As I talked about before, hormones greatly influence our body’s ability to lose or gain weight. We have 6 fat burning hormones and 3 fat storing hormones. Our fat burning hormones include:
1) Growth Hormone (GH). This is an anti-aging hormone. It is made in the brain in the pituitary gland. This hormone is a fat burning, lean-muscle-building hormone. GH regulates fuel between meals and is active during the night while you sleep. Poor liver function affects GH function. Protein and intense exercise stimulates the production of this hormone.
2) Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF). IGF is made by the liver and triggered by the GH. Its function is to provide the body with fuel between meals. When stimulated this hormone releases stored sugar and fat for fuel. Insulin is its opposing hormone which controls the body’s fuel while you are eating. If the liver is not functioning optimally, this hormone is decreased creating a strain on the pancreas to release more insulin for fuel.
3) Glucagon. This hormone raises blood sugar by tapping into fat reserves. Insulin is its opposing hormone. Glucagon helps control blood sugar between meals. It is stimulated by dietary protein and intense exercise. Excess protein can blunt this hormone and increase insulin production.
4) Adrenaline. This is the main hormone for releasing fat from fat cells. It is triggered by exercise. It prepares the body for stressful situations, increasing alertness, heart rate and metabolic rate.
5) Thyroid Hormones (T3 & T4). These hormones control the speed of your metabolism by increasing the size and number of cellular energy factories. The faster the metabolism the thinner the individual. Cutting calories or skipping meals inhibits these hormones.
6) Testosterone. This hormone is made by the adrenal glands, the testicles, and even the ovaries. It helps the body to develop lean muscles and is involved in the sex drive and male characteristics. Exercise stimulates its production. Estrogen is its counter hormone.
Our fat-storing hormones include:
1) Insulin. This hormone is made in the pancreas. Its function is to lower the blood sugar after meals. It causes cells to absorb the sugar for fuel and turns what is left into fat & cholesterol. Insulin works with IGF and glucagon to keep fuel constant in the blood. Sugar triggers insulin and in the presence of insulin you will not burn fat.
2) Estrogen. This hormone is responsible for female characteristics. It provides the fat layer around the female body, particularly around the outer thighs. This is why females have more fat than men. The female body has a thousand times the concentration of estrogen receptors over men.
3) Cortisol. This important hormone is produced by the adrenal glands. Stress of any kind activates this hormone. It is an anti-inflammatory and releases sugar from the liver and muscles into the blood as instant fuel during stressful events. Its fat-storing effect comes when it turns muscle proteins into sugar fuel. Insulin is then forced to deal with the sugar, producing weight gain in the midsection.
All these hormones are essential for our body to function. For optimal functioning each of these hormones must carry the correct signals to receptors in our body. Too much or too little can alter how the body functions in its fat-burning or fat-storing modes. Different foods can affect these hormones and control their production and release. Many foods contain hormone-disrupting chemicals. Discover what foods can help you trigger the right hormones for your weight loss.