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Hormones and Your Metabolism

Weight management is a common concern for women and men of all ages. Whether you’re a man or woman, the hormones testosterone and estrogen play a leading role in your metabolism. Some other hormones that also play a critical role in successful weight management include cortisol, insulin, progesterone, and thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3).

When an imbalance occurs, it can be related to age, nutrition, illness or stress. Hormones produced by the ovaries, such as estrogen and progesterone, may regulate where fat sits on the body and help determine whether your metabolic engine will use sugar or fat). There is an optimal state of hormonal balance that enhances utilization of the body’s fat stores. When a hormone imbalance occurs, women may find they develop extra fat around the middle. Exercise is an essential component to controlling weight, is vital for health, and may reduce some of the problems associated with hormone imbalances. You cannot change fat placement, but you can increase activity to alter your gut flora, change how you extract calories from food and reduce fat storage.

White adipose tissue, or fat, secretes a number of peptide hormones and also produces steroid hormones. This newly discovered secretory function has shifted the way adipose tissue is viewed. It is no longer considered as a passive energy storage tissue, but as a major endocrine organ that influences energy balance, metabolism, immune response and even reproduction. The secretion of all known adipose secreted proteins changes when the abdominal fat mass is markedly increased or decreased.[1]

Hormonal influences on calorie burning are complex. For example, we know that exercise of sufficient intensity elevates stress hormones. Together, the suite of stress hormones flip the switch to high-octane sugar usage.  Historically this supplied the energy enabling us to fight for our lives or run like hell.

As we run faster and harder the body’s supply of oxygen drops off. Since sugar is a fuel that can be burned in the absence of oxygen, highly intense activity depletes sugar stores and raises lactic acid. Lactic acid buildup is correlated with release of powerful metabolic stimulants including testosterone and growth hormone.[2,3,4,5,6] The resulting hormonal milieu acts synergistically to produce a leaner and more functional physiology.

If you are experiencing weight management challenges or other health problems that may be associated with a hormone imbalance, talk to your doctor about saliva hormone testing options and lifestyle changes that may support you on your journey to optimal wellness.

References:

1. M. Coelho et al. Biochemistry of adipose tissue: an endocrine organ. Arch Med Sci. 2013 Apr 20; 9(2): 191–200. DOI:  10.5114/aoms.2013.33181

2. Turner ET AL. (1995). Effect of graded epinephrine infusion on blood lactate response to exercise. J Appl Physiol,79(4):1206-11.

3. Takahashi ET AL.(1995). Relationship among blood lactate and plasma catecholamine levels during exercise in acute hypoxia. Applied Human Sci,14(1):49-53.

4. Kaiser ET AL. (1983). Effects of acute beta-adrenergic blockade on blood and muscle lactate concentration during submaximal exercise. International Journal Sports Med, 4(4):275-7.

5. Godfrey, Et. Al. The role of lactate in the exercise-induced human growth hormone response: evidence from McArdle disease. Br J Sports Med. 2009 Jul;43(7):521-5.

6. Lin Et. Al. Stimulatory effect of lactate on testosterone production by rat leydig cells. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. June 2001;83(1):147-154.