How Are Your Hormones and Enzymes Managers of Fat?
When you start a business and you grow to the point you hire managers, you have to have some trust in them that they will make it work. That same trust is required with hormones and enzymes.
With your body, trying to get it in shape and fighting diseases, the managers you need to get to know are hormones and enzymes their workers. If you can make their life easier, then they will work in your favor to do some great things for your energy levels, body fat percentage, and overall health.
What are Hormones?
So in the words of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: “who are these guys?” As mentioned, hormones act as the managers in your body telling your cells what or what not to do through chemical reactions. This is evident in sex hormones, growth hormones, and adrenaline to help with “flight or fight” emotion we get.
For all of these hormones, they talk to your cells in their own way. They persuade your body to make the fuel and fat available for those actions through enzymes. There are different receptors that receive messages from certain hormones, just like each department may have different managers that report to higher level managers. Our body stores fat for fuel just for these occasions when they need a variety of workers for a big project. Most managers have a good purpose, but if things start to go wrong, they can go south in a hurry. You know like randomly firing people at will or not using workers like they should.
Maybe the biggest player in dictating what fat does in the hormone management is insulin. As I mentioned in our last post, we secrete it to handle blood sugar level of glucose entering the bloodstream to protect our body. Insulin is also secreted when we eat protein and dietary fat, but is far more measured. Carbs determine the amount of insulin secretion, but insulin also determines where fat is stored and how our body uses fat and protein.
Insulin makes sure you get enough fuel glycogen to use as energy between meals and that muscle tissue gets the protein it needs to reinforce itself, especially after working out or facing any physical rigors. Insulin is the principle regulator of fat metabolism; which means it determines where we store fat.
It is like the manager that determines where each employee is going to set up their desks, what they do at their desks and which ones he sends down to the basement. It also does a lot of good if we feed our bodies the right foods. Insulin regulates blood sugar, tells you that you are full, puts nutrients in the right cells, slows aging, and will figure out your GAAP revenue. (ok maybe not the last one)
Two Other Key Supporting Managers
Insulin works with two other enzyme managers to regulate fat: LPL and HSL.
Enzymes are biological catalysts that tell your cells what to do in your body. They take orders from hormones to be the “slave drivers” on the gazillion cells in your body. Inside your body, it is like a Fortune 500 organization, being there are 75,000 enzyme managers operating and directing your cells around. They speed up chemical reactions inside your body at astronomical rates in order to basically keep you alive and positively reacting to whatever curveball Earth may be throwing at you.
LPL: Lipoprotein Lipase
One enzyme that is impacted by insulin is lipoprotein lipase (LPL). LPL sticks out from the membranes and pulls fat out of membranes into the cell. It breaks down triglycerides to allow fatty acids to flow into the cells (fat or muscle) to make them larger.
Hormones like estrogen and testosterone control LPL and how much fat it stores in the fat cells. LPL activity is higher in certain areas based on sex or genetic disposition (fat in the gut for men or fat in the hips and butt for women).
When we work out, LPL decreases effort on our fat cells and increases activity on our muscle cells. This prompts the release of fat from our fat tissue so we can burn it in our muscle cells which need the fuel. After we are done working out the LPL activity on the muscle cells shut down while LPL activity reverts back to the fat cells. Both fat and muscle cells need to restock after workouts, that is why they need food (protein and fats) to replenish muscle and fat cells.
As I mentioned it is insulin that dictates the action of LPL. The more insulin we secrete, the more active the LPL is on the fat cells causing fatty acids to move from the bloodstream and be stored as triglycerides in our fat cells.
Insulin plays such huge favorites with fat cells when it is out of whack that it also manages to suppress LPL activity on the muscle cells, meaning they can’t burn the fatty acids or store it for muscle tissue. As these triglycerides break up in the fat cells from time to time (the wallet analogy we talked about), they are getting blocked from moving to any other cell and end up back in the fat cells as triglycerides.
HSL: Hormone Sensitive Lipase
There is a ying to this LPL yang called Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL). Insulin also bosses this enzyme around too, but this is the stronger enzyme manager. HSL works to make our fat cells leaner, which yes makes us leaner. It breaks down triglycerides into fatty acids to escape fat cells into blood circulation.
Your free little fatty acids! Run! Live!
But yet again if you have excess insulin, then it will suppress HSL activity which prevents triglycerides from being broken down. It takes very little insulin secretion to stop HSL. Remember this as we talked about eating the right foods and completely avoiding grains, dairy, sugar, and legumes if you want fast results. This is why it takes very little calories of the wrong foods to make such a huge impact in how fast you lose fat.
What Else Does Insulin Do?
Insulin impacts each person differently. We all secrete insulin, but we don’t all get fat because of it. This goes back to the primary importance of genetics. Often some of us will get more fat, fat in different areas, gain fat faster, or store more fat at a younger age. It is so detailed, that fat building, burning, and transfer capabilities are different from cell to cell.
While we are all so different, still every person can dictate hormones and enzymes appropriately to control fat. Unfortunately, some will just have to work harder than others because of how their hormones and enzymes react to food, exercise, sleep and stress.
With that said, there are some common characteristics of what hormones; specifically Insulin does in all of our bodies.
Creates More Glucose: Insulin turns on a mechanism that pumps in glucose to the fat cells. It is like getting a flood of resumes for new hires, but they aren’t good resumes. This increases the amount of glucose the fat cells metabolize into triglycerides.
Creates More Fat Cells: Insulin works to create new fat cells so that way there are more places to store more fat. This is like the company building more offices to house all of these new employees they are bringing in, but unfortunately they are poor employees in a poor work environment. It signals liver cells not to burn fatty acids, but to repackage into triglycerides and reship them to the fat tissue.
Length and Amount of Fat Storing: Anything that causes our insulin levels to go up when we eat will extend the fat storing phase, which means more triglycerides being formed. While if we limit the insulin craziness by eating healthy, the length and amount of fat storing drops dramatically.
The more insulin flowing recklessly also means more time spent by our body burning glucose instead of working on the fat cells that are already in the body. It is like a manager having to deal with too many new employees and therefore has no time to deal with senior employees and their needs. Your body has become overstaffed.
Locks Down the Office: Insulin suppresses the flow of fatty acids from the fat cells as we mentioned. This means until insulin subsides our body can’t use much fat or protein for energy. Insulin locks up protein in the muscles. It also does the same with the carbs, now glucose, stored in the muscle tissue and the liver.
So the cells feel starved for fuel and we feel that internal hunger. We end up eating sooner or more than what we would have otherwise. We get bigger portions and put on more fat, so our fuel requirements increase as well to keep the body satisfied. As we add fat, our bodies crave the same food that is making us fat. You may know this as a “sweet tooth”. It is more than just sugar though. We hunger for sugar and grains instead of lean meat, fat, or vegetables. We keep piling on and indulge our bad cravings more and more.
Double-edged Sword: I mentioned that insulin has a lot of benefits if we treat our body right by eating healthy foods. At the same time, the diseases insulin helps to prevent can also be the same diseases it promotes in the body. I am talking about advanced aging, mental deterioration, and a mean drop kick to your baby making abilities.
Overpowering Hormone: Insulin is the only hormone that stores fat or tries to preserve it for energy. When insulin is triggered, it overpowers any other hormone or enzyme in the control of fatty acids.
For example, insulin will cause you to store more fat, than adrenaline will be able to pull, through the enzyme HSL, and use for energy. HSL is overpowered by insulin every time.
Insulin always wins over the other hormones and enzymes when bad food is around in large quantity. Everything insulin does is to increase the fat we store and decrease the fat we burn. This is why you see diabetics often gain weight from insulin shots.
This doesn’t mean insulin is bad. As I mentioned we need to store fat, it is just a question of how much fat. If you can eat the right foods, get exercise, plenty of sleep, and avoid stress then insulin will be under control and manage appropriately with other hormones and enzymes.
Up Next after Hormones and Enzymes
Now that you have gotten a good dosage of insulin, it is time to talk about some other hormones that are on the organization chart of your body.