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5 Facts About Hormone Replacement Therapy and Weight Loss

5 Facts About Hormone Replacement Therapy and Weight Loss

America has a problem. Our waistlines are expanding! Well over 70 percent of Americans are overweight, and 40 percent are obese. These numbers are expected to continue to grow.

This is thanks in no small part to our sedentary lifestyle and the tons of processed and easily accessible food loaded with calories. But what if something else is going on that's making it difficult for us to lose weight?

Part of the problem may be that America, as a society, is aging. In 1970, the average American was 28 years old and, in 2017, the average American was 38. A large portion of Baby Boomers and Gen X are reaching a point in their life where their hormones are declining and it is becoming more and more difficult for them to lose weight.

Enter hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT replaces the depleted hormones and gives us a better shot at getting back to our fighting weight.

Want to learn more about hormone replacement therapy and weight loss? Read on to learn everything you need to know.

Aging Makes Losing Weight Difficult

When you're young, all your hormones are at the right level and your body functions normally. As you age, your hormones gradually decrease their production. This begins as early as age 30 in women and age 40 in men, each gradually losing more and more estrogen and testosterone, respectively.

The effect is especially pronounced in women who are currently going through menopause. On top of hot flashes and mood swings, many women notice that they start to gain extra weight around their waist during menopause.

Decreases in hormones make it much more difficult for women and men to lose weight and keep it off. Many people also notice that they have less energy overall, making it doubly hard to work up the motivation to get active.

Which Hormones Decrease as you Age?

Many different hormones decrease during the aging process for both men and women.

Testosterone, a sex hormone, is produced by women and men. It prevents fat from taking up residence in your body, including belly fat. People with abnormally low levels of testosterone often find themselves facing sugar cravings and insulin resistant.

Progesterone is another sex hormone and it helps people convert body fat to energy and can inhibit the desire to overeat.

DHEA is another hormone that helps regulate your weight. It controls your metabolism, helps prevent fat from being stored, and reduces cravings for fatty foods.

Parathyroid hormone is produced by the four parathyroid glands in your neck. They help control the calcium in your blood by releasing PTH when your calcium levels get too low.

Calcitonin is produced by your thyroid gland. Like PTH, calcitonin is mean to keep your calcium levels in check.

Hormone Changes and Belly Fat

Based upon the reduction of hormones discussed in the previous section, you can probably see why aging leads to an increase of belly fat.

Up until menopause, women's hormones keep visceral (belly) fat in check. But once menopause hits, increases in waist and breast size indicate that hormone levels are not where they used to be. Gaining a little weight doesn't seem like such a huge deal to the less aesthetically inclined, but it can actually be quite dangerous.

People with body fat percentages over 35 percent are at higher risk for heart conditions and diabetes. This includes higher LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels and insulin resistance.

So what's the solution to the health risks associated with aging and hormone depletion? Hormone replacement therapy.

How Hormone Replacement Therapy and Weight Loss Work Together

The latest studies show that, in women, hormone replacement therapy is an effective tool to prevent menopausal and post-menopausal women from gaining belly fat.

So what's included in hormone replacement therapy that helps people lose weight?

Many courses of hormone replacement therapy contain things like estrone, which is a form of estrogen that helps regulate women's appetite and cravings for sweet snacks. It may contain insulin, which helps glucose be absorbed in the liver, muscles, and fat tissues.

HRT may also include incretin which helps regulate the body's insulin response and helps patients feel full and reduce their appetite overall. Lastly, it may contain pregnenolone, which helps prevent the accumulation of body fat that the stress hormone, cortisol, creates.

It helps rev up your metabolism and gives you more mental and physical energy.

Hormone replacement therapy is most effective when women start taking it within ten years of menopause. So women who go into menopause at age 50 should begin hormone replacement therapy by age 60 to see the biggest benefits.

Note that HRT only works while you take the hormones. If you stop the treatment, then the benefits will stop as well. If you are currently on HRT, be sure to discuss the process of ending HRT before going off.

Lifestyle Changes Are Still Critical

The same rule stands when you're on hormone replacement therapy as when you're a 20-year-old athlete: you can always out-eat the benefits for a weight loss regimen.

As such, it is important for you to monitor your caloric intake and activity levels so you don't override the benefits of hormone replacement therapy. If you need to shed weight quickly and effectively, try something like the hCG diet along with hormone replacement therapy. On top of that, try different workout regimens to see which one is most effective for your weight loss needs.

Check Out Our Blog for More

Hormone replacement therapy and weight loss go hand in hand when you're older. HRT is an incredibly valuable tool that, when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, helps people get down to a healthy weight.

Why wait? Look into hormone replacement therapy today.

Check out our blog for more information about how Nu Image Medical can help you reach your weight loss goals and live a longer, healthier life!

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

7 min read