What are the fat burning hormones in your body?

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Hormones affect many different processes including metabolism, growth, development, mood, and aging. The so-called "fat burning" hormones are parts of the endocrine system. Glands or glandular tissues secrete hormones, which act like chemical messengers that affect every organ system in the body and control many of the body's vital functions. It's a very complex system and much remains unknown. Many different glands (such as the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and parathyroid) as well as organs (such as the kidneys) secrete hormones, which travel through the bloodstream and exert their influence on body parts away from their origin. Other tissues produce similar substances (such as prostaglandins) that have specific, localized functions. The entire system is very delicately balanced by an interconnected set of controls. Many hormones circulate in very small quantities. When the endocrine system becomes unbalanced, health can be compromised. If you suspect hormonal imbalances, your internist or other primary care physician may refer you to an endocrinologist. We all want to be healthy. We also want to live long lives and to be trim. Can deliberately manipulating certain hormones help us achieve these goals? Recent attention has focused on three hormones, namely, insulin, testosterone, and human growth hormone (HGH). In terms of longevity, interest in insulin has waned. It appears that supplementation is counter-productive since both animal and human studies have demonstrated that the less insulin secreted, the longer the life. (This is why it is possible that restricting carbohydrates may increase life span: the fewer cabohydrates you consume, especially refined (processed) carbohydrates the less insulin your body will secrete.) Old people have low resting insulin levels. Insulin has its own side effects, including hypoglycemia [low blood sugar] and cardiovascular complications, which helps to explain why cardiovascular failure is the primary cause of death in diabetics. Testosterone and HGH are potent anabolic hormones. Professional bodybuilders and other athletes have used them to achieve massive size and increased strength. All anabolic steroids are molecular tweakings of testosterone's basic structure; besides being illegal, they also may have serious side effects. How does this relate to fat burning? The greater your lean muscle mass, the more calories you'll burn. For example, adding ten pounds of muscle will burn an extra 350 to 500 calories daily. (This is why many large bodybuilders can consume 4000, 5000, 6000 or more calories daily and still be trim.) So testosterone and HGH may be considered fat-burning hormones. As we age past 40, our levels of both testosterone and HGH begin a slow decline. (Also, our tendency to become insulin resistant increases; this level relates directly to the levels of testosterone and HGH as well as to body composition and amount of exercise or physical activity.) When medical tests reveal a deficiency of testosterone and HGH and the hormones are administered supplementally, there have been significant therapeutic turnarounds. However, any such therapy is not risk free. Side effects (including male breast development, excessive water retention, and joint pain) may be blocked by the right (lower) dosage. The reluctance of physicians to prescribe supplemental doses of testosterone and HGH is due to the fact that it may be best if our bodies reduce production of both hormones. In other words, higher levels may be beneficial to the young but not to the old. (This is called "antagonistic pleiotrophy.") For example, even though estrogen is the only hormone recognized as a carcinogen, cancer remains a major concern of physicians when it comes to replacement therapy using other hormones such as HGH. Most people over 60 are deficient in HGH, and one of the primary symptoms of that deficiency in adults is excessive fatigue, which is due to reduced maximum oxygen intake and obviously detracts from the quality of life. Other effects of deficiency include heart problems and impaired brain function. Might a shorter life with a higher quality be worth the risks of low dosage therapy? The beneficial effects may outweigh the risks. Similarly, since testosterone-deficient men face a shorter life span, might therapy aimed at boosting testosterone levels to a mid-normal range be worth the risks? If you are a candidate, it's best to discuss your options with your physician. These are difficult decisions. On the other hand, if you are under 40 and just looking for a short-cut to losing fat, the risks of supplementation (such as cancer) seem clearly to outweigh the possible benefits. What is known is that proper eating and exercising, particularly intense strength training, can retard age-related muscle loss (called "sarcopenia"). If you are eating sufficient proteins from natural sources every several waking hours, not consuming any refined (processed) carbohydrates, drinking plenty of clean water, and exercising properly (in other words, doing proper strength training and cardio), you are already doing a lot to prevent sarcopenia. Yes, it's work, but anyone can lose fat in a lasting way by eating and exercising properly. You'll not only love the results, but they are results that you will be able to take pride in.
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