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Hormonal Aspects of Weight Control Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Most people past middle age consider themselves overweight, and indeed they are. Next time you are at the supermarket, notice how many fat fannies are waddling around and you will realize what health trouble our society is in. These extra pounds cost years of life, statistically one year for each pound over your ideal weight. So, if you are carrying twenty extra pounds for one-half your life, all other factors being equal, you are likely to die ten years earlier than you would if you maintained your ideal weight. Common illnesses associated with excess poundage are diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, and cancer.

Now that I have your attention, let's talk about getting slim. If you are not at your ideal weight, take a look in the mirror. Are you evenly fat all over or are you shaped somewhat like a pear? If you are sporting a paunch, the cause of your weight problem is likely to be different, and the solution different, than if your excess baggage is evenly distributed.

If you are pear shaped, or to put it another way, if you turn sideways to the mirror, relax your abdomen and appear to be pregnant (even if you are a man), then your diet is likely to be high in carbohydrates (veggies, rice, pastas, fruit and sweets) and low in proteins (meat, beans, and peas). This sort of diet causes overproduction of insulin, and underproduction of glucagon in some people. Insulin drives carbohydrates into the cells and there they are restructured and stored as fat, unless insulin is balanced by glucagon. Glucagon is produced by the pancreas in response to your intake of protein. While you can suspect hyperinsulinemia (and hypoglucagonemia) by your body shape, you cannot be sure until you have glucose tolerance and insulin level tests. Until you are certain of the problem, the solution will not be a reliable one. If you think this is your problem, come see me for an evaluation. The determination is a simple lab test.

Not everyone is genetically predispositioned to have this condition. Some people can eat a diet dominated by carbs and not gain weight. Others must maintain a strictly balanced diet or body weight goes out of control. Body shape only hints at the underlying metabolism. To be certain of what is happening a glucose tolerance test with insulin levels is necessary. If you think you may fall in this category, let's get a GTT with insulin levels ordered for you.

Any fool can loose weight by dieting, however to improve your health it is necessary to keep your lean muscle mass and loose that part of your weight which is made of fat. To do that, it is necessary to slow down the production of insulin. There is no pill to do that; it can be done by food selection alone. To do this, every time you eat make sure your meal contains a balance of protein and carbohydrate (if you do that, the essential fats will take care of themselves). When insulin falls to a normal level, you will be able to exercise and/or diet off the additional fat and it will stay off as long as you tend to the balance of carbs and protein in your diet. Until your insulin level is normal and balanced with glucagon, you can exercise and/or starve it off and it comes right back.

In case your extra weight is more evenly distributed, you are more likely to be in a hypometabolic state. You can diagnose this by taking your temperature as recommended above. If you find that your average oral temperature is below 98.2, come see me for an evaluation. There are several causes of hypometabolism and this conditions is usually correctable. If you are hypometabolic, losing weight will be very difficult because you are simply not burning off your calories at the proper rate (therefore your temperature is low).

Generally speaking, a doctors who practices nutritional medicine and hormone therapy is your best choice to assist you through this problem.

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The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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