Hormones & Weightloss

 

Hormones control every system in the body, and they certainly have a significant impact on a person’s weight.

As a brief summary of what these hormones are, consider the following:

Thyroid:

Thyroid controls metabolism in every cell of the body, and a low level can contribute to fat deposition all over the body. Cracked heels, poor nails, and a body temperature of 97 or below are suggestive signs of a low thyroid level.

Estrogen/Insulin:

Excess levels of estrogen can lead to increased fat around the hips, thighs, and buttocks. An increase in insulin puts on fat around the middle.

Leptin:

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that helps to curb our appetite. Using MCT oil can increase leptin levels and help with weight loss. Ghrelin is a hormone produced by intestinal cells that increases our appetite. Obviously, the less ghrelin you have, the easier it is to lose weight. Meals that are high in protein and fat, and low in carbs produce the least amount of ghrelin, and allow you to go longer periods without hunger.

Cortisol:

Which now leaves us with the two hormones that have the most significant impact on our weight. Most people are aware of the influence that cortisol has on increasing weight. It is fairly well known that the body releases cortisol in response to stress. We are subjected to stress throughout the day, and we can also be subjected to stress while we are sleeping or trying to sleep. When exposed to stress, the body releases cortisol to help mitigate it. The initial response of cortisol is to raise sugar levels (glucose) via a process called glycogenolysis. In this situation, glycogen stored in the liver is converted into glucose.

Adrenaline:

So far, everything I have mentioned is relatively well accepted. But there is another piece to this puzzle of why we gain weight that is generally not thought of and certainly not considered. This additional piece is the last hormone that needs to be addressed, and is certainly the most significant. What I am talking about is adrenaline. Most people think of adrenaline as the "fight-or-flight" hormone.

In fact, this hormone is released in large amounts when we are in danger. However, if danger was the primary cause for the release of adrenaline, believe me, there would be a lot fewer people fighting weight issues. In actuality, the primary function of adrenaline is to make sure that the brain has enough sugar (glucose) to function. Most people are unaware that the brain utilizes more sugar per weight than any other area of the body. Anytime the body detects that the brain is low in fuel, it automatically releases adrenaline to raise glucose levels via a process called gluconeogenesis - the conversion of protein into sugar. It is the release of adrenaline that is the cause of stress which in turn leads to the release of cortisol.

It is easy to appreciate how the stress we get exposed to during the day can create large amounts of sugar due to the action of adrenaline and cortisol, but this is compounded significantly at night when a person is sleeping, or trying to sleep. Adrenaline reaches its highest level around 2:30 am, which is the time the brain runs out of fuel. The release of adrenaline creates stress to the body, which then releases cortisol to deal with the stress. The thing about sugar is that it does not matter whether you are eating it, or whether the body is producing it, if it is not burnt up then the body stores the sugar in fat cells where it is converted into fat. So here is a situation where the body is producing two hormones that create sugar while a person is sleeping. I strongly suspect that this is the number one formula for creating fat.

So as we enter a new year, and people are making their resolutions, I would very much like to suggest that for those people resolving to lose weight, that they resolve to approach their weight issue from the cause.

Let us help you. We specialize in the management of excess adrenaline. Please read my recent Blog on how excessive adrenaline may be effecting your weight during your sleep. My book "Adrenaline Dominance" is available on my website or Amazon.

Michael E. Platt, M.D., has been board-certified in internal medicine. He has an office in Palm Desert, CA, devoted to wellness, hormones and supplement online store. He provide answers to questions at questions@plattwellness.com. He is known nationally and internationally as a specialist in bio-identical hormones. He is also the author of “The Miracle of Bio-identical Hormones” and “The Platt Protocol for Hormone Balancing” – a wellness manual for healthcare practitioners.

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9 comments
  • Hi Ali,

    Allow me to make some comments. Progesterone cream (not the pill), is a thermogenic (fat-burning hormone). However, it can cause weight gain for several reasons. If used with a 2-3% strength it can attach to estrogen receptor sites and act like estrogen which is a lipogenic (fat-creating) hormone. One of the benefits of progesterone is that it does create some degree of insulin resistance. This prevents people from getting sleepy in the afternoon when insulin levels peak,and from getting sleepy while driving. However, if patients do not provide the correct fuel for the brain or have a condition called Type 3 diabetes (insulin resistance in the brain), progesterone can actually increase adrenaline which in turn can cause weight gain.

    Your trouble with insomnia certainly suggests excess adrenaline, and your avoiding carbs suggests low levels of glucose for the brain. Your aches and pains suggest the possibility of fibromyalgia (I am not diagnosing you), a condition caused by adrenaline and is very easy to eliminate. The persistent release of adrenaline causes glucose levels to rise and thus insulin levels. At the same time, the stress created by adrenaline leads to the release of cortisol, which also raises glucose levels and insulin contributing to weight gain.

    In the meantime, I would suggest you follow the meal plan available on my website (www.plattwellness.com) and use a 5% progesterone cream at least four times a day. If you are following the meal plan and progesterone seems to increase your adrenaline, please get in touch with me (760-836-3232).
    Let me know if I can help with your thyroid situation and please let me know how you are doing.

    Michael E. Platt, MD

    Michael E. Platt on
  • Hi Dr Platt, I started using prog. as soon as I went into menopause, I started with Ona’s 10%, 100mg morning and night, then gradually decreased it to 50mg morning and night, all that time I continued to gain weight and haven’t slept through the night for 25yrs, I have a very health diet no sugar, or white products, yet my insulin rose out of range. My doc said I was causing my own insulin res. with the prog. I have slowly decreased it over the last 6 months due to reading so much on the internet, “prog. causes weight gain”, “prog increases copper therefore estrogen”, I am so confused. Well things have gotten worse, more weight, and the sore back and hips in bed, which keeps me constantly waking, the neck and upper back pain, and I have also had trouble with thyroid. RAI 30 years ago, have decreased my SRT3 to 5mcg (T3 was very high), but I am still getting the surges your other reader commented on, but mine comes straight after I eat. My legs and arms go weak, fatigue is terrible, and my heart is pounding in my neck, it feels like I’m running, breathing through my mouth because I feel like I can’t get enough air. I read your posts 3 days ago, and immediately increased back up to 50mg straight before breakfast, it worked the first day, but not today, muscles are so tight after a little walk. I am also doing a mineral balancing program because I was prescribed too much zinc over a 10 year period, and am trying to increase my ceruoplasmin. Do you talk about diet in the book if I buy it because that’s the only thing I must be doing wrong? Also I don’t quite understand the adrenaline at night, isn’t that normal if nobody eats at night, and how does insulin fit in, if I’m eating alright? And also isn’t low prog a normal state in menopause, or does stress/trauma have an effect on adrenaline? Sorry for the long post.

    Ali on
  • Hi, I am a 58 year old woman that is post menopausal. I have done a saliva test twice now. The first time was in 2016 which said I was estrogen dominant and the 2nd in 2020, which said my estrogen was so low not on the chart. My questions is if my estrogen is low, wouldn’t I need estrogen? I am confused about what bio-identical cream I should use, Progesterone or Estrogen? Thank you for your help.

    KIMBERLY A LAUER on
  • Hi, I am a 58 year old woman that is post menopausal. I have done a saliva test twice now. The first time was in 2016 which said I was estrogen dominant and the 2nd in 2020, which said my estrogen was so low not on the chart. My questions is if my estrogen is low, wouldn’t I need estrogen? I am confused about what bio-identical cream I should use, Progesterone or Estrogen? Thank you for your help.

    KIMBERLY A LAUER on
  • Mary – Reply to 2nd question: Progesterone is a thermogenic (fat-burning) hormone. It does not cause weight gain. Since it also blocks insulin, it should help with weight loss. Perhaps the weight gain was due to the decrease in thyroid? If you are having sleep issues, or neck tension, or cold hands or feet, then you are still producing too much adrenaline which is causing a weight increase.

    Michael E. Platt on

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