The weight loss industry is a $70 billion per year industry and continuously growing. This industry ranges from workout programs, diet plans, weight loss supplements, etc. That’s a lot of money spent on a problem (obesity) that still has a prevalence of 42.4% in adults in the US according to the CDC. So, do these products work or is there an underlying issue not being addressed that is contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States? While the products in the weight loss industry may work, not everyone is built the same and some people have underlying hormone imbalances contributing to weight problems.
Some people can change their diet and exercise routine and lose 10 lbs quickly while others struggle with weight gain and difficulty losing weight even when following the same changes in diet and exercise. Other symptoms that individuals may experience in conjunction with difficulty losing weight include easily gaining weight, decrease in lean muscle mass, increase in abdominal fat, fatigue, food or sugar cravings, poor exercise tolerance, anxiety in the evening, and difficulty sleeping.
When someone struggles with weight management, the responsible approach is to identify an underlying, internal issue through biomarker testing.
Reproductive Hormones: Imbalance reproductive hormones can interfere with both metabolism and thyroid function. Common symptoms of a hormone imbalance include bloating, food cravings, increased abdominal fat and decreased lean muscle mass. Reproductive hormone imbalance can also contribute to insulin resistance.
Adrenal Hormones: Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone. Cortisol is responsible for mediating the stress response and is involved with regulating metabolism, inflammatory response, and the immune system. In the stress response, cortisol increases blood sugar and enhances the brain’s use of glucose (sugar). Cortisol is also responsible for slowing down nonessential functions during the fight or flight response. An imbalance of adrenal hormones can also have downstream effects on reproductive hormones.
Blood Sugar Metabolism: Poor blood sugar metabolism can contribute to weight gain by causing the body to store more fat and increasing food(sugar) cravings. Abnormal blood sugar levels are an indicator of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, or even diabetes. Insulin brings sugar from the blood into cells. Insulin resistance is when cells are not responsive to insulin creating high levels of sugar in the bloodstream.
Vitamin D: A hormone many people are deficient in but is important for maintaining normal metabolic processes. Low levels of vitamin D is linked to being overweight, obesity, and poor metabolic health.
Thyroid Hormones: The thyroid gland is the metabolism powerhouse. Hormones secreted by the thyroid regulate the speed that cells in your body work. An abnormal level of TSH is often the first sign of thyroid dysfunction which can contribute to problems with weight gain, weight loss, and metabolism.
Getting a picture of what these hormones are doing in your body, will help us drive a solution that will balance these hormones, improve your health, and get you on the path of wellness.