Obesity is a major health condition which affects children and adults equally all over the globe. They become obese due to the sedentary life they lead as well as the unhealthy eating habits they adopt. There are also people who get obese due to genetic disposition. Obese people are prone to attract serious health conditions and that is why it is important they follow a proper diet regime and be physically active to control the body weight. There are also people who gain weight even after following a proper diet and exercise regimen. This weight gain may be due to imbalance in the hormone levels. Let us learn the relationship between hormones and weight gain.
Relationship between hormones and weight gain
Studies have established that weight gain has a connection with fluctuations in the hormone levels. Hormones which are secreted by endocrine glands are responsible for various chemical reactions in our body. The endocrine glands include pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands and pancreas. The hormones secreted by these glands travel into the blood stream and create impact on the organs and tissues. The hormones thus travel from the glands to the cells and carry over chemical reactions in the cells.
Many important processes of the body rely on these hormones secretion and concentration. When there is any discrepancy in the levels of hormones, one may experience many health problems. They are prone to attract diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, infertility and osteoporosis due to imbalance in the hormone levels. Both weight gain and weight loss can occur due to the fluctuating hormone levels. Let us learn about the hormones that influence our weight.
Estrogens: Estrogens are produced in the female ovaries and in male testes. Estrogen is generally a female sex hormone but they are as well present in males in a smaller amount. In females, it is produced to regularize the menstrual cycles and ovulation whereas in males it helps in maturity of sperms. Besides the above functions estrogens also influence the lipid metabolism in both males and females. When the estrogen levels fall, the levels of fat storage increase especially in the abdominal region which leads to weight gain eventually. This is why women in menopausal stage gain weight due to fall in estrogen levels.
Progesterone: Progesterone is also known as pregnancy hormone and it is secreted in females. During pregnancy, this hormone is produced in the placenta and generally in the ovaries. In males, it is secreted in lesser amounts by the adrenal gland and helps in reproduction and other physiological processes. In both genders, progesterone affects appetite and weight. When there is fall in progesterone levels it leads to fattiness. The fall in progesterone levels can be attributed to hormone imbalance and disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome in women and less performance of adrenal gland in men.
Testosterone: This is a male hormone produced in testes and ovaries and in the adrenal cortex. It greatly influences muscle and bone density and therefore body weight in both genders. The calories consumed are generally burned by the muscle cells which keep up the metabolism. When there is a fall in testosterone levels the body experiences loss of muscle mass. This lowers the metabolic rate leading to weight gain.
Insulin: Insulin secretes in the pancreas and plays a vital role in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates. When there is fall in insulin levels, it leads to lipid stores in fat cells. Insulin resistance develops due to different disorders like genetic disposition, PCOS, poor diet and lifestyle, etc. It has been identified as one of the leading causes of obesity.
Cortisol: Cortisol is secreted by adrenal glands. It plays important roles like controlling blood pressure, metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. When a person undergoes stress, the cortisol hormone is secreted. This affects the pattern of normal production of cortisol and leads to weight gain.
Thyroid: Thyroid hormones also play an important role in metabolism and body weight of the body. Low TSH levels are the indication of low thyroid function which leads to fall in T3 and T4 levels. This brings about fatigue, laziness, hypertension, weakness and weight gain.
Hormones secretion is essential for various cellular and other bodily processes. The rise and fall in the hormone levels bring about serious health problems. If an individual experiences unexplained weight gain it is imperative the he or she consult an endocrinologist to treat the hormonal imbalance.