- The role of the thyroid
About 1 in 8 women will be affected by a thyroid condition at some point.
Hypothyroidism slows down the body’s metabolism, in an attempt to help to regulate heartbeat and temperature, leading to reduced circulation that causes cold hands, cold feet, and weight gain.
Weight is strongly associated with metabolic rate and in studies, higher metabolic rates are linked to elevated levels of thyroid hormones.
Furthermore, research suggests that hypothyroidism can lead to low stomach acid and poor small intestine health. More specifically, studies show that hypothyroidism may cause bile to supersaturate in cholesterol causing impaired gallbladder function. If food is not properly digested, it may impact weight.
- Estrogen imbalance
Through the aging process, it’s common to experience fluctuations in weight, and those changes are often a result of hormonal imbalance, specifically too little progesterone and too much estrogen.
To be clear estrogen can have two different effects.
- Excess estrogen can often cause weight gain. Consider when you start puberty and gain weight.
- However, sometimes it can it can make a woman feel hyperactive, leading to weight loss.
There is usually a finely-tuned balance between estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. But as we age, that balance changes. As a woman reaches her mid-30s, her levels of progesterone start to decline.
It’s key to resolve this imbalance between estrogen and progesterone because it may alter the body’s metabolism.
When addressing weight gain related to hormonal imbalances, there are several actionable steps one can take:
Keep the liver healthy
Your liver is your filtration system. Along with being the great detoxifier of the body, the liver also produces bile and enzymes, hormones, and proteins.
- The liver converts T4 to T3 so we need it working optimally.
- The liver excretes hormones like estrogen.
- The liver produces bile.
- The liver produces hormones like SHGB.
Support liver health by consuming enough protein and B vitamin.
Keep stress low
Cortisol blocking drugs are now being studied as a catalyst for weight loss.
There’s a reason for that! Cortisol can promote weight gain and lowering it often leads to sustained weight loss.
Unsurprisingly, excess cortisol can contribute to weight gain and a common side effect of Cushing’s syndrome is known as a fat pad.
There are different ways people handle stress. These may include meditation, certain herbs, and adequate sun exposure.
Muscle mass and weight
Muscle mass is key to maintaining a healthy weight.
Studies show people with more muscle mass also have a higher metabolism.
-Studies show high protein intake increases muscle mass even without training. The high protein group ate 210 g of protein a day and lost fat mass and built muscle mass WITHOUT doing any training. In addition, their blood lipid parameters were normalized.
Vitamin D deficiency impairs muscles by lowering energy production. One study concluded “Our results show there is a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and oxidative capacity in skeletal muscle. They suggest that vitamin D deficiency decreases mitochondrial function, as opposed to reducing the number of mitochondria in skeletal muscle” (Jour Endocrinology, 2021).
In aging and stress, muscles shrink, so it is key to spend some time doing resistant training to keep muscles strong. Maintaining muscle is also great for hormone optimization as muscle itself produces testosterone.
Managing weight gain related to hormonal imbalances involves a multifaceted approach and we at Moment are here to help.