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RSSAll Entries in the "Hormones and Weight Loss" Category

Increase Adiponectin Levels and Boost Fat Loss

Increase Adiponectin Levels and Boost Fat LossAdiponectin is a hormone produced exclusively by fat cells and secreted into the blood, but surprisingly, the higher your body fat percentage the lower your levels of circulating adiponectin, particularly when it’s fat accumulation around your waistline.

So now the question we ask ourselves is, “Is that good?”

Well, where adiponectin is concerned, you want higher levels because it increases the effectiveness of insulin, that is, it decreases insulin resistance.

Studies show when we have healthy levels of adiponectin, insulin production is lower (decreased insulin resistance) and therefore our blood sugar is better controlled. Besides the benefits of reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower insulin levels also mean decreased storage of glucose as fat.

So here’s the bottom line: higher adiponectin levels make it easier to lose weight and keep it off.

How to Increase Adiponectin Levels

A 2004 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care showed exercise to increase levels of adiponectin in overweight adults. There have been several other studies showing similar results and the adiponectin levels stay elevated for many months.

The increase in adiponectin levels in healthy adults is shown to be minimal to none but since levels remain elevated for a long period of time it’s probably reasonable to say these healthy adults already have elevated levels of adiponectin and therefore no significant increase above that is found.

So there’s yet another good reason to make exercise a permanent part of your life!

Leptin is the Fat Cell Hormone, and It Resists!

Leptin is the Fat Cell Hormone, and It Resists!First let’s get a little background on what exactly fat hormones are—your adipose tissue (fat) was for a long time viewed as a relatively inert body tissue responsible for little more than fat storage and insulation. But in the past couple of decades, discoveries about the functions of adipose tissue have lead to scientists calling it the largest hormone producing system in your body.

It’s now known fat cells produce many hormones and more are being discovered.

Of those hormones, one of the most significant is a hormone called Leptin, produced by your white fat cells, which has the functions of:

  • Signaling your brain your stomach is full
  • Acts on the brain to manage appetite
  • Plays a role in energy expenditure
  • And plays a role in regulating body temperature

All of those functions have a significant impact on your body weight.

So, when leptin levels are low the following occurs:

  • You don’t feel satiated (you’re still hungry after eating)
  • You feel hungry
  • Your energy levels are lower (decreased metabolism) and
  • Your body temperature is lower (decreased metabolism)

No doubt you’re not surprised to hear you get fatter when your leptin levels are lower.

However, leptin deficiency is very rare. In fact, the fatter a person is the higher their leptin levels are because more fat and more fat cells to produce more leptin. So any hope of developing a leptin supplement to help the obese lose weight is not going to happen just yet.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin deficiency may be very rare but leptin resistance (similar to insulin resistance) is very common, particularly in people that are already overweight or obese. And some doctors believe that prescribing leptin injections to obese individuals that already have elevated leptin levels may still work to help them lose weight by overcoming the leptin resistance, similar to the way insulin is used to treat insulin resistant diabetics.

The degree of leptin resistance in your body increases as your weight increases. The receptors on the cells, normally affected by leptin, dysfunction and leptin loses its effectiveness.

The good news it can be reversed with weight loss.

Improving Your Leptin Resistance

Leptin resistance can be reversed by following these suggestions:

  • Lose weight. Obvious right? With fat loss, leptin resistance decreases and it becomes easier to lose even more weight.
  • Lower your insulin resistance because there is a connecton between insulin and leptin resistance. Follow the suggestions in the earlier discussion we had about insulin resistance.
  • Reduce the stress in your life or adapt strategies to manage it because high cortisol levels (the stress hormone) limits the effectiveness of leptin
  • Follow the suggestions given earlier about improving your growth hormone levels because the effectiveness of leptin increases as GH levels increase
  • Quit smoking because smoking lowers leptin levels (with today’s level of awareness about the multitude of dangers associated with smoking there is no reason left for smoking except for disrespect of oneself)
  • Zinc regulates leptin so make sure you are getting enough zinc in your diet from foods like oysters, wheat germ, veal liver, roast beef, pumpkin seeds, lamb and peanuts. You may recall zinc is also important for your thyroid hormone levels

Leptin and Neuropeptide Y (NPY)

NPY is the most potent appetite stimulating hormone your body produces. It also plays a role in the fat accumulation and lowering metabolism.

One of the effects of leptin is keeping your NPY levels low and thereby limiting your appetite, maintaining a higher metabolism and keeping fat deposits low.

But when you put your body on a crash diet, your NYP levels skyrocket. Not only will your appetite and propensity to store fat increase and your metabolism decrease, your cortisol levels will also go up.

And as we discussed in the articles on stress, cortisol is responsible for weight gain through a number of different actions. So keep these things in mind as you go through the journey of weight loss. By know you are gaining a steady accumulation of knowledge about the little-known factors that are either helping or hindering you from losing weight. Tune in again for more tips!

What Part The Growth Hormone Plays in Losing Weight

What Part The Growth Hormone Plays in Losing WeightIn this article, we will discuss the role that Growth Hormone, or GH, plays in weight loss. Most people know that Growth Hormone production is connected with muscle building, and for burning fat.

When GH levels decrease, you lose muscle mass and deposit fat around your waist, which is considered the most dangerous place to accumulate fat because it is associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

This fat gain around your midsection increases your insulin resistance (which as we’ve discussed several times now, culminates in even more fat gain) and the reduction in muscle mass reduces your metabolism.

If your weight gain around the midsection becomes pronounced, it is termed ‘central obesity’ and leads to a condition known as obesity-related hyposomatotropism. That is, you develop a growth hormone deficiency.

You are probably beginning to see that when your body weight is out of balance, there are many feedback systems that act to make your problem of obesity even worse.

There is nothing good about obesity.

Thankfully, this form of growth hormone deficiency and many of the other feedback systems that make obese people even more obese are corrected with fat loss.

Your Liver and Growth Hormone

Most of the effects the layperson attributes to GH are actually from a derivative of GH called IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1).

IGF-1 is created from GH in your liver so when liver function is compromised so is your ability to produce IGF-1.

The result is a reduced ability to build muscle and burn fat.

Fat cells have receptors for both GH and IGF-1 and these hormones signal the fat cell to breakdown its fat and make it available as energy. Thus you lose fat AND have increased energy for doing more (like exercise), which further burns calories.

But when you have a GH deficiency, fat builds and muscle diminishes, your metabolism decreases and your insulin resistance increases.

So treat your liver well! As the previous articles have discussed, there are many ways to treat and preserve your liver well, and this is very important for fat burning and weight loss.

Stress and Growth Hormone

With stress, sleep suffers and without quality sleep GH levels decrease because it is secreted mostly during your sleeping hours.

Even with decent sleep, stress can cause GH resistance in your body cells and unlike insulin resistance, your body is not able to compensate with increased production.

Exercise and Growth Hormone

Exercise, especially strenuous exercise, causes your GH levels to surge.

You benefit with increased muscle mass, increased fat burning and the subsequent increase in energy.

With increased energy you’re more likely to exercise and the positive feedback loop continues and your physical condition and appearance continues to improve. So always keep your eye on your goal – a fit, slim, and glowingly healthy you, which we will help you achieve in the following articles. Keep reading!

Weight Loss and The Thyroid Hormone

Weight Loss and The Thyroid HormoneThe thyroid is a gland positioned at the base of your throat that secretes 2 hormones responsible that help regulate body temperature, sex drive, mood, psychological well-being and more importantly for this discussion:

  • Appetite
  • Metabolism
  • Energy levels

Hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone) effects about 10,000,000 Americans (American Medical Women’s Association, 1999)and is 10 times more common in women than men (The Thyroid Society, 1996).

There are many symptoms but for our discussion the most important are:


  • Weight gain
  • Low energy levels (and therefore decreased drive to exercise)
  • Depression (shown to be a cause of obesity)

Types of Thyroid Hormone

The 2 types of thyroid hormone are the relatively inactive T4 and the much more potent T3.

The main components of both T3 and T4 are iodine and the amino acid tyrosine.

Most T3 production comes from the conversion of T4 into T3 in the liver. The conversion requires enzyme action by enzymes containing the trace minerals selenium and zinc.

Thyroid Hormone Regulation

The pituitary gland, located in the brain, releases TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which signals the thyroid to release T4.

When T4 is released into your blood stream, your metabolism is maintained or increased, depending on the amount released.

When the pituitary secretes less TSH, your thyroid produces less T4, which lowers your metabolism.

How Calorie Restriction is Bad For Thyroid Hormone

First thing you want to do is keep your thyroid active so it keeps secreting T4 to maintain or increase your metabolism.

However, when you restrict calories or go too long between meals your pituitary will start producing less TSH, resultantly less T4 will be released by your thyroid into your blood followed by a subsequent lowering in metabolism.

In short, calorie restriction dieting lowers your metabolism so you can’t lose weight…. yet another reason why most diets fail.

How Poor Diet is Bad For Thyroid Hormone

Remembering that thyroid hormone is made from iodine ( average American eats double or more the daily recommended allowance) and tyrosine and that T4 is converted into the more potent T3 by enzymes containing zinc and selenium we can deduce a diet low in these foods may reduce thyroid hormone production:

  • protein (a source of the amino acid tyrosine)
  • iodine (a few sources listed below)
    • iodized salt – in the US we love salty foods so the average American actually eats more than 2 times the recommended daily allowance of iodine so it’s unlikely to be deficient
    • seafood
    • sea vegetables, like kelp
  • zinc (a few sources listed below)
    • beef
    • lamb
    • pork
    • crab
    • peanuts
    • dairy products
    • pumpkin seeds
  • selenium (a few sources listed below)
    • brazil nuts
    • tuna
    • beef
    • chicken

How Poor Liver Function is Bad For Thyroid Hormone

Most T4 to T3 conversion occurs in the liver so if your liver is not healthy, the process will be inefficient and you’ll have a lowered metabolism (remember T4 is mostly inactive, it’s T3 that has the most potency).

How Stress is Bad For Your Thyroid Hormone

Under stress your liver will convert T4 to an inactive form of T3 called ‘reverse T3’, instead of the active form of T3.

If the stress is chronic and reverse T3 production continues, it can result in lowered metabolism because of low levels of an active form of T3.

And of course when your metabolism is lowered, you use less energy throughout the day (& night) and more of the nutrients you eat are stored as fat.

Like I keep saying, chronic unmanaged stress makes you fat. We’ll discuss it a bit more in the succeeding articles, so visit again for more tips.

Now that you know a bit more about the thyroid hormone and the important part it plays in weight loss, keep these tips in mind for a scientific, proven and effective weight loss strategy.

The Role Androgens Play In Weight Loss

The Role Androgens Play In Weight LossIn the last article, we talked about the benefits of muscle and how It makes you lose fat. In this post, we’ll talk about the hormones responsible for increased muscle mass and reduced fat mass. They are called androgens, also known as male sex hormones.

Androgens include:

  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S)

Testosterone (produced in the testicles in men and ovaries in women), is the most important androgen for men while androstenedione and DHEA-S, produced in the adrenal glands which sit atop your kidneys, are equally as important for women as testosterone.

Men and Testosterone

Testosterone levels in men decline with age such that by 70 years, 80% of men have lower than normal testosterone levels.

Decreased testosterone production can begin as early as 25 years old.

A decline in testosterone is not always normal and when too severe, a man will experience a loss of lean muscle and an increase in body fat, particularly around the waist (there are many other symptoms but not related to weight management).

This condition is called hypogonadism.

It’s important for our discussion because hypogonadism and reduced testosterone production in men is related to:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Liver malfunction

It’s also related to:

  • Smoking
  • Drugs (narcotics)
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Chronic stress (and the effects of cortisol)
  • Insufficient sleep

Each of these above can be managed through diet, lifestyle choices and stress management.


  • Following a balanced diet of unsaturated fats, low GL carbohydrates and lean protein will decrease your insulin resistance, which promotes weight loss and recovery from obesity, which decreases the symptoms of diabetes.
  • Eliminating trans fats, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and other toxic chemicals found in processed foods from your diet to restore liver health
  • Additionally, choosing not to smoke, drinking alcohol (and any other recreational drug use) in moderation and taking regular time out to exercise and manage your stress before a good night’s sleep…

… will not only have an amazing impact on your overall health, it will also help return your testosterone levels to a normal range so you can begin building muscle and losing fat much more effectively.

Women and Androgens

Conversely to men, androgen problems in women are usually related to an excess of androgenic hormones rather than an insufficiency.

In women, one of the features of excess androgens is weight gain, typically around the middle and difficulty losing weight.

Hyperandrogenism (excess androgens) is closely related to obesity and insulin resistance because high insulin levels stimulate the production of androgens by the ovaries and adrenal glands.

Similar to androgenic problems in men, there is a close link to insulin resistance in women also and treating insulin resistance is seen as the most effective place to start.

As we’ve discussed in past articles, insulin resistance is best reversed through:

  • Regular exercise
  • Balanced diet of unsaturated fats, low GL carbs and lean protein
  • Elimination (or reduction) of processed foods in your diet

In the next posts, we’ll talk more about just that, so keep reading for more important information on how to lose weight.

The Role of Hormones in Weight Loss

The Role of Hormones in Weight LossLet’s talk about hormones, and metabolism. In this post, you’ll discover how to get your hormones under control and watch the pounds “fall” off of you.

Have you ever asked yourself the question: “How can she eat so much and still stay skinny?”

If you’ve ever wondered why 2 people can eat the exact same food and one will stay skinny while the other one grows fatter, then you need to hear this. The difference between these 2 people is their metabolism.

The skinnier one has a faster metabolism and the fatter one a slower metabolism.

Ok, so what controls metabolism?

Your hormones.

Dr. Scott Isaacs, endocrinologist and author of “Hormonal Balance: Understanding Hormones, Weight and Your Metabolism” describes metabolism and hormones like this:

“Think of your body as an engine. Metabolism is the rate at which the engine runs. Hormones are the push on the accelerator. Step on the gas and raise your metabolism.”

The problem faced by all people in rich, westernized countries is our metabolism is much too efficient for the environment we live in. Only in the last 150 years has food become so plentiful, especially so in the last 50 years. Prior to that, starvation was always at the door. A poor harvest could mean food would not last the winter and ‘skinny’ people had a much lower chance of survival.

For the caveman it was even more difficult because without agriculture, he was completely reliant on nature as the provider. Given nature’s unpredictability and the caveman’s ignorance of long-term food storage, living on the edge of starvation was the way of life. So through natural-selection, humans with slower metabolisms were able to survive while those with faster metabolisms (skinny people) could not because they burned their body’s fuel too rapidly and didn’t make it through famines.

The slower metabolism humans were more efficient at extracting every last calorie from the food they consumed, storing it as body fat and then burning it very conservatively. That is, their metabolism was very efficient, nothing was wasted.

Unfortunately in today’s calorie abundant society, a slow (efficient) metabolism makes it very difficult to achieve and maintain an ideal weight. Whereas, a fast (inefficient) metabolism means you can eat as much as you want and remain thin.

Here’s another thought you may have already posed to yourself at one point in your life: “I could eat whatever I wanted when I was young…”

As a boy, I could eat as much cake and ice-cream as I wanted without gaining weight. But I noticed that by the time I was in my mid-twenties my sweet-tooth was making me fat & for the first time in my life, I had to watch what I ate. Now at 40, I know if I over-indulge I’ll put on fat around my waist lickety-split, no questions asked. Indulge my sweet-tooth a few times a week and in no time I’d be fat again.

Sound similar?

What happened to the good old days when you could eat more without the same rate of weight gain? What changed? The answer is your hormones changed. You produce fewer hormones, resulting in a slower metabolism and subsequent weight gain (and a myriad of other unwanted changes in your health and body). But the good news is modern medicine no longer accepts the steady decline of your hormonal activity as completely normal.

In fact there is much you can do to prevent, slow and even reverse the decline in your hormones.

Here’s a list of some of the hormones that affect your weight:

  • Insulin
  • Cortisol
  • Angrogens
  • Estrogen
  • Leptin
  • Adiponectin
  • Thyroid hormones

Hundreds more have been identified in recent years but those above are the main ones.

In the next post, we’ll discuss insulin and the simple-sugar vicious cycle that makes you fat. We’ll tell you how to break that cycle, and learn to recognize the foods that will initiate it.