Spare tire. Pudge. Beer belly. Muffin tops. No matter what you call it, we’re talking about the same thing- abdominal fat.
Perhaps you’ve heard lately that this type of fat is more dangerous then the fat we tend to put on in our hips, butt or thighs. We know that the more abdominal fat a person has, the greater their cardiovascular risk. But that’s not the whole story of belly fat.
We also know that increased belly fat indicates insulin resistance, an indicator of pre-diabetes. Don’t forget that insulin is a hormone and the pancreas, the organ that makes and secretes insulin, is an endocrine gland. The endocrine (hormone) system is complex and we are still learning about the myriad of interactions between hormones and the tissues they affect. One thing is for sure, if one hormone is out of balance, others usually are too.
With this in mind, its no surprise that insulin resistance comes with increased levels of DHEA & testosterone. At first, that might not seem like a big deal, but consider that this trifecta of insulin resistance, high DHEA & high testosterone causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in women. The facial hair growth typical of PCOS is caused by the higher-then-normal levels of testosterone.
These hormone imbalances can also lead to adrenal fatigue, as the overworked adrenals struggle to keep up with the increased demand for cortisol, DHEA and sex hormones (estrogen & testosterone). How do you know if you have adrenal fatigue? I tell my patients if you’re sick & tired of being sick & tired, if you need caffeine and sugar to get through your day, or if you are absolutely flat-line after lunch, you have adrenal fatigue.
Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, PCOS, and adrenal fatigue can all therefore, be traced back to a common source- hormone imbalance.
So, how does one fix this hormone imbalance?
It’s starts with testing. But it has to be the right test. Blood tests for hormone levels are inaccurate because most of the hormones in the blood travel around bound to proteins. Since we can’t measure them accurately when they are bound this way, blood tests are inaccurate. Salivary testing has been shown to be a more accurate test for cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA levels. And its a simple as spitting in to a test tube.
If you’re ready to get rid of that spare tire, see a health care practitioner who can properly evaluate you for the hormone imbalance that may be causing the abdominal fat in the first place.