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The Hormone - Weight loss Connection

Our body is made of billions of cells, which interact with each other with a chemical substance produced by the glands and organs of our body known as hormones.


Hormones are extremely important to regulate pretty much everything in the body from hunger, satiety, sleep, growth, etc. Let's go over some of the important hormones in the body.


Insulin


Insulin is a storage hormone it is released from the beta cells of the pancreas into the bloodstream, its primary task is to push the nutrients present in the bloodstream into the cells. Insulin is known as the key which unlocks the cells so that it can absorb the nutrients from the bloodstream. However, over time when the pancreas has to release insulin repetitively because of unhealthy eating habits, the pancreas stop working properly, or the cell membranes becomes insensitive to insulin, which leads to type 2 diabetes.



Role in Weight loss


When the cells are not responding to insulin, the accumulated blood sugar in the arteries potentially can cause inflammation, it could also lead to gluconeogenesis which means insulin may promote fat storage by converting the unabsorbed glucose accumulated in the bloodstream.


Ghrelin


Remember the sensation of a rumble in your stomach? Its ghrelin to thank for, it is a key digestive hormone also known as the "hunger hormone". its produced in the gastric pit (stomach) and released into the bloodstream which travels to our brain and gives a signal to the hypothalamus that the tummy is empty and ready for more food, Yay! The secretion of this hormone goes up when the stomach is emptied. It also aids in insulin release and plays a key role in heart health. When someone is on a caloric restrictive diet, the ghrelin level shoots up causing more hunger in the body.





Role in Weight loss

It is also shown from a New England study that people who have lost weight with restrictive diets had high levels of ghrelin for a certain period of time, which is why most people who lose weight have a hard time keeping it off without restricting calories, the reason being that when you are at a particular body weight for a long period of time, your body sets that weight as the default one and when you shed that excess weight the body increases the hunger hormone which in turn result in going back to old eating habits and putting on the lost weight either gradually or quickly.


Leptin

You can call this hormone your guiding angel since it signals your body to stop consuming any more food by providing a feeling of fullness and satiety. Leptin is secreted from the adipose tissues in the body i.e the fat cells. it triggers the hypothalamus when the tummy is getting full which eventually causes us to not feel hungry anymore. Since it is secreted from the fat cells of the body, the higher amount of fat cells you have the more leptin will be present in the body. similarly, the lower amount of fat cells, the lower the leptin levels will be in that individual.


Role in Weight loss

Leptin's primary job is to keep an eye on your appetite, it needs to pull the lever by sending a message to the hypothalamus gland situated in the brain that enough food has been eaten. However, when an individual is obese, it means he or she will have more amount of fat cells resulting in a higher amount of leptin being present in the body. After a while, because of the continuous presence of leptin, the body stops responding to it causing the brain to think that the body is still hungry which results in the person continue eating in large quantities to satisfy his/her hunger. This state is called Leptin resistance.


Low levels of leptin in the body rarely happen but it does in some cases with people who have a genetic condition causing a lack of leptin in the body. When the body doesn't have a normal amount of leptin it makes it think that more fat cells are needed causing the ghrelin levels to stay high and leading to overweighting and obesity.


Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone secreted from the adrenal gland which is located above our kidneys. its also known as the stress hormone mainly because it is triggered when we are stressed out. it could be acute stress, for example, finishing up a task in front of you or chronic stress, when you are continuously under duress every day over a number of things in your mind. Cortisol is also needed for other important functions such as controlling blood sugar levels. reducing inflammation in the body.


Role in Weight loss

When the body has elevated cortisol it can halt or slow down important functions such as digestion, fat burn, proper functioning of the reproductive system, leading to erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in women. Certain studies have also shown that when cortisol is constantly spiked in the body it leads to fat deposition in the belly area, which is also known as toxic fat. Hence it's important to take note of our mental health, and pay attention to it as much as we do to our physical well being. You can be working out and following a proper healthy diet yet if you are constantly stressed with high cortisol present in the body, You wouldn't get the desired results.


Growth hormone

Ever see those big muscles in bodybuilders and people who hit the gym regularly? Its the Growth hormone doing all the magic. Its also known as the "fitness hormone" because it's linked with fat burning and muscle gain.


Growth hormone plays an important factor in a child's overall height, its also acts as a repairman for tissues, increases muscle mass, in adult, hence many athletes and bodybuilders do take it externally so they can keep those muscle pumping. This hormone peaks when a child is in his teenage years when they are growing at a rapid pace.




Role in weight loss

When we are in a state of deep relaxation growth hormone is released from the small pea-shaped pituitary gland located at the back of our brain. All the cells, tissues, muscle growth, and fat burning takes place when we are asleep. Hence sleep is of the utmost importance without which all of the above tasks stayed undone. People who are obese have been shown to have less amount of GH in their bodies compared to people with a normal weight.


Conclusion

Hormones play an important role in pretty much everything we do, Our mood, our desires, fitness, heart health. Therefore its equally important to keep it in balance, Our body is an intelligent mechanism, it knows how to regulate itself we just need to create a proper environment in our mind for everything to function properly, by acknowledging the fact that the mind and body are not separate.

Everything starts with the mind, for example, motivation to do something, the discipline to stick with a diet or a workout, living with fear, jealousy, anxiety, depression. it all plays a huge role in our overall health. Hence we must do all we can to keep everything in balance mentally, the intelligence of the body will take care of the rest.




Rahul Malpe

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