Hormones, Problem Areas and Your Body-Fat Map – Part 2

In yesterday’s post, I introduced you to the idea that your hormones are responsible for your personal fat-distribution patterns.

For example, women with an excessive percentage of fat on the back of their arms are likely to have elevated insulin levels or low DHEA levels.

Body-Fat Map - Female woman

Men unlucky enough to be lugging around a generous set of man-boobs are likely to have high levels of estrogen (often combined with high insulin and low testosterone)

Body-Fat Map - Male

So, as a public service to all of my man-boobed brothers out there, we are going to take a look at how to get those hormones back in balance.

(For this post, I will be using a variety of reference sources. Most of the sources are pretty dry and technical, but one that I can heartily recommend to y’all is The Hormone Diet by Dr. Natasha Turner (Canada). It is a great reference that is easy to read and understand. I will be doing a more detailed book review about this book in the coming weeks.)

High Insulin

Causes

  • Eating too much over-processed, nutrient deficient carbohydrates – fast food, frozen dinners, pop, fruit drinks, sugary foods, processed diet foods…you know. Crap.
  • Eating too little protein – real protein, not processed McNugget protein
  • Eating too little fat – real fat, not trans-fat
  • Not enough fiber in your diet - no need for supplements, you should get enough protein from fruit & veg
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Not enough exercise
  • Excessive exercise to the point of muscle wasting
  • Steroid based medications
  • Poor liver function
  • Environmental toxins
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Aging – sorry about that one

Solutions

  • Diet – Sugar/Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Medierranean
  • Botanical – Cinnamon, Chromium – talk to your naturopath
  • Increase consumption of fiber
  • Increase consumption of fish oils
  • Weight loss
  • Exercise
  • Reduce exposure to toxins & improve liver function – talk to your naturopath
  • Sleep
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Testosterone

While not very common in men, it affects about 10% of women

Causes

  • Increased production by the adrenal glands
  • Polycystic ovaries caused by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Low Estrogen. Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production, so anything that decreases estrogen levels beyond the norm is going to increase the testosterone to estrogen balance

Solutions

  • Stress management = lowered cortisol = reduction in adrenal production
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Pharmaceutical – Troglitazone and Metformin – talk to your doctor
  • Botanical – Saw Palmetto – talk to your naturopath
  • Estrogen replacement – bio-identical or conventional – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Testosterone

Causes

  • Aging
  • Damage  to the testicles
  • Radiation
  • Testicular or Pituitary tumors
  • Serious viral infections
  • Vasectomy
  • Various genetic conditions – Klinefelter’s, Kallmann’s, Prader-Willi syndromes and Myotonic Dystrophy

In addition to these causes, there are a variety of lifestyle causes. These include:

  • Obesity…it’s a vicious circle – low test causes obesity and obesity causes lowered test…sorry
  • Exposure to pesticides
  • Exposure to hormones used in factory farm meat and poultry production. These hormones act like Estrogen in your body, and…
  • Estrogen is a potent inhibitor of testosterone production, so anything that increases estrogen levels beyond the norm is going to negatively impact testosterone production
  • Phthalates (found in soap, cosmetics and plastics) are another estrogen like compound that suppresses testosterone.
  • Alcohol…especially beer
  • Temperature – boxers v.s briefs
  • Sleep apnea
  • Narcotics

Solutions

Female

  • Diet – Dump your low-fat diet and increase your healthy fats
  • Botanical – Tribulus – talk to your naturopath
  • High Intensity exercise
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Male

  • Diet – Dump your low-fat diet and increase your healthy fats
  • Botanical – Tribulus – talk to your naturopath
  • Pharmaceutical – Aromatase blockers and/or testosterone, anabolic steroids – talk to your doctor and/or your lawyer…see Manny Ramierez
  • High Intensity exercise
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Estrogen or Estrogen Dominance

Causes

  • Pregnancy & menstrual cycle fluctuations
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Obesity – obesity causes high estrogen which causes obesity…
  • Poor diet – processed foods, a high fat diet, a high sugar diet, excessive caffeine, low levels of magnesium and B6
  • Birth control pill
  • Exposure to hormones used in factory farm meat and poultry production. These hormones act like Estrogen in your body, and…
  • Phthalates and other xenoestrogens (found in soap, cosmetics and plastics)
  • Low testosterone
  • Impaired liver function
  • Poor digestion
  • Alcohol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of sleep

Solutions

  • Stress management
  • Improve your diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean/increase your fiber
  • Reduce your exposure to hormones and xenoestrogens
  • Improve liver function – talk to your naturopath
  • Get more sleep
  • Exercise more
  • Pharmaceutical – Testosterone – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Estrogen

Causes

  • Aging – Menopause
  • Premature failure of the ovaries
  • Surgical menopause
  • Unmanaged high levels of stress
  • Smoking
  • Low-fat diets
  • Extremely low body-fat

Solutions

Female

  • Estrogen replacement – bio-identical or conventional – talk to your doctor
  • Get your hormone levels checked

High Cortisol

We all have stress in our lives. The problems begin when we can’t handle the stresses that are thrown our way. That is when stress starts negatively impacting our health. Chronic elevated levels of corisol is just one symptom of that impact.

Causes

  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress

Solutions

  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Reduce intake of stimulants
  • Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Growth Hormone

Causes

  • Aging
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating before bed
  • Sleeping with lights on

Solutions

  • Don’t eat before bed
  • Sleep in the dark
  • High Intensity exercise – low intensity (ie cardio) has little effect
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Supplements – GHB and the Amino Acids Arginine, Lysine and Ornithine – talk to your doctor/naturopath
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low DHEA

Causes

  • Aging
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress

Solutions

  • DHEA supplements – talk to your naturopath
  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Insulin control diet – Paleo/Atkins/Mediterranean
  • Reduce intake of stimulants
  • Supplements – Multi-Vitamin/Mineral, magnesium, B5, B6, Phosphatidylserine, adaptogens such as ginseng – talk to your naturopath.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Low Progesterone

Causes

  • Lack of ovulation
  • Unmanaged high levels of chronic stress
  • Low levels of luteinizing hormone
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excess prolaction

Solutions

  • Progesterone cream – talk to your doctor/naturopath
  • Stress management – meditation, breathing techniques, psychiatry, psychotherapy, mindfulness practice, biofeedback + a million more techniques available on late-night infomercials and the inter-web.
  • Get your hormone levels checked

Note

I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one on tv. So, if you think something is out of whack with your hormones, go and get them checked.  That doesn’t mean that you have to take the drugs that your doctor is probably going to push on you. But, at least you will have the info to make your best decision.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. If I don’t feel confident about my ability to answer it, I will try and convince an “expert” to weigh in.

2 thoughts on “Hormones, Problem Areas and Your Body-Fat Map – Part 2

  1. so no need for liposuction after all, heh, now that we know which hormones (or lack thereof) controls fat deposition on what problem areas

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