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How Do Your Hormones Affect Metabolism and Weight Gain?

Aug 27, 2020

How Do Your Hormones Affect Metabolism and Weight Gain?

Scientists have no doubt that hormone levels affect how well your metabolism works. If you dream of a slimmer waistline, more energy and better heart health, getting your metabolism in high gear is important.

What Does Your Metabolism Do?

Many people think of metabolism only in terms of burning fat, but that’s just one part of the process. Actually, the main role of your metabolism is to tell your body how to process carbohydrates. Ideally, you want those carbs converted into energy packets that help fuel an active lifestyle. What happens in many people, however, is that the metabolism decides to turn sugars into long-term fat storage for a rainy day. This stubborn belly fat can be a real pain to lose.

How Do Hormones Affect Your Fat Burning?

Your entire digestive system is controlled by hormones. These tiny chemical messengers are like the production managers of your body’s energy factory. They have the power to speed up burning or slow everything down. Here are a few of the most important metabolic hormones:

Thyroid Hormones: The Big Boss

Your thyroid hormones play a huge part in how your metabolism works. They can make your body burn more fat even when you’re resting. Low levels of these important hormones cause your metabolism to slow to a standstill. Even if you exercise, it can be harder to lose weight.

Estrogen: The Fat Builder

Testosterone helps to build lean muscle mass while estrogen signals the body to produce fat cells around your hips and tummy. This is why certain medications that alter hormonal balance can have the side effect of unexpected weight gain. Believe it or not, both men and women have some levels of estrogen and testosterone. If men develop low levels of testosterone, it can make gaining weight easier.

Cortisol: The Emergency Shut-Off Switch

This stress hormone tells your cells to prepare for an emergency. Instead of burning through carbs like it normally would, your body starts stockpiling fat. Cortisol forces your metabolism to slow down so it doesn’t use up calories. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of weight gain. Even worse, cortisol makes you crave sugar like there’s no tomorrow.

Other hormones have indirect effects on weight gain. For example, a hormone called ghrelin controls hunger. Too much and you feel hungry all the time. Just right and you're happily full.

How Can You Boost Your Metabolic Hormones Naturally?

It’s never a good idea to radically modify your hormone levels (such as taking prescription hormones) unless your doctor is treating you for a medical imbalance. That doesn’t mean you’re powerless to improve your metabolism, however. Follow these perfectly safe tips to enjoy all the benefits of an active metabolism:

  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Include more protein in meals
  • Follow a moderate exercise program
  • Drink green tea
  • Replenish healthy gut bacteria
  • Get more sleep at night
  • Keep stress levels down

All of these things contribute to healthy, balanced hormone levels. The antioxidants in green tea signal your metabolism to work faster. By sleeping enough at night, exercising and spending time with loved ones, you can prevent cortisol from adding pounds to your stomach. Eating breakfast, especially with some protein (almonds are great), kick-starts your metabolism for the day. You get the same healthy boost after heart-pumping periods of exercise.

-Dr. Sterling

Category: Digestive Enzymes