Hormones & Fat
The amount of fat is increasing in human body with advancing age, this is why obesity is considered the main manifestation of aging. Fat carries several important functions in the body such as protecting internal organs like a shock absorber, acting like energy storage, carrier of fat soluble vitamins, participating in many body reactions, etc.
Recently it was discovered that fat, and especially fat inside the abdomen, is an active organ producing bio active substanses such as leptin – the hormone of satiety and others. Fat is active in converting male hormone testosterone into female hormone estrogen. Fat is also
It should not be overlooked that diet and exercise are not the only factors that should be looked at when speaking about weight loss. Hormones are major controllers of fat metabolism and when not balanced usually produce accumulation of extra fat in the body. This is why Hormone balancing is very important for people who want to loose weight.
We need not to forget that hormones that promote fat accumulation increase as body ages while hormones promoting fat loss are in decline.
Major hormone relation to fat accumulation and weight gain.
Thyroid hormone – increases speed of burning and energy production in the body. With low or sub-optimal thyroid hormone levels body uses much less calories due mainly to decreased body temperature so person may eat very little food but still will be unable to loose weight. Alternately high thyroid level will result in inability to gain weight even with increased food intake. Levels of thyroid hormone decline with age, iodine and selenium deficiency. Thyroid function is negatively affected by stress hormone – cortisol and female hormone – estradiol and supported by progesterone. melatonin and growth hormone.
Cortisol – the hormone released in response to stress is major contributor to fat accumulation. Increased levels of Cortisol result in fat accumulation in the abdomen, upper body and face and thinning of the legs and muscles in general. Cortisol also increases blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Cortisol level is increasing with age.
Insulin – hormone necessary for sugars to enter muscle cells and be used as energy source. Without insulin glucose cannot enter cells and feed muscles. With advancing age, decreased physical activity and high carbohydrate diet typical for Americans, insulin levels chronically increase which causes body to loose sensitivity to insulin. This condition is called insulin tolerance and is precursor of Diabetes Type 2. Metabolic syndrome or Syndrome X are closely related to Insulin tolerance.
Growth Hormone also closely related to obesity. Growth Hormone is released in the body when sugar levels fall which happens mostly at night. Growth Hormone allows fat in the form of fatty acids to be released into blood from fat storages. Fatty acids are preferred food for muscles and are used as energy source. Lack of Growth hormone is whole body fat accumulation and very especially on the inner sides of the knees.
Testosterone, the male hormone, found in small quantities in females, among other functions is necessary for maintaining and increasing muscle mass. Muscles are major users of fat for energy production. Low testosterone levels are responsible for eunuchoid appearance with fat accumulation in the abdomen, breasts and thighs.
Estradiol, the Female hormone when in excess and is not opposed by progesterone and testosterone results is increased fat accumulation in thighs, lower abdomen and breasts.