Hormones are chemical messengers that perform certain functions in our body, such as regulating our weight.
Leptin, insulin, as well as sex hormones and growth hormones help influence our appetite, metabolism, and body fat distribution.
When there are excess fat cells, the signalling can become confused, over stimulated and fatigued.
Researchers say that the visceral fat on our abdomens (belly fat) is the most dangerous due to the results of what the fat cells are now telling our bodies.
11 hormones and enzymes that impact belly fat
Leptin controls our appetite by being released into the blood and telling our brain we are full.
Overweight and obese people have more leptin in the blood but it appears as though their body ignores the message that they are full and so they continue to eat beyond their calorie intake requirements.
This is known as leptin resistance and it’s unclear why this occurs. Leptin influences insulin and an increase in leptin can also induce insulin resistance.
In people with a healthy weight, adiponectin levels are quite high, but they drop dramatically in overweight and obese people.
What adiponectin does in the body is important for weight control, as it encourages the metabolism of fatty acids, lipids and saccharides and prevents atherosclerosis from developing.
It also helps to control blood sugar levels and makes the body more sensitive to insulin. If you have smaller amounts of this released, then the metabolism of fats and sugars will be slowed.
It is unclear of the exact role of resistins, but scientists think that the more resistin you have, the more inflammation you will have, as its linked with inflammatory markers.
Most of our bodies oestrogen is produced in fat cells.
If we have excess fat cells, then we produce too much oestrogen, leading to a condition known as oestrogen dominance.
This is linked to conditions such as PCOS, and obesity. Fat distribution linked with excess oestrogen is accumulated around the belly- the ‘apple’ shape.
Armoatase is involved in sex hormone metabolism. It is an enzyme that helps convert testosterone to an oestrogen.
It can be found in lots of cells, not just fat cells, but having excessive fat cells, stimulates more production.
This hormone is produced in pancreas and tells our body to absorb glucose and helps metabolise fats and carbohydrates.
In an overweight or obese person, insulin signals get lost or ignored, known as insulin resistance, and our bodies do not absorb glucose as well as it should.
This is linked tometabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.
Ghrelin is known as the hunger hormone. It’s released in the stomach and tells our body we are hungry.
There’s a greater amount of this hormone in our body before we eat, and lowest after. It has more roles than that though, and it also inhibits insulin secretion, and decreases thermogenesis to regulate energy expenditure.
Unexpectedly, Ghrelin levels are normally lower in people with obesity, and scientists think they are more sensitive to it.
The angiotensin system possibly plays a role in body-fat accumulation and is also involved in blood pressure control.
Angiotensin also stimulates the release of a steroid hormone called aldosterone from the adrenal cortex to promote sodium retention by the kidneys.
9. Lipoprotein Lipase
Lipoprotein lipase is found mainly on the surface of cells within muscles and in fatty tissue.
This enzyme plays an important role in breaking down fat in the form of triglycerides, which are carried from various organs to the blood.
10. Apolipoprotein E
Apolipoprotein E is a protein that combines with fats (lipids) in the body to form molecules called lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are responsible for carrying fats and cholesterol through the bloodstream.
11. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1
Involved in blood clotting, which is one of the reasons why heart disease and stroke are such high risks when obese.
As you can see, being obese triggers your hormones to support you being obese by encouraging more fat cells!
The hormones that impact our appetite and fat metabolism act in reverse when we put on weight, and this leads us to higher risk factors of diseases like heart disease.
The good news, it is preventable and reversible through life style and dietary management!
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