Hormone Balance plays a tremendous role in weight maintenance. There are many hormones that contribute to our ability to keep a healthy weight, and Hormone Imbalance can make it harder to stay fit, trim, and healthy.
Insulin and Glucagon-Like Peptide-1
Insulin Resistance is strongly correlated with obesity. The pancreas secretes Insulin to help get blood sugar where it needs to go. Poor dietary habits or other factors can reduce Insulin Sensitivity, causing glucose levels to remain dangerously high.
When your body produces more Insulin, it causes your body to store more fat and leads to increased hunger. Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 helps manage Insulin levels and is produced by the intestines when exposed to carbohydrates. It also helps promote satiety.
A low-carb diet rich in omega three fatty acids and complex carbohydrates can help keep insulin levels balanced and avoid Insulin Resistance. Exercise and good sleeping habits also help tremendously. Probiotics can amplify the effectiveness of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1.
Leptin, Cholecystokinin, and Peptide YY
Leptin is the hormone that controls your ability to feel full. As you eat, your digestive system secretes leptin which travels to the hypothalamus to convince you to stop eating. Leptin is triggered by the release of Cholecystokinin by the gut biome. It's common for people that have obesity to struggle with Leptin Resistance that interferes with signals of satiety. Peptide YY also helps control appetite. Peptide YY Deficiency makes it harder to control meal sizes and manage hunger.
There's not a lot of data regarding effective ways to boost Leptin sensitivity. However, it's strongly believed that regular exercise and a healthy sleep schedule can help get Leptin Levels under control.
Ghrelin and Neuropeptide Y
Ghrelin is the hormone that tells your brain that it's time to eat. Ghrelin levels increase the longer you go without eating until it drives you to seek out food. Having a meal causes Ghrelin levels to recede. Some people are more reactive to Ghrelin than others, which causes them to get hungry more often, leading to an excess of calories.
Neuropeptide Y also activates hunger and is produced to encourage you to find food when you are stressed or under fasting conditions. It reduces energy levels to help prevent starvation, but when Neuropeptide Y levels are imbalanced, it makes you stay hungry and fatigued.
One of the best ways to combat the impact of Ghrelin is to eat smaller meals distributed throughout the day. Eating slowly and deliberately and giving Ghrelin Levels time to subside cause you to eat fewer calories. Empty carbs do little to stem the effects of Ghrelin, so opt for meals rich in complex carbs with healthy protein and fat to get you full and keep you there.
Cortisol is the key contributor to stress response. When you're under the gun, Cortisol gives a boost to energy and heart rate at the expense of long-term considerations. Cortisol is useful and necessary, but Chronic Stress and other conditions can cause Cortisol Levels to remain too high too often. Cortisol increases your hunger for cheap and easy calories, and it can mess with your sleep and your coping mechanisms. Chronically high Cortisol is strongly linked to obesity.
Managing stress helps keep Cortisol controlled, helping you stay fit. Exercise, mindfulness and good sleep all help suppress Cortisol and counteract stress. Also, consider changing lifestyle factors that cause mental stress.
Estrogen is known for regulating the menstrual cycle, but Estrogen is present in both men and women and helps modulate the vascular, skeletal, and immune systems. If Estrogen falls into imbalance, it can lead to weight gain and obesity. Body fat produces Estrogen naturally, and this is the primary way that men release the hormone. Too much body fat puts Estrogen Levels out of balance and creates a feedback mechanism that makes it harder to lose weight. Estrogen production that is too low can also cause women to experience obesity, especially in the midsection and gut.
Certain foods to limit to control Estrogen include refined carbohydrates and red meat. Exercise and controlled weight loss also diminish the severity of high Estrogen.
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