Hormones and Weight Loss: Your Body is Fighting You

hormones-and-weight-lossJust when you thought losing weight was hard, new studies have revealed that keeping it off may be even more of a struggle.

In an Australian study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, participants were asked to lose at least 10 percent of their body weight through regular exercise and a highly restricted diet for one year.

Their hormones were measured both before and after losing the weight, and the long-term results were surprising.

Soon after the individuals lost weight, their metabolism slowed and hormonal changes had increased their appetite. These hormonal changes did not return to the levels before the study had started, even after a year of maintaining a steady routine.

Although the study was limited and further research needs to be conducted, it gave some valuable insight into why some people struggle to keep the weight at bay.

“It is showing something I believe in deeply,” says Dr. Stephen Bloom, an obesity researcher, “it is very hard to lose weight. . .your hormones work against you.”

While you can’t blame all of your weight gain on your hormones (after all, your lifestyle plays a key role as well), you can certainly trace your need to eat, eat, EAT on some of the hormones listed below.


Ghrelin is a hunger hormone that is produced in the stomach and sends signals to your brain that you are hungry.

According to Dr. David Cummings, an endocrinologist, “ghrelin is the first and only yet-described appetite-stimulating hormone,” and studies have shown that individuals who lost weight by simply cutting calories had significantly elevated levels of ghrelin on a regular basis – even after 12 months of consistent dieting.

Fortunately, there’s a two-part attack to losing weight: dieting and exercise. Exercise can actually decrease ghrelin levels, helping you to feel full so you can keep your hormones and weight loss in check.


On the opposite end of the weight loss scale, Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells that tells your brain to eat less and burn more calories. The higher your BMI, the higher your Leptin levels – which sounds like a good thing right?

Unfortunately, too much Leptin can lead to a condition known as Leptin Resistance, which means your brain will no longer respond to its signals, which is also why increasing Leptin levels through diet pills and supplements won’t give you the appetite suppressing results you’re hoping for.

According to Christine Browne, spokesperson for Amgen, “Treatment with high-dose leptin did not achieve the clinical or commercial hurdles necessary.”

As it turns out, the only way to increase Leptin sensitivity is to decrease your weight – which at the same time decreases Leptin production. A pretty vicious circle if there ever was one.


Adiponectin is another hormone released by fat cells. It’s a natural metabolism booster due to its abilities to encourage the conversion of carbohydrates into energy. It also influences the body’s response to insulin, and it offers anti-inflammatory effects on the cells lining the walls of blood vessels.

But that’ s not all it can do.hormones-and-weight-loss3

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered that higher levels of Adiponectin in mice significantly reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease.

How do you increase the production of this helpful hormone?

Philipp Scherer, PhD and leader of the study explains, “exercise and reduction of food intake are the best ways to stay healthy.”

Final Thoughts

Ghrelin, Leptin, and Adiponectin are just 3 hormones out of many that could be influencing your body’s ability to lose the weight and keep it off –and there are many more that can demonstrate the link between hormones and weight loss such as HGH, epinephrine, cck, and insulin.

However, just because your body is fighting you every step of the way doesn’t mean that losing weight and keeping it off is impossible.

It just means you need to take a step back and find a method that works for you.


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