Okay, “magic” may sound a little exaggerated here – we’re talking about pure science, after all. But the effects of the hormones we’ll discuss in this article are so amazing that they almost deserve this word! Responsible for countless reactions and processes in your body, hormones are universal “regulators”, and every single change in your organism is associated with hormones, one way or another.
Today, we’ll talk about the most important hormones in matters of controlling your weight – either to get rid of it or to gain some, – and how can you use this information to your advantage!
First of all, what are hormones?
Keeping it simple, hormones are highly active biological substances produced by your body. Each hormone has dozens of different functions and effects, and that’s explained by the wide variety of processes they control. Each hormone has a natural cycle of synthesis and release, which determines its interchanging periods of promoting the hormone’s effects and being in a very low (sometimes almost dormant) state of activeness. Knowing the effects, synthesis and release cycles of each hormone can help you greatly in using them to achieve your goals!
What specific hormones are we talking about?
In this article, we will be researching those particular hormones that promote lipolysis – the process of breaking down lipids (fats). In most cases, the point of this process is to either provide more energy to the body (fats are the most potent “fuel” in this matter) or control blood glucose levels, ultimately. If it weren’t for lipolysis, our body would be limited in its ways to get energy just to glucose – significantly endangering your well-being at those times you don’t eat enough. You can perceive lipolysis as a “plan B” that your body uses in extreme conditions, when the demand for energy or other resources suddenly goes up, or when the intake of carbohydrates drops for a while.
The most powerful hormones that increase lipolysis are glucagon, growth hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), epinephrine, ghrelin, testosterone and cortisol. We will try to keep everything simple and understandable and outline only the most important facts about the said hormones in order to help you to lose weight!
Just one more thing before we start. Always remember that the hormones listed are extremely powerful biological substances. And, believe me, you don’t want to mess them up. Therefore, if by any chance you’re planning to take some of the hormones listed in order to increase your fat-burning rate – always consult a professional healthcare practitioner before doing so. This article was written solely for educational purposes and depicts the hormones listed in an almost oversimplified way: they have countless effects that may drastically affect the inner processes of your body. Do not take any strong hormones without consulting a physician first! Instead, we’ve listed some natural and safe ways you can use to give a slight boost to your lipolytic hormones. Ready? Let’s go!
Glucagon is produced by the alpha cells of your pancreas and its main purpose is to increase blood glucose levels. And one of the means by which glucagon does that is by stimulating gluconeogenesis (GNG) – a metabolic pathway during which glucose is generated from non-carbohydrates. Fats, for example.
The main point of this is to ensure that your body will always have enough energy to go on – therefore, if you’re eating not enough carbohydrates, thanks to glucagon you’ll still get the amount of glucose (therefore – energy) needed. Glucagon has also anabolic properties – meaning that it helps you to build lean muscle mass.
How can you boost up your glucagon? Among other things, its synthesis is stimulated by hypoglycemia (hunger, fasting) and epinephrine (adrenalin) – a stress hormone, which we’ll talk about a bit later. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to stimulate the release of glucagon is to restrain from food for about 10-13 hours. In fact, that’s one of the principles behind the famous thesis “don’t eat after 6 PM”. The nighttime hours during which you don’t eat a thing are just enough to stimulate the release of glucagon into your bloodstream – expand those hours a little to maximize the effects.
Another way to boost up your glucagon is by getting some adrenalin. Try out some extreme sports or watch a scary movie – everything mildly stressful is just enough to induce adrenalin release, which will in its turn lead to an increase in glucagon levels.
Growth Hormone :
Also known as somatortopin, this is one of the most important hormones in matters of cell growth, reproduction and regeneration in humans. Due to its prominent anabolic properties, the growth hormone is loved by bodybuilders all around the world and used to stimulate muscle building. Besides that, somatotropin has lypolitic (fat breaking) properties. Keeping it simple, growth hormone induces fat utilization in order to provide your body with enough substrate to promote the growth of other tissues in your body.
Naturally, the synthesis and release of somatotropin is most active during puberty years, during which acceleration in body growth is observed. That’s the reason why teens grow so quickly, in all senses!
How can you boost up your growth hormone? This can be done in a number of different ways – and all of them are pleasant, in fact. For example, the release of growth hormone is bigger during deep sleep; therefore you should get enough of that if you want to build muscle and burn fat. Another powerful stimulus for the growth hormone is workouts and sex. Sounds great, right? Growth hormone is released when your body feels that the activities it takes part in demand something more from it than it has at the time being. That explain why workouts and sex may boost it up a bit!
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) :
hCG is one of the most important and powerful hormones during pregnancy. It has a great variety of functions, among which there’s the maintaining of optimal progesterone levels and protecting the baby from mother’s immune cells. But there’s more to that.
More than 60 years ago, British endocrinologist Albert T. W. Simeons noticed that hCG is the hormone responsible for stimulating breakdown of fat in pregnant women that were not receiving enough nutrients in their diet. In the following years, he developed this idea into what became known as the hCG diet and noticed that hCG works great not only for pregnant women, but for men too – if prescribed appropriately. Nowadays, hCG is a powerful weight-loss supplement used either in form of injections or oral drops. Unlike other hormones that may be dangerous to your health if taken the wrong way, hCG oral drops are a safe dietary supplement that aid thousands of people from all around the world in their weight loss course.
How can you boost up your hCG? Sadly, there’s no way to do that. Either you’re pregnant and have enough of hCG already, or you won’t be able to build it up yourself. The only way to receive some extra hCG is to take it in form of supplements.
Epinephrine (Adrenaline) :
Adrenaline is a stress hormone produced mainly by the adrenal glands (thus the name). It is greatly responsible for the body’s “fight or flight” reaction, mobilizing all your inner resources to ensure that you are ready either to combat the opposing threat or to make an effective escape from it. When the release of adrenalin increases, your heart goes racing and your whole metabolism skyrockets. In order for that to work properly, you need some extra energy – and that one of the ways that that’s made is by breaking fats. That’s right, lipolysis again.
How can you boost up your epinephrine (adrenaline)? Get some stress! Of course, you should do that moderately and in a socially acceptable form. For example, watch a scary movie or indulge in extreme sports. Everything that gets you a bit nervous is just enough to stimulate a moderate release of adrenaline into your bloodstream. Yes, sexual intercourse counts as well.
Ghrelin is also known as the “hunger hormone”. As the name may imply, this hormone is strongly associated with the feeling of hunger. Its release is stimulated by an “empty stomach” – literally. When the walls of the stomach are relaxed, ghrelin secretion rises up, leading to a feeling of hunger and an increasing need to eat something. As soon as the walls of the stomach are stretched by the food inside – the release of ghrelin stops. Ghrelin stimulates lipolysis to provide your body with enough energy by breaking down previously stored body fat.
How can you boost up your ghrelin? Easy: don’t eat. In a similar way to that of glucagon, the release of ghrelin is higher when you’re hungry, but ghrelin starts working sooner than glucagon – in fact, it is one of the factors that stimulate glucagon release. Therefore, if you want to boost up your ghrelin – eat less, in smaller portions, letting the walls of your stomach remain in a relaxed state, instead of stretching them with food.
One of the main “male” hormones, testosterone is mainly produced in the male testes and, in a lesser amount, in the adrenal glands. Women get a small amount of testosterone produced in their ovaries and adrenal glands too. Among other things, this hormone is responsible for, well, physical “manliness” – secondary sexual characteristics including a greater amount of muscle and bodily hair.
Testosterone has strong anabolic properties (helps you to build muscle), therefore used sometimes by bodybuilders that want to increase their total amount of lean muscle mass.
How can you boost up your testosterone? One of the ways is to get enough vitamin D produced in your body, and keep in mind that enough sunlight is needed for that – so don’t forget to go for a walk from time to time. Another thing that increases testosterone levels is deep sleep. But, perhaps, the most powerful way of increasing natural testosterone levels is to, well, indulge in “manly” activities. It is known that dominance challenges and competitive activities lead to a strong release of testosterone.
Another “stress hormone” produced in the human adrenal glands. Cortisol is released, among other things, in response to stress or a fall in blood glucose levels. Besides playing a great role in the aforementioned “fight or flight”, cortisol also regulates electrolyte balance in your body.
Natural cortisol levels are higher during early morning (around 8 AM) and gradually lower during the day, reaching its minimum around 2 AM.
How can you boost up your cortisol? One of the simplest ways is to drink some coffee, because it is known that caffeine increases cortisol levels. Another thing stimulates cortisol release is sleep deprivation, but that’s not something you’d want to have in your life. In general, all the things that increase adrenaline release – increase cortisol levels too. So get excited, indulge in sports – and get that cortisol breaking your fats already!
As you see, there are numerous hormones that play a great role in the process of fat breakdown (lipolysis). They work under different circumstances and are stimulated by various things, but their goal is always the same – to provide your body with enough energy and resources to act in stressful situations or promote growth and regeneration of cells.
Keep in mind that the processes in your body are always kept in balance, and in order to keep them that way you should just lead an overall healthy lifestyle. This should be just enough to maintain all of your hormones working properly and in a beautiful synergy.
But in case you want to give your lipolytic hormones an extra boost – you know what to do! Get enough sleep, sex, drink coffee, indulge in sports and watch some scary movies from time to time, eat in lesser portions and, generally, try to eat less. Those are some great and pleasant activities you’d like to consider when going through your weight loss program.