Hormones play an important role in weight loss and weight gain. Our bodies regulate appetite using hormonal signals that tell us when we are hungry and when we are full. This is why most diet experts will advise individuals to eat slowly because it takes the body 20 minutes to catch up with the stomach. In other words your stomach will actually be full far before you will feel full and it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to trigger the hormones to be released to tell your body and your mind that you are full.
There are actually eight different hormonal chemical messengers in the body that affect our eating habits. The first is growth hormone that stimulates protein synthesis or muscle tone and development and affects the strength of your bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Endorphins is a hormone that blocks pain and decreases appetite and also creates a feeling of euphoria. Testosterone is an important hormone in both men and women to maintain muscle tone and strength but it also increases the basal metabolic rate, or metabolism. Testosterone will help decrease body fat and produces feel confidence.
Estrogen will increase fat breakdown from body fat stores so that it can be used and will also increase basal metabolic rate. This hormone is at much higher levels in females than in the males. Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone that is produced by the thyroid gland which raises the metabolic rate of almost all cells in the body. This helps individual to feel more energetic and causes them to expend more calories which is important in weight loss.
Epinephrine is a hormone produced by the adrenal medulla, located on the top of each kidney. Epinephrine will increase the amount of blood the heart home and stimulates the breakdown of glycogen which is stored carbohydrates. It will also stimulate the breakdown of fat to use as fuel. Insulin is also an important hormone in regulating blood levels of glucose and directing fatty acids and amino acids into the cells. Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to raise blood levels of glucose when they become too low. It also causes the breakdown of fat to be used as fuel.
The struggle to maintain an appropriate body weight or to lose weight is very difficult. Many people feel that there must be a reason why weight loss is so difficult and, while it is true that hormonal imbalances affects some overweight individuals, the number of individuals who are affected is minute. Hormones do play a role in weight loss and weight gain but the role is dependent more upon the individual and their lifestyle than it is upon a biochemical imbalance.
Scientists are however, interested in a greater study of the hormone Leptin. Because the discovery of its interaction and importance in weight loss was only recent, research is very new and not always conclusive. Some research has found an imbalance of leptin will almost instantly decrease hunger in food consumption and increase energy expenditure which results in weight loss.
Dr. Ron Rosedale has explored dietary solutions for correcting leptin imbalances using only changes in dietary habits. In his book The Fat Resistant Diet, Leo Galland proposes an anti-inflammatory diet which also addresses the problems with leptin. In 2004 Byron Richards published a book mastering the weapon which addresses these imbalances and gives the reader five basic rules they can use when developing their dietary plan.
While hormone interactions play an important role in how an individual either gains weight or loses way it is also important to note that those hormones are often also impacted by be type of nutrition which the body is fed. Maintaining a healthy diet full of raw fruits and vegetables as well is nuts and seeds is a great way to improve your nutrition and help your body works the way it was supposed to.
Vitamin Research Projects: The Hormonal Key to Fat Reduction and Heart Health
Journal of Clinical Investigation: Battle of the Bulge: Low Leptin Levels Undermine Successful Weight Loss