Question #4: The impact of hormones on your body i.t.o. weight loss/gain

It is a good idea, if you struggle with weight loss/gain, to have your hormone levels tested. Sometimes, you may have a hormonal imbalance you are not aware of, and this may be behind your struggles with weight.

Hormone Impact on weight loss/gain Too Little Too Much
Insulin Tucked away behind the stomach is an organ called the pancreas — the pancreas creates insulin. Insulin production is regulated based on blood sugar levels and other hormones in the body. In a healthy individual, insulin production and release is a tightly regulated process, allowing the body to balance its metabolic needs Diabetes occurs when the body either does not secrete enough insulin or when the body no longer uses the insulin it secretes effectively. Symptoms include tiredness, increased urination and thirst, and problems with vision, and fainting. Too much insulin causes the body’s cells to take too much glucose from the blood, leading to a low blood sugar episode. Low blood sugar can cause confusion, dizziness and fainting. Because nerve cells rely entirely on glucose for energy, low blood sugar can also trigger a nervous system response.
Cortisol Because most bodily cells have cortisol receptors, it affects many different functions in the body. Cortisol can help control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation and assist with memory formulation. It has a controlling effect on salt and water balance and helps control blood pressure. In women, cortisol also supports the developing foetus during pregnancy. Low cortisol levels can cause a condition known as Addison’s disease. While rare, Addison’s disease is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the adrenal glands. Symptoms may start slowly, but they can be quite serious. Patients with Addison’s disease can experience fatigue, muscle loss, weight loss, mood swings and changes to the skin. Cushing’s Syndrome: Individuals with Cushing’s syndrome will experience rapid weight gain in the face, abdomen and chest. High cortisol levels can also contribute to changes in a woman’s libido and menstrual cycle, even without the presence of Cushing’s disease. Anxiety and depression may also be linked to high cortisol levels.
Catecholamines

(Dopamine, Adrenaline)

Adrenalines relax gut smooth muscle, cause breakdown of fat, and cause amylase secretion from salivary glands. On nerve endings, they increase transmitter release. β2-adrenoceptors are on smooth muscle, including blood vessels, bronchioles, uterus, bladder, and the iris, where they mediate relaxation. They cause tremor in skeletal muscle (shivering) and the breakdown of glycogen in the liver to release glucose into the blood, and decrease histamine release from mast cells. Dopamine (“feel-good hormone) relates to movement co-ordination, to thought, feeling, and behaviour, and to the control of hormone release from the anterior pituitary gland. Too little adrenaline rarely occurs, but if it did it would limit the body’s ability to respond properly in stressful situations.

Too little dopamine in the motor areas of the brain are responsible for Parkinson’s disease

Too much Adrenaline causes a release of glucose, which a fight-or-flight response would use. When no danger is present, that extra energy has no use, and this can leave the person feeling restless and irritable. Excessively high levels of the hormone due to stress without real danger can cause heart damage, insomnia and a jittery, nervous feeling.

A high level of the neurotransmitter dopamine can cause problems with mood, memory, focus and.  It is believed, there is a link to Schizophrenia

Oestrogen Oestrogen is produced primarily in the ovaries, the organ that produces the woman’s eggs. Adrenal glands also make some oestrogen, which is why men will have oestrogen in small amounts. Fat also creates oestrogen. Women who have low oestrogen levels may have a lessening of menstruation. They may also experience symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, insomnia and low libido. Mood swings and dry skin are also a problem. High oestrogen levels can cause weight gain and menstrual changes, as well as a worsening of PMS symptoms. Cysts in the breasts and fibroids in the uterus can also happen.
Progesterone Fertility and menstruation are largely controlled by hormones, and one of these hormones is progesterone. Women who have low levels of progesterone will have abnormal menstrual cycles or may struggle to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. Low progesterone levels can cause too-high levels of oestrogen, which can decrease sex drive, contribute to weight gain, or cause gallbladder problems. High levels of Progesterone can result in tenderness in the breasts, Rapidly changing moods, Anxiousness, Feeling depressed, Being bloated, Lack of sex drive, Greasy skin and acne breakouts, Gaining weight, Suddenly feeling hot, Urinary tract infections, Inability to hold urine, The onset of headaches.
Testosterone Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, but in women, the ovaries and adrenal glands produce testosterone. Women’s total testosterone levels are about a tenth to a twentieth of men’s levels. Fatigue and Exhaustion, Weight Gain & Difficulty Losing Weight, Decreased Interest in Sex, Mood Swings, Depression, Anxiety, Difficulty Concentrating. Some women with high testosterone levels develop frontal balding. Other possible effects include acne, increased muscle mass, deepening of voice. High levels of testosterone can also lead to infertility and are commonly seen in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Excessive or thinning hair.

Ref: http://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health

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