9 (Nine) Hormones That Lead to Weight Gain and Ways To Avoid It

Control Food Intake 09

9 Hormones That Lead to Weight Gain and Ways to Avoid It

Weight gain is often associated with overeating and can be caused by various hormones going berserk. While gaining weight is easy, losing it is not. Various triggers like stress, age, genes, and poor lifestyle choices can cause a hormonal imbalance leading to obesity.
The frustration of not losing weight despite eating right and exercising is usually related to hormone imbalances. Now let’s consider several hormones that can you help lose weight! Some of them increase metabolism, some build muscle, while others lower appetite and cravings plus stimulate the breakdown of fat.
Bright Side identified 9 hormones that cause an imbalance in the body resulting in weight gain. Also, we will tell you how you can keep these hormones in check. Be sure to keep reading!

Thyroid hormones

Does fatigue drag you down day after day? Do you have brain fog, weight gain, chills, or hair loss? Or is the opposite true for you: Are you often revved up, sweaty, or anxious? Your thyroid gland could be to blame. This great regulator of body and mind sometimes goes haywire, particularly in women. Getting the right treatment is critical to feel your best and avoid serious
health problems.

What Is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that control the speed of your metabolism — the system that helps the body use energy. Thyroid disorders can slow down or rev up metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones. When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of symptoms.

How thyroid function can affect your weight

Thyroid hormone helps regulate your metabolism. Your metabolism is how much energy your body uses and at what rate. This means that thyroid hormone also affects your basal metabolic rate. This is how much energy your body uses to keep functioning while it’s at rest.

In most cases, excess thyroid hormone is associated with a high basal metabolic weight. This means that your body burns more energy while it’s at rest, so weight loss is a common symptom of hyperthyroidism.

This also means that not producing enough thyroid hormone is usually associated with a low basal metabolic rate. Therefore, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can cause weight gain. Your body isn’t burning as much energy, which can lead to a calorie surplus.

But your metabolism is affected by a lot more than just thyroid hormone. Other hormones, how much and what you eat, your physical activity, and many other factors play a role. This means that thyroid hormone levels aren’t the whole story when it comes to losing or gaining weight from thyroid conditions.

What causes weight gain when you have hyperthyroidism?

Some people with hyperthyroidism might experience weight gain instead of the more common weight loss. Some reasons why that might happen include:

Increased appetite

Hyperthyroidism usually increases your appetite. If you’re taking in a lot more calories, you can gain weight even if your body is burning more energy. Make sure you eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, and work with a doctor on a nutrition plan. These steps can all help combat weight gain from an increased appetite.

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Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. It helps to carry the glucose into the cells to be used as energy or to be stored as fat, thereby maintaining the glucose levels in the blood. Overconsumption of processed food, unhealthy snacks, alcohol or artificially sweetened drinks can lead to the body developing a resistance to insulin. This causes the muscle cells to not recognize glucose-bound insulin, resulting in glucose remaining in the bloodstream. This causes a spike in the blood sugar levels leading to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.
It might sound somewhat far-fetched to say that insulin causes weight gain. But is it really?

When we take a look at how the body’s fat storage system works, it makes perfect sense that insulin causes weight gain. This also means that the opposite is true – getting insulin levels under control can cause weight loss.

Many people are now familiar with the fact that high blood sugar levels cause weight gain, and that is correct. But saying that high insulin levels cause weight gain is just explaining WHY high blood sugar levels cause weight gain…

Why does insulin make us fat?

The big problem is when the sugar and carbs aren’t immediately used as energy. The insulin then stores the sugar and carbs as fat in the body’s cells. Theoretically this fat is to be used for energy at a later stage, but in reality, we will probably eat another meal before using the fat stored up from the last one. And then the whole process starts again!

What are the dangers of high insulin and fat storage?

Two of the biggest dangers of high insulin is insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. These often go hand-in-hand.  

After the pancreas has produced enough energy to be used and stored, the cells in your body stop responding to insulin. However, if your blood sugar level is still high, the pancreas keeps producing insulin. Eventually, the body tells your pancreas to stop producing insulin, or the insulin becomes ineffective. When this happens, it is referred to as insulin resistance. This can then lead to issues like type-2 diabetes since the blood sugar levels in the body will constantly be much higher than they should be.

Why insulin causes weight gain

Weight gain is a normal side effect of taking insulin. Insulin helps you manage your body sugar by assisting your cells in absorbing glucose (sugar). Without insulin, the cells of your body are unable to use sugar for energy. You’ll eliminate the extra glucose in your bloodstream through your urine or have it stay in the blood, causing high blood sugar levels.

You may experience weight loss before you start insulin therapy. The loss of sugar in your urine takes water with it, so some of this weight loss is due to water loss.


Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands when you are depressed, anxious, stressed, nervous, angry, or physically injured. Its primary function is to decrease stress levels by increasing blood sugar levels, suppressing the immune system and aiding in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. But given our often poor lifestyle choices, our body can be in a constant state of stress, leading to the secretion of cortisol being detrimental to our overall health by aiding visceral fat deposition and stimulating the maturation of fat cells.
How to avoid it:

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Avoid processed food, deep fried food, and alcohol.
  • Practice deep breathing, yoga, and meditation for at least one hour every day. It helps in reducing stress levels.
  • Spend time with your family and close friends. There is no better way to unwind!


Testosterone is often considered to be a male hormone but it is also secreted by females. It helps burn fat, strengthens bones and muscles, and improves libido. Age and high stress can cause a significant decrease in testosterone levels in women, leading to loss of bone density, loss of muscle mass, and obesity.

Low Testosterone and Weight Gain

There are so many different facets that play into a woman gaining weight and the challenge of losing it. But men have their own issues as well. When it comes to men gaining weight or having an inability to lose it, testosterone levels are the main culprit.

Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays important roles in the body. In men, it’s thought to regulate sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells and sperm.

By the reduction of testosterone levels in men, this can lead to rapid weight gain. Particular issues play a role in testosterone levels dropping in men, body fat gain, age and even illness. The big issues in this case is not so much the drop-in testosterone levels which leads to weight gain, but weight gain in men which leads to the drop-in test levels.

Body fat metabolizes testosterone at an accelerated rate. So, the more body fat a man has, the lower his test levels which also leads to estrogen production (a main hormone in women). The lower the test levels the more body fat a man develops.


The level of progesterone and estrogen should be balanced in the body to make it function properly. Progesterone levels can drop due to a variety of reasons like stress, use of contraceptive pills, menopause, etc. This can result in weight gain and depression.

Many women are progesterone deficient and have heavy estrogen dominant menstrual cycles coupled with PMS for several weeks when their estrogen is not balanced with enough progesterone.  Aside from weight gain caused by estrogen dominance, the low progesterone encourages weight gain as progesterone supports thyroid while increasing body temperature and metabolism.

How to avoid it:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Try meditation.
  • Avoid stress.


Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. Any imbalance in levels of estrogen in the body can lead to weight gain. High estrogen levels in the body can be due to either overproduction of the hormone or due to a diet rich in estrogen. When estrogen levels go up, the cells producing insulin get stressed. This makes you resistant to insulin, causing a rise in the blood glucose level and leads to weight gain. Premenopausal women have lower levels of estrogen. In order to replenish the supply of estrogen, the body starts looking for other sources that produce estrogen. One such source is fat cells. When the estrogen levels drop, the body starts converting all available sources of energy to fat to replenish the glucose levels. This leads to weight gain.

The impact of estrogen.  appears to help control body weight. With lower estrogen levels, tend to eat more and be less physically active. Reduced estrogen may also lower metabolic rate, the rate at which the body converts stored energy into working energy. It’s possible the same thing happens with women when estrogen levels drop after menopause. Some evidence suggests that estrogen hormone therapy increases a woman’s resting metabolic rate. This might help slow weight gain. Lack of estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively, which would increase fat storage and make it harder to lose weight.

Leptin – Hormones That Lower Appetite and Cravings

The opposing hormone to ghrelin is the stop appetite hormone, leptin. Leptin is a hormone produced in the fat cells. It plays a role in regulating body weight by signaling the brain to reduce appetite and burn more calories. Leptin is a primary modulator of body weight and metabolism, and it mediates weight-loss by decreasing hunger and food consumption and increasing energy expenditure. Yet, some studies have shown that losing weight causes a marked decrease in leptin levels, which may in turn increase appetite.

Counter to what would be anticipated, obesity is linked to unusually high concentrations of leptin. Some research suggests that these high concentrations make the receptors for leptin inactive and impair the very mechanism that should eliminate excess fat. Then, although plenty of leptin is produced, the body’s appetite suppression system is unable to function properly.

Leptin is a fascinating hormone that was only discovered in 1994 and since then has generated much interest in the area of weight loss.  Leptin is made by fat cells and will signal the brain to lower our appetite and increase metabolism.

Control of food intake. Human hormones. Leptin, insulin and Ghrelin. Leptin and the regulation of energy balance

Ghrelin: The “Hunger Hormone” Explained

What Is Ghrelin?

Ghrelin is an appetite-increasing hormone, given its name because it is considered to be a “growth hormone-releasing peptide” (or GHR). Since ghrelin makes you feel hungry, it makes sense that levels tend to rise before meals and fall after meals. How is ghrelin secreted? It’s made in the stomach and fluctuates throughout the day depending on your intake of food. As a peptide hormone, it’s produced by ghrelinergic cells located in the gastrointestinal tract, which communicate with the central nervous system, especially the brain.

Once produced in the stomach, rising levels of ghrelin sends a signal to the brain that causes you to feel hungrier. Regarded as the only appetite-stimulating hormone in humans, ghrelin is one of the main contributors in giving people the “munchies” and potentially causing them to overeat.

What is ghrelin’s effect on growth hormone and metabolism?

Ghrelin and related growth hormone secretagogues increase body weight and fat mass. One way they do this is by triggering receptors in a part of the brain called the arcuate nucleus, which controls leptin and insulin sensitivity. Ghrelin can sometimes override signals sent from the GI tract to the brain that tells you to stop eating, such as those caused by gastric distension (pressure placed on the stomach as it expands). Ghrelin also seems capable of contributing to cellular changes, including alterations in endothelial cells lining the blood vessels.


How is leptin different than ghrelin?

Leptin and ghrelin are two of the many hormones that help to regulate your metabolism, appetite and body weight. While leptin is

considered the main”satiety hormone” because it helps control your appetite, ghrelin is considered the main “hunger hormone” because it increases your desire to eat.

When levels of ghrelin and leptin are disrupted, your ability to eat when you are truly hungry and stop when you are full can become severely compromised, leading to changes in body weight and other related consequences. Even though these two hormones have opposite effects, working together in a checks-and-balances type of way, diet and lifestyle changes that help to regulate leptin are also helpful for controlling ghrelin.

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Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. While we are asleep the body releases growth hormones which help the body to heal, improve body composition, and build lean muscle. But if we do not get proper sleep, this healing process gets disrupted causing stress and ultimately leading to inflammation-induced weight gain. A lack of sleep can adversely affect your weight loss efforts. A new study suggests that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain,

Story at-a-glance

  • The hormone melatonin is most known for its role in helping you sleep, but research indicates it also help protect your brain health and fight against cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and more
  • Melatonin appears to improve weight control by increasing ‘beige’ fat, which is a heat-generating type of fat that helps your body to burn calories rather than store them
  • Melatonin has a ‘calming’ effect on several reproductive hormones, which may explain why it seems to protect against sex hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, breast, prostate and testicular cancers
  • When you turn on a light at night, your biological clock instructs your pineal gland to immediately stop producing melatonin; sleeping in complete darkness is important for healthful melatonin production

Wondering why you’re not losing that extra flab despite giving up those sugary beverages and fatty foods? It could be due to the fact that you’re losing out on your good night’s sleep. Research has clearly linked sleep deprivation to negative changes in the body’s metabolism, meaning a lack of sleep can adversely affect your weight loss efforts. Sleep duration plays a key role when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight. You are more likely to put on the pounds even with the very best diet and fitness routine if you’re not getting enough snooze time. According to the researchers at Uppsala University, even one night of sleep loss has a tissue-specific impact on the regulation of gene expression and metabolism in humans that could cause weight gain.

A number of research studies have found a link between sleep restriction and obesity. A lack of sleep can trigger the area of your brain that makes you crave for unhealthy foods. It can also cause a spike in blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of diabetes. It is recommended that a healthy adult gets 7-9 hours of sleep per night, although sleep requirements vary from person to person

How to improve sleep quality and maintain a healthy weight

In today’s world, getting enough sleep can be difficult, not to mention your screens – computers, TVs, cell phones, tablets – that lure you into staying up just a little longer. Here are a few tips to help you get enough shut-eye.

  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual – try to stay away from your computer, cell phone, etc, at least an hour before hitting the bed.
  • Keep a regular bedtime, even on the weekends. This will help regulate your body’s clock and promote overall health.
  • Avoid eating heavy dinners and drinking alcohol close to bedtime. This can cause heartburn and keep you awake the whole night. Also, try to avoid caffeine and soda in the evening.
  • Avoid naps in the afternoon, especially if you have trouble falling asleep at bedtime.
  • Turn off all the lights to help you fall asleep quickly. Sleeping in complete darkness boosts your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin while sleeping light suppresses it.

Hope, these tips will help you achieve healthy sleep habits, which are essential for your health, well-being, and your weight.


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  • Contains a natural appetite suppressant
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