There is an undeniable link between low estrogen and weight gain. In women, estrogen levels go up pre-menopause and then decrease during menopause. This leads to an increase in body fat storage and loss of muscle mass. Low estrogen is a contributory factor in weight gain.
When the body starts producing less estrogen, it will hold on to its fat stores rather than burning them for energy like it used to do in the past. Estrogen also plays a role in regulating appetite and cravings for fatty foods as well as satiety signals.
Lower levels of estrogen mean the body may not get that feeling after eating, or even hunger pangs that are usually helped by higher levels of this hormone in women. Declining estrogen levels may also make it more difficult to maintain a steady weight because of changes in how the body uses energy.
What is Estrogen?
The female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone play a role in the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. Estrogen promotes the development of female reproductive tissues and regulates a woman’s shedding of her uterine lining.
It also contributes to sexual receptivity. Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy by thickening its lining with extra blood and fluid in preparation for a fertilized egg. It also helps control when menstruation occurs, stops ovulation, maintains pregnancy during birth loss or after birth through breastfeeding.
Estrogen and Weight Gain
Menopause, in most cases, is responsible for low estrogen levels. During this time, a woman’s reproductive hormone production declines, resulting in her menstrual cycle ceasing. Women at this stage of their lives often gain weight.
Estradiol, a type of estrogen, regulates metabolic rate and body weight. During menopause, estradiol levels decrease.
This is why weight gain may be caused by low levels of estradiol.
Weight gain around the hips and thighs may occur for women throughout their lives. As women age, however, they tend to gain more weight around the midsection and the abdomen.
Reasons for Low Estrogen Levels
Here are the common reasons for low estrogen levels:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Medications such as estrogen blockers and estrogen-depleting drugs
- Genetic mutations that affect the synthesis of estradiol from testosterone or 17beta-estradiol from progesterone or that affect the ability of tissues to respond to estrogens
- Rapid weight loss or loss of weight due to illness, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, chronic illnesses, and severe depression
- Low body fat stores due to anorexia nervosa or starvation
- High-intensity exercise training in alteplase athletes
- Primary ovarian failure (atrophy, hypoplasia, or permanent surgical removal of one or all ovaries)
- Hypothalamic amenorrhea
- Insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, or type II diabetes mellitus
- Chronic anovulation
- Use of certain medications that block the action of estrogen in the body
How to Increase Your Estrogen Levels?
Estrogen levels can be changed by life changes that affect the body in different ways such as stress, physical activity, or diet. However, there is no one universal answer to how to change your estrogen levels.
Changing your diet can help change your estrogen levels, the number of soy products you consume can increase it. Also, flax and sesame seeds are known to increase estrogen levels too.
Reducing stress can also help how to change estrogen levels by reducing anxiety, and make you release most of the stress chemicals in your system which may affect hormones such as estrogen.
Vitamin B and D can help you increase your estrogen levels too. Check this article on Vitamin D to learn what to do:
Still, your weight gain might not be caused by your estrogen levels only. Let’s look at the common reasons for weight gain in the next section:
Reasons for Weight Gain
- Not getting enough sleep
When you are tired, you find it harder to make good food choices for your body, and your metabolism slows down so it accumulates more fat.
Simply put: when we’re stressed out, our bodies produce increased levels of cortisol which breaks down tissue in the body. Plus, if we are stressed out due to a high-pressure job or relationship break up, for instance, this can lead us to grab unhealthy food as a form of comfort and can mean the balance of important nutrients in our diet is thrown off-kilter too.
- Lack of nutrient-dense foods in the diet and not enough water intake
Even if you are eating well and cutting out processed food, you can still be lacking important nutrients from your diet if you don’t eat foods rich in these nutrients. For example, calcium deficiency leads to poor bone health and causes your body to store fat around the digestive tract, causing a potbelly.
- Alcohol consumption
That glass of wine after work every night can really add up in calories and if you are not fit then alcohol affects your body more strongly too. Plus, when we drink alcohol we tend to crave salty food so that all adds up!
Smoking can deplete your body of important nutrients and it also slows down your metabolism. If you are a smoker, then you have two reasons for gaining weight: the fact that you are smoking itself, plus the fact that diet and lifestyle habits such as stress, alcohol, lack of sleep can still lead to weight gain despite not smoking.
And, here are the tips on how to lose weight:
- Proper Nutrition
First, make sure you have all the proper nutrition you need in your daily diet (things like protein, healthy fats, and whole grains). A great place to start is with a meal plan that gets your body’s recommended amount of calories each day based on your activity level and gender.
- Low Fat Food
In particular, look for foods with a low percentage of fat (less than 30% of total calories) and a low amount of saturated fat (less than 10% of total calories). Also, choose lean cuts of meat and skinless chicken to get enough protein.
Check this article to find out more on protein-rich low-fat foods:
And, finally, drink at least 8-10 glasses (for men) or 7-8 glasses (for women) each day. It’s one of the best ways to flush toxins out of your body and boost metabolism.
- Do Not Drink Alcohol and Caffeine
You should stop drinking alcohol and all caffeinated beverages
- Exercise Regularly
You will lose weight if you already exercise regularly
- Eat Plenty of Fiber
Eat lots of fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (beans) each day.
Check this article to find supplements for fiber:
In conclusion, low estrogen levels can affect your body’s metabolism, weight, and may decrease muscle mass.
By increase or decrease of your estradiol levels, your body weight can change.
Thank you for reading.
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