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10 Hormones Responsible For Weight Gain In Women

By Archana Mukherji

Maintaining a healthy weight is the ambition of every woman. However, a woman goes through a lot of changes in the body which can affect her weight.

It is not only healthy food that can help a woman maintain healthy weight. Certain hormonal imbalances in women can also lead to weight gain in women.

Food cravings, stubborn belly fat, slow metabolism, indigestion and low energy levels are all symptoms of hormonal imbalances that can hinder a woman's ability to achieve a healthy physique.

hormones for weight gain in women

Shedding of weight due to hormonal imbalance is all the more difficult because they are stubborn fats. Hormones in one's body control critical activities such as metabolism, menopause, glucose intake and inflammation.

There could be varied reasons for hormonal imbalances in women, the major factor being the stress that she undergoes. Other factors could be age, genes and poor lifestyle choices.

In a nutshell, an imbalanced hormone level in women can lead to all obesity-related issues.

In this article we shall discuss in detail some of the hormones which are responsible for unwanted weight gain in women.

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1. Thyroid:

Thyroid is a small gland that is present at the base of your neck. The thyroid gland produces three major hormones - T3, T4 and calcitonin. These hormones play a vital role in regulating metabolism, sleep, heart rate, growth and brain development.

When the thyroid gland under-produces the thyroid hormones, it leads to a situation called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a major reason for weight gain, depression, constipation, fatigue, high blood cholesterol and slow heart rate.

Imbalance of thyroid hormones can be easily detected by a simple blood test. If your report is found to have thyroid issues, it is good to consult your doctor immediately.

Also, ensure that you consume iodized salt and eat well cooked food instead of raw veggies. Consume foods rich in vitamin D and zinc. Most importantly, do not forget to regularly consume the thyroid medicines prescribed by your doctor.

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2. Insulin:

Pancreas is a small gland that produces a hormone called insulin. This insulin regulates the blood sugar, also called glucose, in your body. Imbalance of this insulin can cause obesity in women. If you tend to eat sugary foods throughout the day, you keep your insulin working overtime to clear the sugar from the blood.

The extra sugar is stored as fat by insulin and thereby you suffer from weight gain or obesity. One easy method to check your blood sugar levels is to do a simple blood test and consult your doctor.

Avoiding processed foods, alcohol, aerated and artificially sweetened drinks can help a lot in keeping your blood sugar levels normal. Ensure you drink about 3 to 4 litres of water.

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3. Leptin:

The hormone leptin is a great indicator of the quantity of food your body requires. Under normal conditions, it is this hormone that signals you that you are full and you ought to stop eating.

With the overconsumption of sugary and processed foods, the oversupply of fructose gets converted into fat that gets deposited in the liver, belly and other regions of the body. These fat calls secrete leptin and as the secretion of leptin increases, the brain stops receiving the signals to eat less.

Ultimately, you end up in weight gain. Getting proper sleep, eating in small quantities every 2 hours and keeping yourself well hydrated can help a lot.

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4. Ghrelin:

Ghrelin is also called the "hunger hormone" and this stimulates appetite, thereby increasing the deposition of fat. It is mainly secreted by the stomach; however, small quantities of this are also secreted by the small intestine, brain and pancreas.

The higher the levels of ghrelin in your blood stream, the more weight gain you encounter. Obese people are more sensitive to this hormone.

The other cases when the ghrelin levels are high in the blood stream are when people are on strict diet or fasting. Eating regularly and keeping yourself active can help a lot here.

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5. Oestrogen:

Oestrogen levels need to be normal, both high and low levels are harmful and can lead to weight gain. This hormone is produced by the ovarian cells in women. When the oestrogen levels are abnormal, the body starts converting all available sources of energy to fat, which results in weight gain.

Avoid eating processed foods, especially processed meat; avoiding alcohol and regular workouts or yoga can help keep your oestrogen levels normal.

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6. Cortisol:

Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. It is considered to be a steroid. It is mainly secreted when you are stressed, tensed, depressed, anxious, nervous, angry or physically injured. Energy regulation and energy mobilization are the two major roles that cortisol plays in your body.

The increased secretion of cortisol increases visceral fat deposition and stimulates the maturation of fat cells. Lack of stress and worry, proper sleep and healthy food can help a lot.

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7. Testosterone:

This is mainly a hormone that is generated in men, however, women are also prone to low levels of this hormone. Testosterone plays a vital role in burning fat, strengthening bones and muscles and improves libido. This hormone in women is produced by the ovary.

Lower levels of testosterone can increase stress and inflammation leading to more fat accumulation. Avoiding alcohol, regular workouts and eating fibre-rich foods can help in keeping this hormone at normal levels.

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8. Progesterone:

In women, it is vital that the two hormones progesterone and oestrogen are in balance for the proper functioning of the body. The levels of progesterone hormone can drop due to several factors like menopause, stress, use of contraceptive pills, or due to consumption of certain foods.

This eventually results in weight gain and depression. Avoiding stress & processed foods, adequate sleep and regular exercise can help in keeping the progesterone at appropriate levels.

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9. Melatonin:

This hormone is secreted by the pineal gland and helps to maintain the sleeping and rising time. When this circadian rhythm is disrupted, you do not get adequate sleep, resulting in stress, which ultimately leads to inflammation-induced weight gain. Sleeping well, avoiding late night snacks and turning off gadgets before going to bed can help a lot.

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10. Glucocorticoids:

Glucocorticoids help reduce inflammation and regulate the use of sugar, fats and proteins in the body. With the imbalance of this hormone, sugar levels in the blood rise due to insulin resistance in the body. This in turn can lead to obesity and diabetes, if untreated.

Eat healthy, reduce stress, work out regularly, drink adequate water and get good sleep to keep this hormone level normal. Always consult a doctor for advice and avoid self-medication.

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    Read more about: hormones weight gain
    Story first published: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 14:28 [IST]
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