Ask anyone if they know a hormone that causes weight loss. Most people will mention the thyroid hormone. That’s true, but did you know there are actually six hormones that impact fat loss? The Hormone Boost is your comprehensive guide to powering up the group I refer to as “the fat-loss six.” These super performers help us get lean and strong in two key ways: they directly stimulate metabolism, or the breakdown of body-fat stores for energy, and they stimulate fat loss by supporting the growth of metabolically active muscle. Here’s how:
Thyroid Hormones (TSH, Free T3 and Free T4)
The masters of your metabolism, these hormones drive every single cell in your body. It all starts with TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). TSH, in turn, stimulates thyroxine (free T4), which is then converted to triiodothyronine (free T3). When all three are functioning properly and produced in the correct amounts, your metabolism is a fat-burning machine. And that’s what we’re aiming for!
Tip for a boost: Have a cheat meal once a week. It keeps your body guessing, your metabolism revving and prevents a dip in active thyroid hormone, T3, that naturally declines when you excessively restrict calories or consume the same amounts daily.
Also known as epinephrine, adrenaline is responsible for revving you up (think fight-or-flight response and all the physical effects it has on your body). This handy hormone allows the body to free up the fats and sugars it’s stored so that we have that burst of energy we need when we really need it.
Tip for a boost: Enjoy a coffee prior to your workout—with cream and cinnamon. And make your workout a circuit training, strength-based session as both the coffee and this type of training stimulate an adrenalin boost.
Think of glucagon as insulin’s helpful opposite: Rather than lowering blood sugar by transporting glucose from the bloodstream (and into liver, muscle and fat cells) for storage as glycogen or fat, glucagon raises blood sugar by breaking down the fat and glycogen that were stored.
Tip for a boost: We can tap into this awesome hormone through exercising, consuming
protein, or experiencing a dip in blood sugar.
Adiponectin isn’t nearly as well known as the previous three hormones—and that’s really too bad. This fantastic hormone is produced in and sent out from your fat cells, but it’s also got a direct and reciprocal relationship with them, which means that although it’s produced by your fat cells, it actually helps burn up fat! Even better, the higher your adiponectin levels, the higher your energy and caloric expenditure. And because it increases insulin sensitivity, it also improves glucose tolerance and inhibits inflammation.
Tip for a boost: Exercise boosts adiponectin. If you can’t get to the gym, add olive oil to your breakfast, a source of fibre to each of your meals and consume more tomato paste—all of these boost adiponectin. You can also take a supplement of zinc picolinate (a dose of 30 to 50 mg, at bedtime, for 12 weeks has been proven to do the trick).
The Androgenic Hormones (DHEA and Testosterone)
Let’s talk about sex, baby! And, by that I mean sex hormones. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone—yes, that’s a real word, and a really important hormone) comes from the adrenal glands and leads the charge for estrogen and testosterone. A DHEA boost is definitely part of your hormonal powering up because of its ability to support metabolically active muscle growth.
Muscle growth is key to fat loss, so attending to DHEA is part of this program. DHEA will support your immune system, improve tissue repair and sleep and neutralize the impact of cortisol (the stress hormone), among a host of other benefits.
And testosterone? It’s almost impossible to build muscle mass without enough of this hormone—for both men and women—and testosterone is also connected to improvements in libido, bone density, strength, motivation, memory, fat-burning and skin tone.
Tip for a boost: Boosting this dynamic duo is a huge part of realizing your health and vitality goals. Top up your testosterone by eating the right type of starchy carb at your evening meal. A carb-free diet will drop testosterone and increase stress hormones. Get your DHEA with the herbal blend called Relora—one capsule on rising and two before bed. It’s proven in studies to increase DHEA and lower cortisol in just two weeks!
The Growth and Rejuvenation Hormones (Growth Hormone and Acetylcholine)
It’s impossible to discuss fat loss and muscle growth without touching on growth hormone and acetylcholine. Released during deep sleep, growth hormone is almost magical in its ability to repair tissue and build muscle. Its regenerative powers can make a huge difference in your fat-loss and muscle-growth goals.
And when it comes to communicating with muscles to encourage their movement, coordination and tone, you need the right amounts of acetylcholine. Because we use up this hormone when we exercise, boosting its levels is imperative for maintaining strong, healthy and metabolically-active muscle.
Tip for a boost: Sleep naked and in pitch dark. Resting in this type of environment
will optimize melatonin and growth hormone. Take a melatonin supplement in a lozenge form if you experience sleep disruption of any kind.
Focusing on your hormonal health is obviously a big part of The Hormone Boost, but it’s not the only key to success. You need to be ready and willing to accept new ways of thinking about your overall health, and to focus on some life changes that pave the way for a positive approach.
About the Author
Dr. Natasha Turner is a New York Times bestselling author and one of North America’s leading naturopathic doctors, a sought-after speaker, natural health expert, and the founder of Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique in Toronto. In2014 she was recognized by her professional organization as a leader in her field and in 2016 was awarded the top […]Read Bio Read Posts