When most people think of weight loss, or more specifically the inability to lose weight, they usually don’t think about the sex hormones. However, the sex hormones – including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA – can play a major role in weight loss and have a significant effect on a person’s weight and ability to maintain or lose weight.
Sex Hormones’ Role in Weight Loss
First, some background: all hormones are basically chemical messengers in the body that regulate many bodily functions. Imbalances between hormones are very common and can occur at any age; however, most adults will see a progressive worsening in symptoms due to hormone imbalance as they reach mid-life.
Imbalances between the sex hormones can lead to weight gain via a variety of mechanisms. Without getting into too much of the background biochemistry, here are a couple of the most common ways sex hormones can affect weight:
- Too much estrogen relative to progesterone (estrogen dominance) often leads to weight gain. This is because estrogen dominance can lead to insulin resistance which causes the body to store fat. Estrogen dominance also increases cravings, which causes inappropriate eating behaviors; and slows down the thyroid gland, which decreases metabolism, leading to weight gain.
- Testosterone has a powerful impact on many features of metabolism, most notably blood sugar control, the ability to put on muscle and fat regulation. Research shows that testosterone levels often drop with age (in both men and women) and this can cause an increase in body fat, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. In addition, being overweight causes testosterone levels to drop even further (due to an increase in activity of an enzyme called aromatase in fat tissue that converts testosterone into estrogen). This can lead to or exacerbate estrogen dominance, leading to a vicious cycle of weight gain leading to more weight gain.
- The decline in testosterone and DHEA levels with age may explain why so many men and women at or beyond middle age have trouble shedding weight even if they “eat right” and exercise.
Finding a Solution to Sex Hormone Imbalances and Weight Loss
Luckily, a person doesn’t have to understand the role various sex hormone imbalances play in their ability to lose weight; they just have to take the proper steps to correct them.
Rebalancing sex hormones depends on several factors, including balancing blood sugar; incorporating regular stress management and minimizing the impact that stress has on a person’s health; and determining a person’s exact hormone imbalances so they can be corrected.
Here are some easy breathing exercises to help with stress management; getting at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days per week can also be a big help.
The Optimal Plan is specifically designed to provide the dietary changes needed to help rebalance hormone levels and improve blood sugar control to promote weight loss.
As for testing, everyone should have their vitamin D3 levels checked (the test is called 25-hydroxy vitamin D); ideal levels for most people will be 50-60 ng/ml. In addition, salivary hormone testing can help pinpoint your exact imbalances so they can be specifically addressed.
Lastly, supplemental support is often needed to rebalance hormone levels. Women should use Wellness Essentials for Women (if still menstruating) or Wellness Essentials for Women Prime (if post-menopausal) along with EstroFactors to help with hormone balance. Men should use Wellness Essentials Men’s Vitality to promote healthy testosterone production and promote weight loss.
Sex hormones can play an important role in weight loss. Finding and addressing your exact sex hormone imbalances is the key to finding a healthy, long-term solution to achieve and maintain the weight loss you looking for.