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Want to lose weight? Pay attention to your bloodwork!

By Perrin Braun Oct 09, 2013

 

Have you hit a weight loss plateau? Many people find that even intense workouts aren’t helping them to shed extra pounds, but the problem may be solved by gaining a deeper understanding of what’s going on inside of your body. The good news is that there are certain blood biomarkers that are relevant for people who are looking to lose weight, so knowing your biomarker status can be a powerful step toward beating the battle of the bulge! InsideTracker is a great tool for people who want to drop some pounds because it combines blood analysis with a powerful algorithm to show the status of your unique biochemistry. That way, you know which biomarkers to focus on to lose weight. 

Are you ready to lose some weight? Here are a few important biomarkers that you may want to watch:weight loss

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has several important functions in the body, most notably helping to improve bone health in partnership with calcium. Additionally, studies are also showing that low levels of vitamin D, specifically in the form of vitamin D3, are linked to overweight and obesity. According to one article from 2009, vitamin D levels measured at the start of a weight loss program could accurately predict the amount of weight that participants lost. Those people with the lowest vitamin D levels lost less weight and abdominal fat than their counterparts with higher levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, supplements that contain both vitamin D and calcium have the potential to be effective for weight loss, but scientists have not yet determined if taking vitamin D alone can help you shed extra weight.

So, how can you increase your vitamin D3 status? Since your body actually can make most of its vitamin D3 from sunshine, simply getting outside more often can increase your body’s stores of the vitamin. You can also get more vitamin D3 from fatty fish, mushrooms, and supplementation.

Click here to learn how InsideTracker can provide you with a personalized plan to lose weight!

Glucose

Glucose, or blood sugar, derives in part from the carbohydrates that we consume. After we eat carbohydrates, glucose enters individual cells throughout the body and provides them with the energy that they need to function. However, increased blood glucose levels may lead to weight gain. Researchers at the university of Southern Denmark reported that high levels of glucose may boost fat production in the pancreas and high levels of fat in the blood.

It’s also important to note the role of insulin in the body, which is a hormone that helps to regulate the level of sugar in the blood. When your blood sugar is high, insulin moves the sugar from your blood into your cells. People with insulin resistance, which is a condition where the body is unable to use insulin effectively, often have high blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance commonly occurs in people who are overweight and obese, and it is also a common predictor of weight gain in postmenopausal women. The bottom line: don’t allow your insulin and glucose levels to get too high. If you’re watching your blood sugar levels, you can follow the glycemic index diet, which ranks foods and beverages containing carbohydrates based on how they affect your blood sugar levels.

Cortisol

Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It helps us respond to both physical and emotional stress, and plays a key role in a number of essential physiological functions. While healthy levels of cortisol play an important role in glucose and fat metabolism, chronically high levels of the hormone have been linked to weight gain. Some studies show that consistently elevated levels of cortisol cause fat stores and excess circulating fat in the blood to be deposited deep within the abdomen, which can result in weight gain. Animal and human studies have also shown that cortisol injections are associated with increased appetite and sugar cravings. It is believed that cortisol directly influences our food choices by binding to certain receptors in the brain, which can encourage us to choose foods that are high in sugar and fat.

Fortunately, lifestyle modifications and stress management techniques can play a significant role in controlling cortisol levels. Identifying how you respond to stress and your personal stressors, as well as what helps you relax, is important. Consider the following tips for coping with stress:

Exercise regularly Eat a healthy diet (think whole foods!) with consistent meal timing Get sufficient sleep and rest Maintain positive, healthy relationships Practice relaxation, whether through yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, listening to music, or laughing Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine intake

Testosterone

Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is present in the bodies of both men and women. It plays a key role in development and maintenance of both muscle mass and strength, and also contributes to the body’s maintenance of energy levels. Men’s levels of testosterone naturally decrease with age, which can cause problems with weight gain later in life. According to the Mayo Clinic, men who have reduced levels of testosterone tend to put on weight and have difficulty losing weight. In one study, obese men showed significantly lower testosterone levels than normal or overweight men. This was also the case across different age groups, which suggests that fat may have an even greater effect on testosterone levels than advancing age. Conversely, obese men who lost weight were shown to have increased testosterone levels. The good news is that while losing weight may be difficult for men with lowered testosterone, keeping it off may be easier because of the hormonal changes that accompany weight loss.

If your testosterone is low, there are natural ways to increase it. Research has shown that repeated heavy endurance exercise without adequate rest can cause a significant decrease in testosterone. This means that you should allow ample time for sleep and recovery. The length of your recovery period depends on the intensity and duration of your workouts, so listen to your body and adjust your training regimen accordingly. Your body also needs enough good-quality sleep to repair the damage that normally occurs in training. Lastly, pay attention to your diet, especially your pre-workout meals and post-workout foods. Check your InsideTracker nutrition page for foods rich in the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal performance.

If you want to lose weight (and keep it off!), it’s important to consider what’s going on inside, not just how you look on the outside. That’s why InsideTracker is such an important tool for people who want to get leaner, fitter, and healthier—it helps customers understand how their lifestyles are affecting their body, and shows exactly what changes to make in order to achieve their health and wellness goals. Happy weight loss!

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