Hormones which influence our metabolism!


Any knowledge of metabolism is incomplete without understanding the 5 key hormones that govern it! Let’s understand them in detail.

  • Adiponectin

This hormone helps in burning fat for fuel. If you’re struggling to burn your body fat, it is possible that you may not be making enough of this hormone. Optimal levels of adiponectin can directly lower blood glucose levels, break down triglycerides and increase the burning of fats in the liver and muscle tissue. When a person consumes a high-calorie diet which is rich in processed and refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, this lowers the body’s ability to secrete and synthesise adiponectin, due to insulin resistance. Swapping unhealthy fats for healthy fats like ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like salmon.

  • Ghrelin

This hormone is produced by the cells of our stomach itself. It signals hunger in the brain and increases fat accumulation by slowing down processes that break down stored fat. Ghrelin overproduction activates a series of events that makes it harder to eat right and make sensible food choices.

  • Insulin

We all know insulin as a diabetes hormone. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone and chronic high levels of insulin increase inflammation in the body, although it does play a role in normalizing blood glucose levels.

  • Leptin

This hormone is released from adipose or fat tissue sending a message of satiety, telling your body you are full and satisfied. People who are obese and tend to over eat usually have leptin resistance, which means the body is unable to feel full and keeps signalling hunger.

  • Cortisol

This is a stress hormone, released by the adrenal glands. It helps us deal with the stress response by priming the body for a fight-or-flight situation. High levels of cortisol, leads to high blood sugar levels. Cortisol also makes you crave sugars, simple carbohydrates and foods that quickly turn to sugar, because the brain thinks it needs energy from sugar to fight or flight. This can cause an imbalance in the blood sugar levels.

There are a lot of ways we can optimise these hormones. Eat a diet high in proteins and healthy fats and reduce consumption of refined, processed and sugar-laden foods, which cause insulin resistance over time and cause poor metabolic functions.

Swap refined and processed carbohydrates for whole grains and colorful fruits & vegetables which are high in phytonutrients. Practice mindfulness, include movement in your daily routine, and get adequate sleep – these can help in optimizing these hormones and can improve your

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Functional Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner

Smriti is a leading Health Coach and Functional Medicine Practitioner, based out of Gurgaon, India.