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unrelenting stress wreak havoc on our metabolism by elevating blood sugar, breaking down muscle, boosting abdominal fat storage, interfering with thyroid hormones, disrupting sex hormones, and negatively impacting sleep and growth hormone production. Taking steps to reduce sources of stress and learning techniques to calm the body, such as deep abdominal breathing, can go a long way in supporting fat loss and optimal health. Vitamins C and B, especially B5, help support adrenal function and adaptogenic herbs such as holy basil and ashwagandha and have been shown to promote balanced cortisol levels. Estrogen Excess Researchers have identified that for both men and women, excess estrogen is as significant a risk factor for obesity as lack of exercise and poor diet. Excess estrogen accumulates in the body either from increased production or exposure to estrogenmimicking substances, called xenoestrogens, from
our environment and food. These xenoestrogens include growth hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and plastics. A healthy liver and digestive tract are essential to detoxify excess estrogen from the body. In premenopausal women, excess estrogen contributes to weight accumulation around the hips and thighs as well as hormonal complaints such as PMS, heavy or painful menses, and ovarian cysts. Men with high estrogen often have low testosterone as well and struggle with low libido, depression, loss of muscle mass, and increased abdominal weight gain. Sluggish Thyroid Low-functioning thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is a very common cause of impaired metabolism and an inability to lose weight, especially in women. Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolic rate and influence every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Declining levels lead to dry skin and hair, constipation, irregular menses and infertility, cold intolerance,
poor memory, depression, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and muscle and joint pain. Numerous factors can contribute to thyroid dysfunction including gluten intolerance, excess consumption of soy-based foods, environmental toxicity from chemicals and heavy metals, nutrient deficiencies such as zinc, selenium, and iodine, and hormonal imbalances including excess cortisol and estrogen. In order to accurately assess your thyroid function, both symptoms and blood work measuring TSH, free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies should be considered. When weight loss becomes a struggle despite your best efforts at healthy eating and exercise, it is important to consider underlying hormonal imbalances. A naturopathic doctor can assist in the individualized assessment and treatment of these imbalances so that your metabolism can be restored and healthy fat loss achieved.