If you’re consuming balanced meals, watching your portion sizes, and engaging in regular exercise but still feel that your weight is impacting your health status, it may be time to assess your hormonal balance.
Are you taking synthetic hormones?
It's true that the common oral contraceptive pill (OCP) has brought positive changes to society by liberating couples and protecting against unwanted pregnancies. Unfortunately, by the same token, OCP use has also resulted in much deeper and more sinister effects on the health of many women.
We frequently discuss in the Happy Hormones FB group the impact of the OCP and other forms of hormonal contraception such as Implanon, Mirena, and Depo-Provera. Along with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), it is the opinion of most women that these various forms of synthetic hormones cause them to gain weight.
And with good reason as well. Hormones were long used by livestock manufacturers to raise the weights of animals. When hormones are not excreted correctly then there is a recirculation of hormones in your system and this disrupts your endocrine balance and metabolism.
How do synthetic hormones relate to weight management?
Well, hormones are powerful mediators and when synthetic hormones are introduced into the delicate balance of the endocrine system, various endocrine glands are impacted.
Oestrogen can increase thyroid-binding protein, making less free active thyroid hormones available to be utilized. This results in lowered thyroid function and a slower metabolism.
The OCP raises levels of a protein called cortisol-binding globulin, which attaches to cortisol and keeps our body from being able to utilize it. The bound cortisol prevents your body from using it to manage stress or prevent inflammation. This can lead to HPA dysregulation which is known to increase fat mass around the midline.
Oestrogen has been found to alter gut bacteria. Synthetic forms have also been found to affect the intestinal barrier, potentially leading to intestinal inflammation and hyperpermeability (leaky gut).
Synthetic hormones deplete B vitamins which are involved in both our mood and energy pathways. They also diminish zinc, selenium, magnesium and vitamin E. This affects our hormone metabolism to further cause weight gain in the future. The longer women take synthetic hormones, the more chance of weight gain.
Research into the field of birth control reveal that the amount of fluid retained in women taking the OCP is directly proportional to the quantity of oestrogen found in the pill.
Research has also found that individuals with pre-existing glucose metabolism issues were worse off being on synthetic hormones. Why? Studies show elevated insulin levels in women using synthetic hormones. When these levels rise, the energy obtained from ingested carbohydrates is distributed mainly to fat cells. As a consequence, weight loss is prevented even when a healthy diet is followed.
We know that oestrogen and progesterone have complex interactions with leptin, ghrelin and neuropeptide – our hunger and satiety hormones. Female hormones also impact serotonin and GABA, two brain chemicals that drive our cravings. So this raises the question: Do synthetic hormones play a role in your food choices?
How to achieve a happy weight
If you’re taking or have taken synthetic hormones in the past and believe they’re affecting your ability to sustain a healthy weight, Happy Weight powder and Happy Hormones formula can help. This powerful combination acts on the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands (HPA axis or control centre of the brain) to restore a healthy endocrine balance.
We also encourage you to join the private Happy Weight Facebook group where you can get advice and support from fellow members as well as our team of health experts and naturopaths!