Maintaining your ideal body weight can be a frustrating and difficult task. You may have heard or suspected that your hormones have something to do with your inability to lose weight and that may absolutely correct, especially if you a woman after childbirth or have taken birth control pills for several years. For women, hormone balance involves two hormones: progesterone and estrogen. When both of these are in the body at adequate levels, the body will run optimally, however, it’s when estrogen becomes too high (or progesterone get’s too low), a woman will find herself in a state of “estrogen dominance,” which can wreak havoc on several bodily functions. One of which is the body’s ability to maintain its ideal weight.
The 6 Big Reasons Why Estrogen Dominance (Low Progesterone) Can Greatly Inhibit Your Ability to Lose Weight & Keep it Off:
Excessive Estrogen Can Cause Belly Fat
Let’s just look at the dairy industry for a second. Traditional dairy farmers will pump their cows full of estrogen for the simple task of fattening them up (yikes, right?!). A workaround to this system is to purchase milk and meat locally or organically, however, keep in mind that a cow’s milk is also designed to grow a calf. Yet, to make matters worse, fat cells in the body produce estrogen, so with excess fat, you may find yourself in a vicious fat/estrogen cycle and unable to keep hormones balanced and lose that layer of fat in your mid-section. In some women, it can even cause more weight gain. An obvious solution to this is to limit excess estrogen consumption as much as possible but to balance the estrogen in the body, it may also be necessary to supplement with natural, bio-identical progesterone (remember… the key is to have the two hormones balanced).
You may also consider the use of a natural phytonutrient (plant nutrient) found in cruciferous vegetables called Diindolylmethane (DIM). This nutrient is very effective in helping to achieve a healthier estrogen metabolism.
Progesterone For Weight Loss Helps Your Thyroid Hormones Function More Efficiently.
When you have low levels of progesterone, your liver produces excess amounts of a protein called Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). This TBG binds to the thyroid hormones your body, inhibiting the hormones from being utilized properly by your body. The net effect of this is a form of Hypothyroidism that some refer to as Type 2 Hypothyroidism, which does not show up on blood tests since the problem is within your cells rather than in your blood.
Progesterone Lowers Insulin Levels.
Insulin is affected by hormone imbalance, and estrogen dominance can lead to the release of excess insulin. Increases in insulin can lead to sugar cravings that can be hard to control. This is why many women crave chocolate or other sweets during PMS. This can also contribute to weight gain. It’s all making sense now, isn’t it?
Progesterone is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Reducing inflammation also helps your brain to receive another hormone called Leptin, which helps to regulate your appetite. Balanced hormones make it easier to eat in moderation and lose weight.
Progesterone is a Natural Sleep Aid.
This is because progesterone has a calming effect on the brain. Estrogen, on the other hand, has an excitatory effect on the brain. Because of this, women with estrogen dominance typically sleep very restlessly. Sleep deprivation is also associated with disrupting the hormone that regulates your appetite (Leptin). Lack of sleep has been linked to both increased calorie consumption and reduced energy expenditure (more calories in and fewer calories out).
Progesterone Reduces Fluid Retention.
When Estrogen levels are not balanced out by adequate levels of progesterone, women tend to retain more fluid than usual. Progesterone is a natural diuretic and can greatly reduce bloating and swelling.
Progesterone vs. Progestins
It is critically important to understand the differences between bio-identical progesterone and the drugs called progestins. Bio-identical progesterone is molecularity identical to what your body makes, which allows it to be easily recognized and utilized. There is a connection between bioidentical progesterone and weight loss. Not all progesterone creams are the same. It is best to purchase a progesterone cream that is made for your body, unlike the synthetic versions.
Progestins, on the other hand, do not have the same molecular structure and are not treated the same way by your body. The reason progestins are not the same as what your body makes is due to the fact that a drug company cannot patent progesterone. In fact, drug companies cannot patent any thing or substance that is naturally occurring in nature. What does this mean for the pharmaceutical industry? It’s easy… No patent = no money.
Not only do Progestins (synthetic progesterone) not relieve the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance, but they can actually worsen or even be the cause of the problems in the first place. The negative effects of progestins are exacerbated by the fact that they actually shut down your body’s production of its own progesterone. This is why when women use birth control pills, which contain progestins, they tend to cause weight gain, retain fluid and exhibit the other symptoms of estrogen dominance. An interesting fact about birth control pills is that the original research conducted to develop birth control pills were conducted with natural progesterone, but was later altered so that it could be patented. You can read more about the differences between bio-identical and synthetic progesterone here.
Biodentical progesterone and weight loss is one of the reasons that many people will turn to a bioidentical doctor who will take different steps to help them with their hormonal imbalance. These doctors can also give you progesterone cream for weight loss when needed. Progesterone side effects can cause weight gain, but that is not always the case. Every person’s body is different and reacts differently to progesterone.
What Steps Can I Take to Correct Hormonal Imbalance?
Estrogen dominance can be safely and effectively treated with the use of bio-identical progesterone. Lab testing, preferably saliva testing, allows us to see the levels and balance of estrogen and progesterone in your body and develop a treatment plan to supplement the progesterone you have with enough to adequately balance out your estrogen. By simply replacing the missing progesterone in your body with bio-identical progesterone, you can get your hormones back into balance. The benefits of hormonal balance can include better sleep, improved moods, increased energy, better mental function, improved libido, and yes, even weight loss!