How Hormone Imbalance Contributes to Weight Gain

Written by Dr. Jonathan Peterson, Updated on February 16th, 2022, Published on December 16th, 2021

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How Hormone Imbalance Contributes to Weight Gain

When men enter their thirties and forties, they start to think about their bodies differently. Do you ever wonder why guys tend to get softer around the edges as they get older? Why is it so easy to stay lean and fit when you're young, and then it just seems to get harder and harder? Our hormones are largely to blame for these changes. Andropause is real, and it will impact the lives of every man that enters middle age. A variety of hormones play a role in the maintenance of body composition, and many of them enter a state of flux as a result of age-related changes in Hormone Balance.

Testosterone Deficiency and Weight Gain

Testosterone is the ultimate hormone of masculinity. Men's higher Testosterone Levels are why guys tend to carry less fat and more muscle than women. Testosterone Levels naturally begin to drop as we get older, changing the unique balance of Hormones that allows men to stay strong and lean with less effort. As Testosterone Levels fall, muscle mass decreases, which reduces basal metabolism. As metabolism declines, less energy is burned as fuel, and more is stored as potential in the form of fat. Even if you have a strict and consistent workout program, you'll see reduced gains for the amount of effort that you input as you get older. Eventually, you may benefit from Bio-Identical Testosterone Therapy to help you feel like yourself again.

Higher Estrogen Leads to Weight Gain in Men

Most people think of Estrogen as an exclusively feminine hormone. Women indeed produce far more Estrogen than men, but men still need Estrogen and are capable of making it themselves in small quantities. The normal Testosterone Range for men is 300-1000 ng/dl. Normal Estradiol ranges from 14-55 pg/dL. Men actually produce Estrogen as a byproduct of Testosterone and via conversion of androstenedione. This process occurs in the adrenal glands, testes, and in body fat. The more fat that you carry, the more your Testosterone gets converted into Estrogen. This feedback loop can lead to weight gain and obesity. It also eats away at circulating Testosterone and is a major contributor to Low-T.

DHEA and Metabolism

DHEA is a critical product of the adrenal glands. It's the primary building block of the sex hormones Testosterone, Progesterone, and Estrogen, and also has some pretty essential functions all on its own. DHEA helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and keeps body fat under control. It also bolsters energy, enhances immunity, and boosts brain function. If DHEA levels are too low, it can lead to metabolic syndrome, which impairs blood sugar control, increases body fat, and eventually leads to Diabetes.

Thyroid Deficiency Encourages Weight Gain and Increases Obesity Risk

The Thyroid is a compact gland shaped like a butterfly behind the back of the throat. Despite its small stature, the Thyroid is hugely crucial in controlling the distribution of energy reserves throughout the body. It helps modulate cholesterol and body fat and signals for the breakdown of fat into usable energy. Thyroid insufficiency is fairly common, though severity can vary significantly from person to person. An underactive Thyroid Gland can lead to poor temperature modulation, exhaustion, fatigue, and weight gain. Thyroid Supplementation can help some patients overcome Chronic Fatigue and weight gain related to Thyroid Hormone Deficiency.

Relationship Between High Cortisol, Overeating, and Obesity

Cortisol is another hormone, like DHEA, that is produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is the lynchpin of stress response. Our bodies release Cortisol in response to all forms of stress, whether acute or chronic. Cortisol lowers immune response and suppresses functions associated with long-term well-being to provide the energy, focus, and awareness needed to deal with a fight-or-flight situation.

Unfortunately, this hormone, beneficial in small quantities, runs rampant in our modern society. The combination of greater stress and fewer outlets for stress relief makes Chronic Stress an unfortunately common issue in our community. High pressure also encourages us to eat unhealthy junk foods, which offer quick calories. Too much Cortisol causes body fat to accumulate on the stomach, which is the most dangerous fat. Furthermore, high Cortisol disrupts sleeping patterns, which eats away at men's ability to produce Testosterone and Human Growth Hormone. Getting anxiety, stress, and Cortisol under control is a major step toward controlling body composition.

Elevated Insulin Wreaks Havoc on Blood Sugar and Fat Storage

Insulin is the tool that our body uses to take calories processed from food, transport them where needed, and store them as fat if not needed. Too many simple carbs lead to spikes in blood sugar, and the body produces huge amounts of Insulin to get things under control. Chronically poor eating habits cause the body to develop a resistance to Insulin, meaning that the body has to produce more to get the job done.

As Insulin becomes less effective, this leads to significant metabolic issues, including obesity and Diabetes. Over time, Diabetes can completely shut down the pancreas, making the human body dependent on insulin shots for proper metabolism. Insulin dominance also suppresses HGH Levels, further disrupting natural hormone balance and contributing to weight gain.

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