Most hormonal problems are characterized by weight loss resistance and poor wellbeing and have a lot of pitfalls such as blood sugar problems, dental issues, increased anxiety, chronic inflammation, leaky gut, changes in your microbiome, and so on.
One of the main triggers of weight loss resistance is excess insulin which causes your cells to absorb too much sugar from your blood. However, other hormones can also affect your weight and overall health. Three big ones are cortisol, thyroid, and sex hormones. Let’s review them and find out how they affect our bodies.
1. Adrenal hormonal imbalance
Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol levels and activate metabolic pathways that cause weight gain and insulin resistance. Cortisol is produced by adrenal glands. It helps you run faster, hear better, see further and gives you quick energy, that is, activates fight or flight mode that helped us survive in caveman times. This hormone is also able to slow down metabolism and digestion.
If high cortisol levels can be helpful in the short term, constant high cortisol levels can do a number on your hormonal background and lead to high blood pressure, muscle loss, high blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat. The best ways to normalize cortisol levels are stress management and physical activity, especially yoga and breathing exercises. If you can’t get rid of stress and anxiety, consult a mental health professional or psychologist to learn healthy ways of combating chronic stress.
2. Sex hormone imbalance
Your body produces two main sex hormones – testosterone and estrogen. If levels of one of them become too high or too low, it may affect your health. Too high estrogen levels always lead to weight gain in both women and men. Such things as sugar and alcohol abuse and eating too many refined carbs can spike your estrogen. A healthy gut can regulate female hormones while gut problems often lead to estrogen imbalance. Imbalance is often caused by eating too few foods containing fiber and taking too many antibiotics, which makes your body unable to properly excrete waste. Environmental toxins can also be to blame. Toxins, such as pesticides, are called xenoestrogens since they enter your body and act like estrogen. Female hormone imbalance in women can lead to:
- Fluid retention
- Severe PMS symptoms
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
Oftentimes, women with estrogen imbalance experience gum inflammation, especially during their periods. If during menstruation, your gums become inflamed, first, consult your family dentist to determine the cause of this issue. You may also need to visit an endocrinologist.
Excess estrogen in men can provoke:
- a beer belly
- loss of body hair
Low testosterone levels in men contribute to:
- Weak bones and osteoporosis
- Muscle loss
- Low sex drive
- Brain fog
Such factors as alcohol abuse, lack of physical activity, and chronic stress can lower testosterone levels. While many things can lead to these problems and other hormonal imbalances, diet and lifestyle play key roles.
3. Thyroid problems
Thyroid health is essential for our health as the thyroid gland influences the function of the brain, kidneys, heart, liver, and even skin. It also plays a big role in maintaining a healthy weight and thyroid dysfunction and can significantly change your BMI. Lack of nutrients, improper diet, environmental toxins, and other factors can cause thyroid hormone imbalance. Gluten intolerance is the main cause of hypothyroidism which accounts for up to 30 percent of the thyroid-attacking autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s. In many cases, it’s recommended to work with a functional practitioner to find the cause of thyroid issues and get proper treatment.