Myths about How Your Hormones Affect Your Weight

In the pursuit of weight loss, many begin to closely monitor the state of hormones, but often become victims of fundamentally incorrect statements about their relationship. In our article, we will “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” in this matter.

Hormones are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. They help regulate metabolism, immune and reproductive systems, mood, and appetite. Hormonal imbalances can contribute to health problems such as anxiety, fatigue, depression, and obesity.

At the same time, there are many myths concerning the relationship between excess weight and hormones, which are dangerous primarily because they form a misconception about hormonal health.

Myth #1: Hormonal imbalances are the most common cause of obesity.

If we turn to statistics, it becomes clear that the main cause of obesity is an energy imbalance, in which the calorie content of the diet exceeds the energy needs of the body. In 95% of cases, people gain weight due to malnutrition and low physical activity, and only 5% due to diseases of the endocrine system.

Myth #2: Autoimmune thyroiditis is often manifested by being overweight.

With autoimmune thyroiditis, the function of the thyroid gland decreases: the cells of the immune system perceive the tissue of the organ as alien cells and begin to fight against them. As a result, the concentration of thyroid hormones, which are responsible for wakefulness and mental energy, decreases in the body. They also control metabolism, enhance lipolysis and inhibit the formation and deposition of fat.

Autoimmune thyroiditis can cause weight gain. However, weight gain does not always happen. Most often, it is within 3-5 kg and takes place due to swelling of the tissues. In addition, the disease occurs in 3-4% of the world’s population, and about 30% suffer from obesity to one degree or another.

Myth #3: Insulin resistance is the cause of obesity

On the Internet, there is a lot of advice from “nutrition experts” who call insulin resistance the cause of obesity and recommend treating it with a ton of dietary supplements. The truth is that extra weight provokes insulin resistance and not vice versa.

Currently, a large number of scientific studies confirm the relationship between obesity and the formation of insulin resistance. With an increase in body weight by 35–40% of the norm, tissue sensitivity to insulin decreases by 40%.

How does it work? Insulin regulates blood sugar levels and energy balance. It is secreted by the pancreas during meals. At this moment, brain cells read the signal, take nutrients, and are saturated with them.

With insulin resistance, the sensitivity of cells to insulin is reduced, and they do not immediately respond to signals. As a result, the level of sugar rises, and the feeling of hunger intensifies.

Myth #4: Increased prolactin inevitably leads to obesity.

Prolactin regulates milk production during breastfeeding. The hormone is formed in the pituitary gland and stimulates the appetite of a breastfeeding woman. Thus, she consumes more calories – for herself and the child.

Indeed, elevated prolactin can cause weight gain. Yet, you need to understand that a high concentration of this hormone in the blood is a symptom of serious health problems. For example, pathologies of the brain, neoplasms of the pituitary gland, kidney and liver failure. Prolactin can increase with stress and provoke swelling.

The conclusion is simple: hormones can indeed affect weight, but still the main cause of obesity is a calorie surplus.

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