Hormones influence various systems in the human body keeping them working properly, but they can also have side effects if they are not balanced. And although we may think that women are the only “hormonal” ones, the truth is that men’s health is also affected by hormonal imbalances. Our bodies send signals when things are wrong, but we may not be listening.
8 hormonal imbalances linked to weight gain
If you are trying to lose weight through diet and exercise without success, you may want to see your doctor to check for hormonal problems. These are the common hormones that can affect body weight in men and women.
Hypothyroidism can affect both men and women. When thyroid hormone is low, people feel fatigued, want to sleep often, and may experience weight gain. Your doctor should do a complete evaluation to determine if you have a healthy metabolism. While the primary test is for your blood TSH level, even numbers in the normal range can affect your weight.
Insulin is the hormone that helps the body process sugars during digestion and break them down into nutrients for cells. Too much insulin can occur from stress, high processed sugar intake, low protein intake, or inadequate fat intake. Our body reacts to too much insulin by making us feel hungry, which can lead us back into the cycle of too much insulin. This cycle leads to a risk of diabetes and can also add to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Serotonin is a hormone that affects our mood and our emotions. It can because carbohydrate cravings, lead to depression, and affect appetite. It can also have an effect on our self-esteem, sleep habits, and body problems. When we are depressed or anxious, it is a sign of hormonal imbalance that produces a desire to eat carbohydrates so that they produce more serotonin and so that we feel better.
When our bodies are under any kind of stress for a long period of time, be it physical, emotional or even imagined, we produce cortisol, the stress hormone, as it is called. People who suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic disorder, or have an irritable bowel often have excess cortisol. This causes a large appetite, a lower metabolism, and more body fat.
Conditions that cause inflammation, such as allergies, asthma, eczema, autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, depression, and sinus disorders also cause obesity and unhealthy aging. In fact, inflammation and excess insulin are considered to be a major contributor to the rise of type 2 diabetes in the United States.
Extra estrogen is now considered a risk factor for obesity in men and women along with poor eating and exercise habits. We get excess estrogen from our own bodies or from our diet or environment. Many compounds in foods such as growth hormones or pesticides add estrogen.
Menopause changes the hormonal balance in women beginning in their 40s. The changes include weight gain, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, and depression among many others.
Testosterone influences muscle mass, strength, fat burning, and skin tone in women and men. Low testosterone can lead to weight gain and increased body fat even with exercise and diet. While men tend to lose testosterone as they age, obesity and stress affect the levels as well. Low testosterone is also linked to heart disease, depression, and osteoporosis.