Many people wonder if hormones make them fattening. Do you know which hormones are involved in weight gain? Women are more prone, yes, but why? Can a hormonal disorder influence your physical condition? That’s what we’re going to see.
What is a hormone?
A hormone is a “substance secreted by an endocrine gland, released into the bloodstream and intended to act in a specific way on one or more target organs to modify their functioning” says the Larousse.
Our endocrine system is made up of a dozen glands specialized in the production of a specific hormone. Some of our organs, such as the pancreas, heart, kidneys, ovaries, testes, and intestines, are also capable of producing hormones.
So hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They have very specific functions and several plays a role in weight regulation.
5 hormones that can make you fat
- Insulin: Insulin is secreted by the pancreas. It must maintain the level of glucose in the blood. Insulin stimulates the synthesis of lipids in body fat (1)
- ghrelin: ghrelin is also called “hunger hormone”. Secreted by stomach cells before a meal, it triggers hunger, causing the intake of food;
- cortisol: Cortisol is the “stress hormone”. It is released by the adrenal glands following stimulation of the pituitary gland. It thus provides the body with the necessary energy to cope with a stressful situation. If the cortisol level is too high, it can lead to weight gain;
- leptin: leptin is the opposite of ghrelin. Produced by fat cells, it is the “satiety” hormone. A phenomenon called “leptin resistance” is responsible for the lack of feeling of satiety, although the level of leptin in the body is high;
- glucagon: Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Glucagon has the opposite function of insulin, as it causes blood sugar levels to rise.
Thus, all these hormones make some people gain weight. When the production of one of the hormones is too much or too little, a hormonal disorder occurs. This will directly affect our health and well-being.
Hormone treatment can help restore balance, but it can also be the cause of another hormonal problem if dosages are not regularly controlled.
Women and their hormones: the battle of a lifetime
In addition to men, women possess ovarian hormones that influence their lives from puberty to menopause. These are estrogen and progesterone.
- Estrogen: Estrogen is the hormone of femininity. It is under its action, that at puberty, young girls develop. The breasts grow larger and the lower body becomes rounder. Thus, estrogen contributes to the production of fat, ensuring the necessary reserves for reproduction. In the event of hormonal problems, when estrogen is not balanced by progesterone or is produced in too large quantities, weight gain occurs
- Progesterone: it prepares the mucous membrane for the implantation of the egg in case of fertilization. In the case of hormonal disorder or if there is no ovulation, there will be no production of progesterone.
At menopause, hormonal changes are inevitable, but weight gain is not inevitable. So, yes, hormones make you gain weight, but there are also several ways to limit or even avoid this phenomenon.
Also read: Why do men get fatter as they get older