The glands and the hormones that are involved in metabolism are directly linked to your efforts to burn fat for weight loss. Learning how to activate these important fat burning hormones while suppressing the fat making hormones is key to successful weight management.
There are six fat burning hormones and three fat making / storing hormones. This post will focus on the six hormones that are involved with burning fat. The fat making / storing hormones will be reviewed in detail in our next post.
The six fat burning hormones are: Human Growth Hormone, Insulin-Like Growth Factor / IGF, Glucagon, Adrenaline, Thyroid Hormones / T3 & T4, and Testosterone. More details about each follows:
The Fat Burning Hormones
Human Growth Hormone: Human growth hormone is a fat burning hormone that is produced in the pituitary gland which is located in the brain. It is an important complex hormone that is involved in the building of lean muscle, cartilage, and collagen. The health and strength of joints and muscles is greatly dependent upon growth hormone.
Growth hormone is also involved in helping to regulate blood sugar levels in between meals as it works in concert with the other hormones of metabolism. In this regulatory role, growth hormone stimulates the use of fat as fuel for the body. It is also known as an anti-aging hormone that is triggered into action by protein and intense exercise. It is even active when you are asleep.
Insulin-like Growth Factor / IGF: Made by the liver, this fat burning hormone is responsible for providing the body with fuel in between meals when the stomach is empty. It is triggered into action by the presence of growth hormone. When activated, it causes the release of stored sugar and fat. Snacking in between meals mutes the fat burning effects of this hormone. When the liver is not in a healthy state, production and release of this hormone is affected. The pancreas is then required to produce and to release increased amounts of insulin which inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat.
Glucagon: Produced by the pancreas, this fat burning hormone is involved in the control of blood sugar when the levels drop which is generally in between meals. It works in concert with insulin to maintain stable levels of blood sugar. While insulin lowers blood sugar, glucagon increases the levels of blood sugar as needed. This is done by utilizing glycogen which is a long chain starch polymer of glucose moieties that is stored in the liver. It gets its fat burning designation because it also regulates blood glucose levels through the use of stored fat in response to depleted glycogen stores. Dietary protein and intense exercise triggers this hormone into action. When excess protein is eaten insulin levels rise, when this happens glucagon is suppressed.
Adrenaline: Adrenaline is also known as epinephrine. Of the four hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands, adrenaline is the main hormone responsible for having fat released from fat cells. It is known as the fight or flight hormone given its release in stressful situations. Adrenaline works in conjunction with the nervous and immune systems in helping the body to deal with stressful events. When released it increases mental alertness, heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism. It is triggered by exercise and stress.
Thyroid Hormones / T3 & T4: Both of these thyroid produced hormones are primarily responsible for regulating metabolism. They act to increase the basal metabolic rate (BMR) by regulating the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, fat, and vitamins. Their role in determining the speed of metabolism is generally related to how fat or thin someone is. Cutting calories and / or skipping meals inhibits the actions of these very important metabolism regulating hormones. When their actions are inhibited, the rate of metabolism is directly affected.
Testosterone: This hormone is best known as the primary male sex hormone, responsible for the male sex drive and male characteristics. It is produced primarily by the testicles. The adrenal glands and female ovaries also produce testosterone in small amounts. For comparison purposes males produce 10 times the amount of testosterone as females. Females however tend to be more sensitive to this hormone. Testosterone is essential for good health and well being. It is also a fat burning hormone which is involved in regulating the levels of visceral fat and total cholesterol that exist within the body. It also plays a role in glycemic control. Triggered by exercise, its effects are inhibited by estrogen.
Knowing and understanding how these six fat burning hormones are triggered is absolutely essential to your weight loss and longer-term weight management efforts. The purpose of this post is to simply introduce you to them and to make you aware of their role in metabolism and the body’s fat burning process. The discussion about these six fat burning hormones will continue.