What is the best HRT for weight loss? How do you know what HRT is right for you? This guide will help you to decide whether or not HRT is right for you, and which type of hormone replacement therapy would be the best choice.
What is hormone replacement therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that supplements the body’s natural hormones in both men and women. Women who are experiencing menopause and women who have had a hysterectomy are typically good candidates for treatment.
HRT is used to treat symptoms associated with declining hormone levels, such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, insomnia, vaginal dryness, weight gain, anxiety, moodiness, dry skin, and low sex drive. HRT uses estrogen and progesterone to help relieve these symptoms and guard against osteoporosis.
In women who have had a hysterectomy, estrogen therapy can be used by itself. Women who experience menopause naturally typically receive both estrogen and progesterone in order to continue the menstruation cycle and protect against uterine cancer.
Hormone replacement therapy for weight loss
There is good news, you can reverse your hormone imbalance and restore your ability to lose weight by simply replenishing the hormones you’ve lost. Many patients seek hormone replacement therapy to help with weight loss, replenishing lost hormones to help promote increased energy and metabolism.
But not all hormones are created equal, so medical experts recommend selecting a hormone replacement therapy that usesbioidentical hormones rather than synthetic ones. Bioidentical hormones are preferred because they’re tailored to have the same molecular structure and biological effect as the hormones produced by your body. Research shows that bioidentical hormones may be safer and rarely cause side effects.
How hormone replacement therapy works
As women become older, their hormone levels gradually decrease as part of the natural aging process. The natural decline in estrogen and progesterone can produce a range of unwanted symptoms that put women at risk of serious medical conditions and that compromise their well-being and quality of life.
HRT supplies women with a boost in these hormones so they can reduce their risk of serious diseases like osteoporosis and cancer, stave off symptoms of menopause, and get back to feeling more comfortable and enjoying their lives.
HRT can be delivered in the form of creams, gels, tablets, vaginal rings, skin patches, and pellets. Some forms of HRT, such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, can be personalized for women to ensure they receive the exact doses of estrogen and progesterone that their bodies need. This helps reduce the risk of health conditions associated with having high hormone levels — such as chronic fatigue, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer.
What hormones make you lose weight?
Once you realize how various bioidentical hormones affect the way your body regulates your weight, you can understand why hormone replacement therapy may help with weight loss. When added to a healthy diet and proper exercise, these hormones can help you take off the weight. Hormones that help with weight loss include:
- Testosterone: This sex hormone produced by both men and women inhibits fat storage, especially in the abdomen. Low levels cause sugar cravings and may lead to insulin resistance.
- Estrone: This form of estrogen helps women control their appetite and sugar cravings.
- Progesterone: This sex hormone facilitates the conversion of stored body fat to energy. It is often used in HRT for women since an imbalance of progesterone causes women to overeat.
- DHEA: A hormone that promotes weight loss by increasing the body’s metabolism, preventing fat storage, and decreasing the appetite for dietary fats.
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH): Naturally produced in the pituitary gland, this hormone is needed to convert body fat into muscle mass. It also inhibits the production of body fat and decreases the visceral and subcutaneous fats.
- Insulin: In addition to regulating fat metabolism, this hormone causes glucose absorption in the liver, muscles, and fat tissues.
- Incretin: This hormone helps ensure an appropriate insulin response after eating by preventing elevated glucagon levels, producing a sense of fullness, curbing food intake, and slowing the rate of gastric emptying.
- Pregnenolone: A powerful hormone that appears to regulate other hormones to prevent the abdominal fat storage and stress caused by cortisol, keep metabolism high, improve brain function and memory, and provide rejuvenating effects.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HRT AND BHRT?
BHRT stands for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, which means that the hormone supplement exactly resembles the one your body makes, therefore making it “bioidentical”. It is natural and plant based. Our body accepts it as its own and responds very well to it compared to synthetic hormones, which usually come from the urine of a female horse. BHRT can be offered via different delivery systems: the hormones can be compounded by a pharmacy in the form of a cream, lozenges, or pills.
Bioidentical hormone prescriptions are personalised for each patient, and it’s essential for a practitioner to initially assess a patient’s medical history and symptoms and action a blood test. They can then prescribe a treatment plan and monitor a patient’s progress, along with regular follow-up tests.
Can HRT reverse skin aging?
HRT may help reverse signs of skin aging by regulating hormones responsible for managing inflammation, tissue repair, and cell growth. A decline in estrogen production can cause skin to lose its elasticity and become thinner, which can lead to sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Some menopause symptoms like night sweats, insomnia, and anxiety can lead to loss of sleep and a decrease in the body’s production of melatonin — both of which are factors that also contribute to signs of aging. HRT can help women achieve a more youthful appearance by regulating hormones that commonly cause signs of aging.
Hormone replacement therapy for men
HRT is also available for men to treat symptoms of andropause — the male version of menopause, which marked by a drop in testosterone levels that many men experience as part of the natural aging process.
Benefits of HRT for men include increased energy, weight loss, improved mood and mental focus, decreased blood pressure and cholesterol, and improved muscle strength and sexual function.
Is hormone replacement therapy right for me?
HRT may be ideal for you if you suffer from moderate to severe symptoms of menopause that strongly impact your health, well-being, and quality of life. Hot flashes, weight gain, sleep loss, depression, and reduced sex drive are just some unpleasant symptoms of menopause that can be difficult to manage and live with, but that can be improved with hormone replacement therapy.
HRT is also ideal for those who have lost bone mass and aren’t responding to other treatments, and for those who have had a hysterectomy, have had their ovaries removed, or who have suffered loss of ovary function.
Though HRT offers a number of health benefits for women going through menopause, this treatment may not be ideal or safe for everyone. Talk to your doctor about the risks of HRT if you suffer from abnormal vaginal bleeding, have gallbladder disease, you’re a smoker, or if you have blood clots or chronic liver disease. HRT may not be safe for you if you have a family history of breast cancer, endometrial cancer, or uterine cancer.
Are HRT pellets safe?
HRT pellets are placed just under the skin and consistently release small doses of hormones to prevent the “roller coaster” effect associated with many other types of hormone replacement therapy. HRT pellets deliver sustained hormone levels throughout the day for between 4 and 6 months, or until the pellets have been completely dissolved by the body. HRT pellets are generally used only in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, since the hormones and pellets used are completely natural and can be safely absorbed by the body. HRT pellets are safe to use, and have been backed by nearly 8 decades of professional medical research.
Findings Suggest Well-Timed Hormone Therapy Helps Prevent Belly Fat
The study analyzed data from a sampling of 1,053 women in the OsteoLaus cohort (which takes its sampling from Lausanne, Switzerland) ages 50 to 80 years old who had their body compositions analyzed through DXA bone density screening. After adjusting for age, those who were currently undergoing hormonal therapy had significantly less visceral fat than women who were never on hormonal therapy. Compared with women who had taken it in the past, current users were found to be nearly one point lower on the BMI scale and have nearly 3 pounds (lb) less of fat mass. Even better: Over the course of 10 years, hormonal therapy prevented this weight gain, which often naturally occurs with age.
Why Does It Matter? Why Now?
Working to prevent weight gain and striving to lose excess weight are particularly important after 40, as it can impact the risk of several dangerous health conditions that often arise with age. A large-scale study conducted in Finland found that peri- and postmenopausal weight gain was associated with the onset of hypertension regardless of initial weight, physical activity level, or hormone replacement status. They further determined that blood pressure rose relatively quickly after the weight was gained and that even a modest weight gain resulted in hypertension. Likewise, the risk of cardiovascular disease—a leading cause of death among women—increases with age and the decline of estrogen levels as the menopause transition is approached. The risks of metabolic syndrome also increase with natural menopause and are even higher with surgical menopause. In other words, now is a critical time to take action to preserve your immediate and long-term health.
Hormone Therapy May Help Fight Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, and Other Risks
The finding of this study adds to growing knowledge of how hormonal therapy may avert certain health risks. “Preclinical data has shown that either surgical menopause or declines in estrogen accelerates fat accumulation, primarily visceral, or abdominal, fat. This increase in abdominal fat has been shown to be associated with insulin resistance and higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, both of which increase the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” says JoAnn Pinkerton, MD, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). (She was not involved in the research.) Previously, in the Women’s Health Initiative, “hormone therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of abdominal fat and new onset diabetes with fewer heart events for women who started hormone therapy between 50 to 59 years of age,” she continues.
Hormonal therapy is used to treat vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, plus vaginal dryness, problems with sexual function, and urinary symptoms, as well as preventing bone loss and fractures, the NAMS spokesperson points out.
Exercise and Diet Are Still Important for Midlife Health
But before you run to your doctor to ask for hormonal therapy, the authors note that the effect on weight loss is pretty small, so it’s not a replacement for other lifestyle changes, like exercise. In fact, to reap the benefits of a lower BMI, women had to be currently on hormone therapy. After stopping, the women instead rebounded by gaining fat, the study found.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can affect weight loss in women
In addition to having less abdominal fat, the same study found that women undergoing HRT were almost one whole point lower on the body mass index (BMI) scale, and they had nearly 3 pounds less of fat mass.
In other research, estrogen has shown signs of controlling body weight. And yet, more evidence suggests estrogen hormone therapy increases a woman’s resting metabolic rate, which may help slow weight gain.
Still…watching what you eat and exercising go a long way in helping you manage your weight during and after HRT. Healthy habits can help reduce the other symptoms of menopause, so grab a friend and take a walk—just get moving!
Conclusions: Combined hormone replacement therapy not only prevented weight-gain, but favored weight-loss by significantly increasing lipid oxidation after 3 months of treatment. It also favourably influenced the insulin response, plasma lipids and energy expenditure.