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How “Set Point” Hormone Entanglement Keeps You Overweight

by Dr. David Minkoff September 25, 2019 7 min read 0 Comments

How “Set Point” Hormone Entanglement Keeps You Overweight

The Fallacy of Calories-In-Calories-Out Model

The more we learn about the biochemistry of our body; the more calories appear to be a deeply flawed model of how we turn food into fat. In the livestock industry, for example, adding a single chemical additive to their feed increased weight gain by over 20% with no increase in calories.

Same amount of food. Same type of food. 20% more weight.

How is that even possible?

It’s because these chemical additives used by factory farms influence the livestock’s hormones. And the hormones are what really control weight gain… and loss.

We’re going to take a deeper look at how these hormones influence your weight – and how you can use them to finally lose those pounds.


Why We Yo-Yo: It’s not You, it’s Your Hormones

Our weight is regulated by a complex dance of hormones, each one influencing the other. They all orbit around what is known as a “set weight point” – the number that your body tries to maintain. Biologically, this set point means “survival” for your body. If you go under it, your body will do whatever it can to get back to the same point. [1]

Unfortunately, if that point has been set unnecessarily high for whatever reasons, it means your body is actively fighting you wherever you go on a diet to lose weight.

And that’s why so many people gain it right back. Your hormones send the signal that you are in starvation, you don’t have enough energy, you don’t have the necessary resources for survival and reproduction.

Because that’s the function of the weight set point – to ensure your survival and reproductive capacity. The yo-yo effect of weight loss – losing, then gaining, then losing, then gaining even more – is a frustrating cycle governed entirely by your hormones.

The process involves elaborate feedback mechanisms, multiple organ systems, inflammation, receptor downregulation and resistance and all sorts of technical details… 

...but the result is an inability to lose the weight you want – and need – to lose. So let’s take a look at some of these details and look at where we can exert influence to change our health.


The Unusual Suspects

There are at least 10 different hormones involved with body weight. Today, however, we’re just going to focus on 4 of them:

Leptin, Ghrelin, Insulin, and Cortisol.


How Insulin Makes You Fat

Let’s start with insulin, the master hormone of blood sugar and fat storage. Your pancreas makes insulin in response to increased blood sugar. Insulin tells your cells absorb, use, and store the sugar energy.

How do you store all the extra sugar you can’t immediately use?


Briefly, it looks like this:

You eat some carbohydrates or sugary foods. It is broken down into simple sugars by your digestive tract and now your blood sugar goes up. Now your pancreas responds by secreting a burst of insulin. Your cells begin taking in blood sugar at increased rates. Your blood sugar and energy levels begin to drop because it’s all going into the cells – sugar crash!

All the extra sugar you cannot immediately use is stored as fat in adipose (fat) cells. And finally, after a while, your blood sugar returns to baseline.

This is how carbohydrates expand your waistline. Love handles, flabby arms, potbelly, and all the rest are all essentially excess carbs and sugar. And once that extra fat is there, it begins to shift the balance of other hormones, which we will look at in a moment.

But insulin also affects your brain – specifically an area called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the master control center for homeostasis – a fancy word for optimal biological balance. According to new findings from the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research, in the hypothalamus, insulin “inhibits the neurons responsible for the feeling of satiety.

This means not only does insulin increase body fat, it also makes you feel less full. So, you keep on eating sugary, carb-heavy foods that make you more fat without ever truly feeling satisfied. It’s a negative feedback spiral that leads to more and more weight gain.

Now let’s look at the next level in this feedback loop.


The Leptin-Ghrelin Dance

These two are perhaps the most famous of the metabolic hormones. These are the two signals fundamentally driving our food behavior. They create the dance between hunger and satiety.

Ghrelin is secreted by the empty stomach and acts on the hypothalamus – the area of your brain that ultimately controls your appetite and food intake. Ghrelin creates cravings. Poorly regulated, it leads to overeating [2].

The inverse of ghrelin is leptin. It is secreted by your fat tissue and signals satiety, or “full”. It also acts on the hypothalamus to change your eating behavior.

Where people run into trouble these with two hormones is with resistance. As people gain weight, their fat cells secrete more and more leptin – after all there’s plenty of energy stored up there. But over time, the body gets used to this higher level of leptin and becomes resistant. [3]

The balance between ghrelin and leptin shifts, and now a smaller amount of the “hunger hormone” can overcome the “I’m full” effect of leptin. So, you continue eating even though your body has more than enough stored energy.

Your body becomes accustomed to this skewed hormone balance.

And now when you try to lose weight, your body tries to get itself back to its “normal” imbalance.

As if this weren't’ enough, there’s one more monkey wrench in here complicating this situation, and it’s intimately related with the next hormone: cortisol.


How Stress and Inflammation Keep You Stuck

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because your body releases it in response to stressful situations. It’s necessary in short bursts for certain situations but becomes a major health risk when stress becomes constant and chronic.

Our ancestors only experienced stress in life or death situations, where they needed to fight to protect their family or run away from a hungry lion. Cortisol is secreted and redirects your body’s energy. It shunts blood flow away from your forebrain, which governs higher thought, putting you in a more instinctual and reactive mode of action.

This intense burst of activity requires energy, so it also stimulates cravings for the fastest available energy source: sugar. That’s right, cortisol actually stimulates your craving for sweets. The sweets then trigger insulin, which gets stored as fat, contributing to further leptin resistance, which makes it even harder to lose weight. [4]

See the negative feedback cycle of how these hormones interact? But beyond food cravings, cortisol contributes to weight issues in another even more pernicious way.

Through inflammation.

Inflammation is a necessary part of your immune system. It fights off infection, sort of like a flame thrower. Normally, cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory. But when cortisol is secreted all the time, you build resistance to it and it loses its effectiveness. [5] Inflammation gets stuck in the “on” position and becomes chronic. It starts burning your own cells.

Chronic inflammation is linked to all kinds of chronic diseases – everything from arthritis to neurodegenerative conditions to digestive problems and more. Relevant to this discussion is that it also creates inflammation in the hypothalamus, the same brain region that controls your feeding behavior.

Studies show that hypothalamic inflammation is one of the major causes of leptin insensitivity [6]. This is what keeps your weight set point set so high and makes it so hard to keep the pounds off. The inflammation damages the part of you that tells you to stop eating.

Simply put, chronic stress makes it extremely difficult to lose weight.


The Set Point Hormone Entanglement Problem

You can see that the way all the hormones interact and communicate with each other, it’s very easy to get stuck in a negative spiral of weight gain, stress, and inflammation. And because of increased leptin resistance, it becomes more difficult to lose weight the further down the spiral you go.

The hormone signaling is so entangled it seems almost impossible to change your set point.

So how can we break this vicious cycle without just creating another yo-yo diet effect?

How do we create lasting weight loss and change our weight set point?


Why You Need to Influence the Master Metabolism Regulator for Sustainable Weightloss

The one thing every single hormone discussed here has in common is the hypothalamus. In one way or another, everything comes down to an action on this master regulator of our food behavior. Our appetite, our decision to eat, even our cravings for specific kinds of foods are all mediated by this tiny region of the brain.

This makes it an excellent target for a holistically minded weight loss program.

By targeting the hypothalamus along with a healthy diet and exercise program, you can shift your weight set point while losing weight. Turn down the hypothalamus weight thermostat and the fitter, slimmer, healthier version of you becomes the new you. All the time.

No more fleeting and frustrating glimpses of that person.

No more fighting your cravings.

No more feeling like you are starving or torturing yourself.

A metabolic reset of your metabolism to create a new, healthy set weight point.

And this all comes down to the hypothalamus, the master metabolism regulator.


Our Gentle, All-Natural Solution for Hormonal Rebalancing

As we discussed, body weight is a complex, intricately regulated and interconnected system of hormonal communication. So, it is important to proceed carefully, and gently.

After extensive research and careful monitoring of his own patients to see what worked, what didn't’ work, and what worked exceptionally well, Dr. Minkoff found the answer he was looking for. Unexpectedly, he found it in homeopathy, in a solution called Optimum Weight Management Formula.

Homeopathy uses dilute amounts of active components to gently nudge your system back into balance. It is non-toxic, gentle, and highly effective.

Instead of using a battering ram to smash through a door, it is like turning a doorknob to carefully open it and gain access to the other side.

Combined with a healthy, well thought-out food plan and regular exercise your whole system begins to shift. Your metabolism increases as your weight set point lowers to safer, healthier level.

The end result is sustainable weight loss without the torture and hardship. You feel yourself becoming healthier and more energized instead of deprived and worn down by constantly resisting craving and temptation.

Many people struggle with weight loss because they don't understand how their hormones keep them pinned down to an unhealthy set weight point. Even if they do understand, even fewer know what they can do about it.

Optimum Weight Management Formula is the BodyHealth solution.

This may be the piece you’ve been missing.

You can find out more about Optimum Weight Management Formula here. You can join our full weight loss program, or just purchase the formula and use it on your own – it even comes with a complete meal plan to help you achieve the results you want.

Dr. David Minkoff
Dr. David Minkoff

Dr. Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then worked as an attending physician in infectious disease, co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine until 1995. In 1997, his interest in alternative and complementary medicine led him to open LifeWorks Wellness Center, which has become one of the foremost alternative medicine clinics in the U.S. His search to find a source of the highest quality nutritional supplements led him to establish BodyHealth in 2000, a resource that could provide doctors with the best possible supplementation and education for their patients. Today, the BodyHealth products are used by hundreds of practitioners and individual consumers who seek all-natural wellness and detoxification supplements with a demonstrated high level of quality and effectiveness. In addition to their use by patients looking to heal disease, the BodyHealth products are also used by sports enthusiasts interested in achieving and maintaining optimal performance. As a 42-time Ironman triathlon finisher, (including 8 appearances at the Ironman World Championships) Dr. Minkoff has first-hand experience to help athletes achieve optimum conditioning. His expertise in protein synthesis, detoxification, and nutrition allow them to run, swim, and bike faster and longer. Today, Dr. Minkoff is an alternative healthcare expert, guest lecturer, writer, tv and radio show guest. He also authors two weekly newsletters, the BodyHealth Fitness Newsletter and the Optimum Health Report.

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