Creating a true understanding of the basic hormones will be of great benefit while working to achieve one’s health and fitness goals.

Because food and exercise have a direct impact on these little messengers it would behoove all of us to at least understand a little Hormones 101.


Hormones are chemicals that are released by cells that affect cells in other parts of the body. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. It is essentially a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another.

This is just a list of some of the basic hormones that come up when dealing with weight-loss or weight-gain:


Insulin causes most of the body's cells to take up glucose from the blood (including liver, muscle, and fat tissue cells), storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stops use of fat as an energy source.

What you need to know about Insulin!

You MUST control your insulin levels.

During your meals, do NOT fall in love with starches. If you seem to have a propensity to consume large amounts of complex carbohydrates, no matter the quality, you need to combine them with a fat, protein and a fiber. By doing this, you will create a much lower glycemic-index rating for the meal itself, which will keep your blood sugar levels down and in turn keep stress off the pancreas.

High insulin levels are KILLER! Literally. This is one basic hormone that we need to give its proper place in the downfall of the health of the United States.

Beyond Type II Diabetes and Obesity, did you know that high insulin levels have been directly connected with High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, and Arteriosclerosis?

I know, I know... you thought those were high fat intake diseases.

Think again. We are not made up to consume a high-carbohydrate diet that constantly creates blood sugar and insulin challenges.

The truth is, anybody who can get their insulin levels under control is going to be a lot healthier for it.


Glucagon is an important basic hormone involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Produced by the pancreas, it is released when the glucose level in the blood is low (hypoglycemia), causing the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. The action of glucagon is thus opposite to that of insulin, which instructs the body's cells to take in glucose from the blood.


Cortisol is usually referred to as the "stress hormone" as it is involved in response to stress and anxiety.


Epinephrine is a "fight or flight" basic hormone, and plays a central role in the short-term stress reaction. It is released from the adrenal glands when danger threatens or in an emergency, hence an Adrenaline “Rush”. Such triggers may be threatening, exciting, or environmental stressful conditions such as high noise levels, or bright light and high ambient temperature


Ghrelin has emerged as the first circulating hunger hormone. Ghrelin levels increase before meals and decrease after meals.


Leptin signals to the brain that the body has had enough to eat, or satiety. It also, increases energy expenditure by increasing body temperature and oxygen consumption.

What you need to know about Leptin!

Leptin lets you know when you have had enough to eat and also increases your body temperature and oxygen consumption.

So... it is IMPERATIVE to keep your Leptin at the most beneficial levels at all times.

Leptin is a life-saver, or should I say, the "Starvation Mode" hormone. The hormone is needed during times of famine to keep us from "burning" up.

There is a good chance you may never have to deal with famine, but have you ever dieted, created a caloric deficit or just plain starved yourself? If so, Leptin is what helped keep you from burning too many calories and too much body-fat.

So, if you are interested in burning more body-fat and you are planning on restricting your calories while doing so, you need to know this.

Leptin levels have been found to decrease after seven days of calorie restriction. But, Leptin levels have been found to increase only after one day of increased caloric intake.

Also, there seems to be a relationship with carbohydrates, insulin and leptin.

What does this mean for you?

If you are going to "diet", you will begin to quit burning body-fat after seven days. To kick in your fat-burning hormones, including leptin, you will need to "tell" your body you are NOT starving it.

Here is how?

You will need to consume CARBOHYDRATES.

Does it need to be a "cheat" day? Probably not. But, at least a "cheat" meal. Your goal for the meal will be to achieve a nice little insulin response to get your leptin levels back to where they need to be increase your body temperature and oxygen consumption.

Remember... at this point, it will take another week of caloric restriction for your leptin levels to fall off again.

Happy Fat Burning!


Clearly, the basic hormones have a great impact on our health. If these hormones are optimal we can expect phenomenal health, if not, we can expect to feel lousy and even worse yet, diseased or dead.

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