Hormones are the important chemical messengers in the body that facilitate nearly every bodily process including metabolism, hunger, and fullness.
Due to this association with appetite, hormones are also known to play a significant role in weight.(1, 2)
The natural cycle of hormones is affected by chemicals known as endocrine disrupters. These can act to be hormone receptors or block their pathway completely. Hormone imbalance also results from an unhealthy lifestyle, poor diet, and lack of activity. Weight loss can also affect the secretion of hormones.
Weight gain or weight loss has been linked to hormones and hormonal functions.
How Weight Loss Affects Hormones?
Hormones have a lot of control over the human body. They can also inhibit weight loss if the balance gets disturbed. They can control how much muscle a person gain, how energetic one feels, and the metabolism.
Similarly, weight loss or weight gain can affect the levels of hormones, especially in females.
Effect of Weight Loss on Estrogen
Weight loss can have a significant impact on hormones, especially in a woman. The hormone balance of the body is affected by changes in body composition.
One hormone that is affected by weight loss in females is estrogen. A study found a decrease in the levels of estrogen in the females on losing weight.(6)
Estrogen is produced in the ovaries and plays an important role in regulating the menstrual cycle, bone health, and sexual function. Low levels of body fat can lead to a decline in estrogen production that can lead to a variety of symptoms which include irregular periods, osteoporosis, and decreased libido.
Weight loss also affects progesterone, which is also produced in ovaries and plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle. There can be a decrease in progesterone levels due to weight loss and this can lead to irregular periods and amenorrhea or absence of menses.
Effect of Weight Loss on Testosterone
Testosterone is a male hormone that plays a role in regulating muscle mass, bone density, and sexual function. Weight loss can affect testosterone levels, especially in males. Weight loss can lead to a decrease in testosterone levels, which can lead to a variety of symptoms including:
- Decreased libido
- Loss of muscle mass
Rapid weight loss or a crash diet can have negative effects on testosterone levels. This may be a cause of loss of muscle mass due to low testosterone production. Also, a restrictive diet can cause stress on the body, leading to an increase in cortisol levels that may decrease testosterone.(4, 5)
Studies show weight loss, especially in obese men can lead to an increase in testosterone levels.(3) This is because in obese men there is already low testosterone and weight loss improves balance.
It is important to consult a healthcare professional or a dietician to ensure the weight loss process is done in a healthy way. This can minimize the negative effects on testosterone levels. A diet rich in proteins and resistance exercise can be helpful in maintaining muscle mass and keeping a check on the testosterone level during weight loss.
How Weight Loss Alleviates the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disease?
The polycystic ovarian disease is a hormonal disorder that can affect a female in her reproductive age. Its symptoms include:
- Difficulty in conceiving
- Irregular periods
- An increase in weight can exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS.
Losing weight alleviates the symptoms of PCOS by improving the balance between the hormones in the body. Obesity can lead to an increase in insulin which can lead to the development of PCOS. Losing weight improves insulin sensitivity which can help regulate menses. This can also improve the symptoms such as acne and hirsutism.
Weight loss can also improve fertility in females with PCOD. The ovaries of PCOD produce an excess of androgen hormones such as testosterone that can interfere with ovulation. Losing weight can decrease the production of these hormones and increase the chances of conception.
Healthy weight loss is very important, therefore, a healthcare professional or a dietician should be consulted. Crash diet and rapid weight loss can have negative effects on hormone levels and can also worsen the symptoms of PCOD. A healthy weight loss program includes eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. All of these can keep a check on the hormone levels and the associated condition.