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Hormones and Body Composition

January 17, 2024 By , , , ,

4 Hormones that can be Important for Body Composition

Semaglutide HCG DIET weight loss Tirzepatide1. Insulin 

Insulin is probably the biggest hormonal culprit for weight gain. Insulin helps your body to digest and store glucose (sugar) properly.  Due to the fact that insulin is such a crucial player in your metabolism, this means that having elevated insulin levels can negatively impact your body composition, and your health as a whole. One of the key roles of insulin is to bring the sugar circulating in your bloodstream into your cells, where it can be stored as FAT and used as an energy source.

If you are consistently eating a diet high in fat and sugar, your body continually needs to release more and more insulin to bring sugar from your bloodstream into your cells for energy.   This sugar becomes fat, and when insulin is elevated it also shuts down the breakdown of fat. Double whammy!

Over time, these high insulin levels can make your cells less responsive to the hormone insulin, which is referred to as insulin resistance.   With insulin resistance, since your cells are less efficient at bringing sugar inside them to use for energy, the sugar remains in your bloodstream and is fairly dangerous. Insulin resistance is also linked to a variety of conditions. It can often occur alongside obesity, and it’s also associated with long-term health concerns like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  We have also seen that insulin-resistant humans also have a harder time losing weight.

2. Cortisol 

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” and it has gotten a reputation as a hormone that sabotages weight loss efforts.  Cortisol is directly responsible for our “fight or flight” instinct. One of cortisol’s primary modes of operation is to act on your liver, breaking down your stored glycogen into glucose (aka blood sugar), so that your cells can access a quick and efficient source of energy if you need to “run from a tiger” in the fight or flight mode.

In the short term, cortisol is highly beneficial.  Yet, today, many people are under chronic, ongoing levels of high stress that can contribute to consistent metabolic changes, which can have a negative impact on health and body composition goals. Cortisol can also lower insulin levels which can also cause weight gain.

For many, chronic stress may trigger cortisol and also the overconsumption of food due to “stress eating,”

3. Testosterone

Testosterone is another vital player in your fitness level because it can directly influence your body’s muscle-building ability.   Testosterone is perhaps best known as a male reproductive hormone. However, testosterone is an essential driver of muscle growth and maintenance for everyone and can influence lean mass in women as well as men. Testosterone is also thought to play a role in body fat. We see that men with testosterone deficiency are associated with increased fat mass. Low testosterone is mainly associated with increased belly fat.

4. Ghrelin 

If you find that your appetite is often high, and you’re eating more than your body needs for energy, it may be partly due to the hormone ghrelin.  Ghrelin is a hormone that’s responsible for triggering hunger. Along with leptin, another hormone that inhibits your appetite, ghrelin can influence your eating patterns.  Having high ghrelin levels in your system naturally increases appetite and cravings. This can lead to overeating.

Another role of Ghrelin is the way it influences the distribution of fat storage.  Ghrelin can also impact how your body releases growth hormone, which regulates various aspects of body composition, including muscle growth.


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