones that affect bodily functions. According to Prevention magazine, these hormones have individual jobs that can influence weight loss, such as utilizing fat for fuel, decreasing appetite, improving metabolism and decreasing body fat.
If you want to lose weight and balance hormone levels, limit stress, which is responsible for the production of cortisol. Get adequate sleep to maintain proper melatonin levels. According to Dr. Geoffrey Redmond, director of the Hormone Center of New York and author of The Good News about Women's Hormones, you may be able to manipulate your hormones into losing weight by eating frequent small meals consisting of the proper portions of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Regular exercise can help balance overall hormone production.
In a study cited by the Department of Human Nutrition at the Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, a significant connection was made between sex hormones, visceral fat and weight loss. During the study, women with excessive levels of visceral fat were associated with reduced sex hormones. When the women lost weight, an average of 11 lbs., the visceral fat decreased and the sex hormones increased to normal levels. Studies like these emphasize the importance of weight control to hormone regulation.
There are several health benefits that you may experience by taking the steps necessary to regulate your hormones and lose weight. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, regulating your hormones will not only induce weight loss, but may lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, improve energy, reduce aches and pains, improve rest, increase oxygen flow to the heart, prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and stabilize blood sugar.
If you are unsure whether or not your hormones are preventing you from losing weight, you should schedule an appointment with your health care practitioner who will perform a blood test to have your hormone levels checked. Some symptoms that you may experience as a result of a hormonal imbalance are headaches, dizziness, anxiety, depression, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, fatigue, hair loss, decreased sex drive, weight gain, water retention and bloating. Be sure to discuss any symptoms with your doctor.