As you may know, your body works on clusters of very precise cycles, called metabolic pathways. All of these pathways work together using proteins, chemicals, enzymes, and byproducts from each other to contribute to what shape your body takes on. Within these particular pathways, one of the important chemicals that we use are hormones. I like to think of hormones as the bullhorn of the body. Hormones amplify a signal sent out from certain organs of your body so that your proteins can act appropriately. Certain hormones regulate weight, metabolism, and muscle mass. In today’s post I will discuss a few of the hormones that play a role in burning fat: testosterone, estrogen, and insulin.
When most people hear the word ‘insulin’ they think diabetes and blood sugar. In addition to regulating blood sugar levels, the hormone insulin plays a main role in distributing carbohydrate and fat nutrients to the proper organs as they are eaten. Insulin helps the liver, muscle tissue, and fat absorb glucose from the bloodstream, and also converts it to glycogen to store in the liver and muscles. While insulin plays a major role in creating fat deposits, it also initiates the use of those fat deposits as energy sources by battling off glucagon, which increases blood glucose levels. After reading part 1 of this series you have a good idea of how low blood glucose levels spark gluconeogenesis, which sparks the breakdown of fats for energy.
When most people hear the word ‘estrogen’ they think female sexual function and reproduction. Research has found a two-way relationship between estrogens and fat storage. Estrogens increase fat-storage levels, and in turn the synthesized fat releases a signal to the body to produce even more estrogen. Estrogen also prevents healthy muscle growth through an enzyme called aromatase, which converts fat preventative testosterones to estrogen. Estrogenic compounds have been found in fertilizers, pesticides, plastics, soy isoflavones, certain herbs, and petroleum products. There are multiple ways to avoid and decrease high estrogen levels. Staying away from refined foods (http://www.livestrong.com/article/27460-list-refined-foods/), sticking to organic foods, eating lots of cruciferous vegetables, and exercising are good preventative practices. Flushing away excess estrogen can be done by increasing fiber intake, as well as an occasional liver-cleanse to eliminate stored estrogen in the liver. Julian Bakery carries a number of supplements to help your battle with estrogen: Indole-3 aids in decreasing estrogen levels if you don’t eat enough vegetables, and adrenal complex prevents fatigued adrenals from overproducing estrogen as you age.
When most people hear the word ‘testosterone’ they think male sexual function and muscle enlargement. Although men produce at least 10 times more testosterone than women, testosterone plays a very important role in preventing fat deposits in both sexes. It’s muscle building capabilities are a direct link to burning fat and preventing fat storage. As we just discussed, decreasing estrogen is essential to increasing testosterone levels. Only after decreasing estrogen levels, can you then focus on increasing testosterone. Zinc is an important mineral that not only prevents testosterone from being converted into estrogen, but also turns estrogen into testosterone. Zinc can be found in oysters, liver, seafood, legumes, and seeds. Healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (which I dive into in my next post) also contribute to increasing testosterone levels.
Knowing how these fat-burning pathways work allows us to fight fats on multiple fronts. It is important to educate yourself on these processes and dieting methods before adjusting your diet or taking on an exercise plan. Without this knowledge you could be simply wasting time and money. Stay updated on the Julian Bakery Blog postings, and keep shopping at www.julianbakery.com to help you fight against estrogen and fat.