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Blog - Richard Geres Personal Training - Weight-Loss, Fitness, Research

Sun, 1 March 2015

Hormones: how they influence where you store fat


Some people tend to store fat in their tummy area and their 'love handles' whilst others store more fat in their hips and thighs.

Why is that?

Well the answer lies in your hormones.

You see, fat storage (what we don't want) as well as fat mobilisation (what we want) are influenced by hormones produced in our body. At times it may happen that certain hormones become imbalanced, as our body produces either too much or too little of them. Since hormones are 'messengers' and 'switches' that tell tissues and organs within our body to do or not to do certain things, they have a huge effect on where and how much fat we store or mobilise.

Fat storage means depositing fatty acids circulating in our blood stream in our fat cells located around the body. The enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) is responsible for storing circulating fatty acids in our fat cells. LPL is influenced by a number of hormones.

Fat mobilisation means the opposite. Here, fat stored within fat cells is released into the blood stream where it enters circulation and can be metabolised for energy if there is an energy demand for it (i.e. if we're exercising or if we're eating fewer calories than our body needs). The enzyme hormone sensitive lipase (HSL) is responsible for releasing stored fat into the blood stream. As in the case of LPL, HSL is also influenced by certain hormones.

Which hormones influence LPL and HSL?

Here are the principal hormones that affect LPL and HSL and therefore influence fat storage and fat mobilisation:

Insulin (secreted when eating carbs, especially wheat and sugar): increases LPL (more fat storage)
Cortisol (stress hormone): increases LPL (more fat storage)
Slow thyroid: increases LPL (more fat storage)
Estrogen
: high levels increase fat storage
Epinephrine/adrenaline (released during exercise): increases fat mobilisation

Which areas of the body do these hormones affect?

Guess what?
 
Hormones not only influence fat storage in general, they even dictate where your fat is stored. Possible areas include tummy, love handles, hips, thighs, chest or arms.

Cortisol (the stress hormone) increases intra-abdominal fat. This can lead to insulin-resistance, type II diabetes and heart disease.
High estrogen (and low progesterone) increases fat storage in the thighs, bum and hips as well as in the breasts (together with low testosterone), both for men and women.
High levels of insulin typically promote fat storage in the love handles and arms.

What can we do about it?

Nutrition and exercise have a huge effect on the expression of these hormones.
Exercise increases epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and increases insulin sensitivity (so you need less insulin) while certain nutrition tactics influence insulin, estrogen, cortisol and thyroxine (some foods may cause auto-immune disorders that attack the thyroid. Excessive dieting down-regulates thyroid hormone).

Therefore you CAN take control of your fat burning hormones today.

If you are looking for a fully supervised nutrition coaching programme, then you need to contact us! We'll guide you on what and how you need to eat to fix your stubborn body areas.

To book a consultation online please click here or call us on 27 877 445.

If you're unhappy with the way your body looks, don't despair - get help and take action!