Many patients come to us with symptoms of hormone imbalance that also include mid-section weight gain. Estrogen dominance is a common hormone imbalance that affects both women and men (as early as the 30s for women and the 40s for men) and causes those "love handles" to appear as you age.
Why Hormones Affect Weight Gain
Too much estrogen circulating in the body increases body fat, and fatty tissue (which contains an enzyme that converts adrenal hormones into estrogen) produces and stores more estrogen. This causes a continuous loop: at a cellular level, body fat continues to produce more estrogen, and high estrogen levels cause the body to increase its storage of fat.
When you are estrogen dominant, your body is unable to effectively use fat stores for energy, which means that your body's ability to metabolize or burn body fat for calories is compromised. The result is extra weight that won't go away even with more exercise or less eating. When high estrogen levels are unopposed (by progesterone, for example), it also impacts your body's fat distribution. In women, fat tends to be stored around the waist, hips, and thighs, and in men, estrogen dominance causes the classic "spare tire."
Three Steps to Tackling Weight Gain
My three-step approach to tackle this hormone-induced weight gain has three parts:
- Eat foods that help you metabolize (process/remove) estrogen.
- Restore balance with bioidentical progesterone, which directly brings your estrogen levels back to normal.
- Take supplements that support (not sabotage) your hormone balance.
Foods that Metabolize Estrogen
Recommended foods include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. They contain a phytonutrient called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that helps reduce your estrogen load. Also recommended are citrus fruits with d-Limonene, and insoluble fiber, which acts as an estrogen binder. (You can find more detail and other examples of estrogen-fighting "belly blaster" foods in From Belly Fat to Belly Flat.)
Restore Balance with Bioidentical Progesterone
The health benefits of bioidentical progesterone go far beyond weight loss, but that is one of its many positive (and popular!) effects. Bioidentical progesterone neutralizes excess estrogen by triggering a metabolic response that allows weight loss to occur. Thyroid function returns to normal, and the rapid release of insulin is reduced, resulting in normalized blood sugar levels and fewer food cravings.
Supplements That Can Support Your Hormone Balance
Supplements that support hormone balance and weight loss include several of our top choices at the Wellness Store:
- 7 Keto: a natural hormone metabolite of DHEA that helps to reduce body fat through thermogenesis.
- Chito-Slim: aids in weight loss by suppressing appetite and converting the fat molecules into a form that the body does not absorb. Because Chito-Slim causes less fat to enter the body, the body has to turn to previously stored body fat to burn for energy. Recommended for food cravings, unwanted weight gain, belly fat, inability to lose weight, general symptoms of estrogen dominance.
- Estrodim CDG: combines the benefits of the cruciferous vegetable metabolites Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and diindolylmethane (DIM) to support proper estrogen metabolism. In addition, Calcium D-glucarate helps increase the excretion of estrogen from the body.
- Cal-Mag Plus D: Calcium is best known for its part in the development of bone and teeth but it also plays a role in keeping the heart and muscles functioning by regulating muscle contractions. Magnesium is also a component of bone and controls potassium and calcium uptake, assisting electrical nerve activity, and managing the metabolism of carbohydrates.
- Super B Complex: contains the entire spectrum of B vitamins to support adrenal and neurological functions. It features activated forms of vitamins B2, B6, and B12; benfotiamine, a fat soluble, more physiologically active form of thiamine; and folate as Quatrefolic®, which is proven to have greater stability, solubility, and bioavailability over calcium salt forms of 5-MTHF.
Your Next Steps
Discover more details about this approach, including a month of recipes to try, in From Belly Fat to Belly Flat! Or check out the "Shape Up Pack" at the Wellness Store, which includes the book and the four supplements described here.
If you’d like to share your journey or come in for an appointment, visit our practice in Jacksonville, Florida. I look forward to hearing about your experience!