Unless you’re a medical professional, when hormones are brought up in conversation, most people initially think of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and occasionally thyroid — those typically associated with puberty, common medical conditions, menopause and hypothyroidism. However, there are many other hormones that play a key role in the day-to-day metabolic functions of the body.
While the players listed above are clearly crucial to your health, there are many other hormones that, when out of balance, can make it far more difficult to achieve your physical goals — whether you want to lose weight, improve your muscle quality or increase your stamina and endurance.
Hormones can limit your physical goals — whether that's fat loss, muscle gain or increased endurance.
Obviously, if I were to mention every single hormone, this article would quickly turn into a novel, so I am going to focus on three hormones that can easily interfere with your progress.
Yes, insulin is a hormone, a very potent and important hormone. If not well-regulated, it can have devastating effects on your system. Insulin secretion is regulated by food. Foods with higher amounts of simple sugars have a greater stimulating effect on insulin secretion, while foods that contain more complex carbohydrates and are richer in protein have lower levels of insulin secretion.
Why is this important? Insulin promotes the storage of glucose as glycogen, increasing the synthesis or production of triglycerides while at the same time inhibiting the conversion of fatty acids into keto acids and preventing the formation of glucose from amino acids. In other words, insulin’s role is to store fuel — whether it’s sugars into glycogen or fats into adipose tissue.
Unless you have discovered the key to inner peace and tranquility, at some point in your life, you have dealt with elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted during times of stress or duress as part of your fight-or-flight response. Cortisol spikes can be triggered by a job, relationship, stressful situation or simply from lack of sleep. Not only is it a highly inflammatory hormone, but cortisol also aims at increasing blood glucose levels during fasting states by using muscle-derived amino acids to create glucose. In other words, it consumes muscle for fuel. This can significantly affect your metabolic activity since your metabolic rate is dependent on lean muscle mass.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Glucagon is the antagonist to insulin. If insulin’s role is to store energy, glucagon’s role is to use our own energy stores as a primary source of fuel. This means that when you eat meals that are higher in protein and have lower amounts of sugar, which promote the release of glucagon, you are more likely to use fat as well as stored glycogen as a primary source of energy, thus promoting a healthy weight and preserving amino acids and protein, which will allow you to maintain your metabolism and energy.
Drinking two liters of is critical to your overall health.
Written by Oemil Rodriguez, MD for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.