Belly Fat and Sex Hormones: What’s the Link?
Some people store weight in their midsection and others store it in their hips and thighs. Genetics has a lot to do with where you tend to show your weight. If you come from a family of “pear-shaped” women, you will likely gain weight in the hips and thighs when you put on a few pounds. But, there is a whole lot more than just genetics at work; your hormones also play an important role.
Hormones play a major role in your metabolism and not just how, but where you store fat. In particular, an imbalance in your sex hormones (testosterone or estrogen) can lead to diet-resistant belly fat—some of the most deadly fat to have.
We commonly think of estrogen as the female sex hormone and testosterone as the male sex hormone, and while estrogen is more dominant in women and testosterone more dominant in men, we all have both of these hormones circulating through our bodies. When the amount of one is higher or lower than ideal, our bodies tell us through a variety of symptoms.
Belly Fat Could be a Sign of too Much Estrogen or too Little Testosterone
In both men and women, too much estrogen (estrogen dominance) can lead to fat accumulation. In a sort of cyclical manner, too much belly fat in men increases estrogen production, making the situation worse. Both men and women with excess estrogen will also experience memory loss, lack of motivation, depression, and low libido.
Related Read: Exercises to Reduce Stomach Fat
You can balance your estrogen levels with green tea and turmeric, according to Dr. Oz. Getting plenty of fiber will also help your body get rid of the excess hormone. Try chia seeds or ground flax seeds for additional Omega-3 intake.
Men who have too little testosterone are also likely to be thicker in the midsection. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but is linked to stress. Low testosterone doesn’t only cause belly fat but can increase your risk of heart disease, depression, and osteoporosis. Decreased muscle mass and decreased motivation are other signs of low testosterone. Lifting weights and getting plenty of zinc in your diet can spur testosterone production. Also, engage in some stress relieving activities and get plenty of rest.
While testosterone and estrogen (the “sex hormones”) do play a role in fat production and retention, they aren’t the only contributing factors. High cortisol levels, and low DHEA or growth hormone can also lead to a spare tire. Be aware of your body and pay attention to your symptoms. Balancing your hormones can lead to better health overall.