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Hormones And Weight Loss


Your weight is determined by the amount of energy you take in from food and drinks and by the amount of energy you burn through physical activity and normal bodily functions.

Gaining weight results from consuming more energy than you expend. You’ll drop pounds if you expend more energy than you take in.

However, weight loss is not always that simple. Many factors can affect your weight, including your hormones.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the role of hormones in weight loss and how you can optimize your hormone levels for successful weight loss.

What Role Do Hormones Play In Weight Loss?

When trying to lose weight, hormones are crucial. They are responsible for regulating metabolism, energy levels, and hunger.

Weight gain might result from hormonal imbalances. Many people who are struggling to lose weight find that balancing their hormone levels is the key to success[1].

Many different hormones can affect weight loss as well as helps in doing weight loss which is discussed below.

If you are struggling to lose weight, it is important to talk to your doctor about your hormone levels. They can help you find the right balance of hormones for your body.

Hormones Crucial For Weight Loss

Many hormones play a role in regulating weight, but some are more important than others.

  1. Leptin

    Leptin is a hormone that plays an important[2] role in regulating body weight. Leptin tells the brain when it is present in high concentrations that the body is full and doesn’t require food.

    This leads to feelings of fullness and reduces the urge to eat.

    Leptin levels are typically[3] highest after a meal and decrease when fasting. This is why leptin is often called the satiety hormone.

  2. Ghrelin

    The stomach produces[4] the hormone known as ghrelin. It is known as the “hunger hormone” because of its role in regulating hunger and appetite.

    Additionally, ghrelin controls how much weight a person has. When levels of ghrelin are high, it can lead to increased hunger and weight gain.

    However, ghrelin can cause weight loss when levels are low. Ghrelin is effective in aiding[5] weight loss.

    People who injected ghrelin before meals lost more weight than those who did not receive the hormone. Ghrelin appears to be a promising aid in weight loss.

  3. Insulin

    The hormone insulin helps to regulate[6] metabolism and fat storage in the body. In addition, insulin has been shown to promote weight loss.

    When levels of insulin are low, the body is more likely to burn fat for energy. Therefore, by keeping insulin levels low, you can promote[7] weight loss and help to maintain a healthy weight.

  4. Cortisol

    Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released in response[8] to threat or perceived danger.

    It is often referred to as the “fight or flight” hormone because it helps to prepare the body for physical activity.

    Cortisol also plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and the metabolism of fat and protein.

    Cortisol levels can vary depending on the time of day, with levels typically being highest in the morning and lowest at night.

    However, cortisol levels can also spike in response to stress or other triggers.

    How does all of this relate to weight loss, then? Well, cortisol has been shown to help the body break down and use stored fat for energy. This process[9] is known as lipolysis.

    Cortisol also helps to regulate[10] appetite, which can lead to reduced calorie intake and weight loss. If you are looking to lose weight, cortisol may be a helpful hormone to target.

    However, it is important to speak with a doctor before starting any weight loss program, as there are risks associated with it.

  5. Estrogen

    It is well-known that estrogen helps to regulate a woman’s body, but did you know that it can also help with weight loss?

    Estrogen is a hormone that is produced[11] by the ovaries and it plays a vital role in a woman’s reproductive health.

    It also helps to regulate a woman’s metabolism and can have a positive impact on weight loss.

    There are a few different ways that estrogen can help with weight loss. First, it can help to increase a woman’s metabolism.

    This can lead to more calories being burned and can help to shed unwanted pounds.

    Additionally, estrogen can help to reduce[12] appetite and cravings, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet.

    If you’re looking to lose weight, estrogen may be able to help. If you want to know if estrogen therapy is the appropriate choice for you, talk to your doctor.

  6. Neuropeptide Y

    Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a peptide[13] that plays an important role in regulating energy balance and body weight.

    NPY is secreted by the hypothalamus, and it has been shown to increase food intake and promote weight gain.

    In contrast, NPY antagonists have been shown to reduce food intake and promote weight loss. NPY has also been shown to influence the body’s response to stress.

    When we are stressed, our bodies release NPY, which can lead to increased appetite and weight gain. NPY antagonists may help to reduce stress-induced weight gain.

    Overall, NPY appears to play a significant role in regulating energy balance and body weight.

    NPY antagonists may be useful in the treatment[14] of obesity and other weight-related disorders.

  7. Glucagon-Like Peptide-1

    Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that helps to regulate[15] appetite and metabolism.

    GLP-1 is released in the gut in response to food intake and regulates blood sugar levels. GLP-1 also promotes satiety (feeling of fullness) and weight loss.

    Overall, the evidence[16] suggests that GLP-1 can help to promote weight loss in obese individuals.

    If you are struggling to lose weight, talk to your doctor about whether GLP-1 therapy may be right for you.

  8. Cholecystokinin

    Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a hormone that plays[17] a role in appetite control and digestion.

    CCK is released when food enters the small intestine, and it signals the body to release enzymes that break down fat and protein.

    CCK also slows the emptying of the stomach, which helps[18] you feel fuller for longer after eating.

    It can help promote weight loss by reducing food intake and increasing energy expenditure.

    In a study,[19] it was seen that overweight and obese mice who were injected with CCK before meals ate less than those who did not take CCK injections.

    Also, CCK injections increased energy expenditure and fat oxidation in these mice. If you are looking to lose weight, CCK may be a helpful hormone to target. 

  9. Testosterone

    Testosterone is a male sex hormone that plays a key role[20] in many body functions, including reproduction, muscle mass, bone density, and red blood cell production.

    It’s also been linked to a variety of health benefits, such as improved heart health, cognitive function, and mood.

    Testosterone may help with weight loss. Obese men who were treated with testosterone lost an average of 30 pounds over one year.

    What’s more, they also had a reduction in body fat and an increase in muscle mass. The results suggest[21] that testosterone could be a helpful addition to a weight loss program.

    If you’re considering trying testosterone for weight loss, be sure to talk to your doctor first to see if it’s right for you.

  10. Thyroid

    To control metabolism, hormones are produced[22] by the thyroid gland. Weight gain or loss might result from a thyroid hormone imbalance.

    For people who are trying to lose weight, raising[23] thyroid hormone levels can be an effective strategy.

    One way to do this is by taking thyroid hormone supplements. These supplements can help to increase metabolism and promote weight loss.

    If you are considering taking thyroid hormone supplements for weight loss, it is important to speak with a doctor first.

    Supplements can have negative side effects and aren’t necessarily recommended for everyone.

All of these hormones play a key role in weight regulation. When levels of these hormones are out of balance, it can lead to weight gain.

To do weight loss, it is crucial to maintain the balance of these hormones.

Common Hormone Imbalances Affecting Weight Loss

There are a variety of hormone imbalances that can affect weight loss. Among the more common ones are:

  1. Hypothyroidism

    This disorder results[24] from insufficient thyroid hormone production by the thyroid gland. As a result, weight loss may be challenging. This can slow down the metabolism.

  2. Insulin Resistance

    This occurs when the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, making it difficult to regulate blood sugar levels. As a result[25], you can gain weight and develop cravings.

  3. PCOS

    Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition[26] that affects women and can cause irregular periods, excess hair growth, and fertility problems. Losing weight may become challenging as a result.

  4. Cortisol Imbalance

    The stress hormone cortisol, if it is out of balance, can lead[27] to weight gain.

    If you are struggling to lose weight, it’s important to speak to your doctor to see if there’s a hormone imbalance that may be contributing to the problem.

How Can You Optimize Your Hormone Levels For Weight Loss?

There are a variety of hormone levels that affect weight loss. So, optimizing your hormone levels for weight loss can be a helpful strategy.

Here are some tips on how you can optimize your hormone levels for weight loss:

  • Get adequate sleep: Sleep deprivation can lead[28] to weight gain by affecting hormones such as cortisol and insulin.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise can help to improve[29] insulin sensitivity and increase levels of hormones such as leptin and adiponectin, which can help with weight loss.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can lead to weight gain by affecting hormones such as cortisol. Try to reduce[30] stress in your life by meditating, spending time in nature, and getting regular massages.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to improve[31] hormone levels and promote weight loss. Make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit unhealthy fats and processed foods.

Final Remark

There are a lot of factors that play into weight loss, and hormones are just one of them. While some hormones can contribute to weight gain, some hormones can promote weight loss.

So, if you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to understand the role that hormones play.

If you are struggling to lose weight, speak to your doctor about other factors that may be affecting your weight loss.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

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  16. Jamy Ard, Angela Fitch, Sharon Fruh, et al. Weight Loss and Maintenance Related to the Mechanism of Action of Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists Adv Ther. 2021 Jun;38(6):2821-2839. doi: 10.1007/s12325-021-01710-0. Epub 2021 May 11. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33977495/
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