Triggering Your Fat-Burning Hormones (How To Do It)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 8, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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As a fitness trainer, I understand that each hormone has a unique role in maintaining normal body functions.

One hormone communicates with the brain to increase appetite, while another sends a signal to cease eating.

Certain hormones are responsible for fat storage, whereas others play a crucial role in fat burning.

In this article, I'll uncover the hormones that aid in fat burning and share strategies to activate them, assisting you in natural fat loss.

Let's dive in.

Quick Summary

  • To promote fat loss, focus on stimulating hormones like growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1, glucagon, adrenaline, thyroid hormones, and testosterone.
  • Regular exercise, adequate sleep, mindful eating patterns, and managing calorie intake are essential habits for triggering fat-burning hormones.
  • Research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) highlights the role of diet and exercise in stimulating hormones like glucagon and testosterone, which are crucial for fat metabolism.
  • In my opinion, understanding and managing these hormones can be a game-changer in anyone's fitness journey, offering a more targeted approach to weight loss.

Pro Tips To Make Your 6 Fat-Burning Hormones Work

Holding pants and testing if the jeans still fits

As a fitness trainer, I emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight and tackling issues like leptin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

This approach can effectively kickstart your fat-burning hormones and aid in weight loss. Your fat-slimming hormones can be a natural solution for weight regulation, but you need to activate them first. Here are my pro tips to stimulate your hormones to shed that extra fat:

Growth Hormone (GH)

The growth hormone, also known as the anti-aging hormone, is secreted by the pituitary gland to help regulate the body's metabolism, build lean muscle mass, and hasten tissue repair. Getting adequate sleep and intense exercise stimulates the release of this hormone.

Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)

Insulin-like growth factor-1 is produced by the liver and stimulated by the GH to help enhance muscle mass growth and development. They also help release stored fat to sustain energy in between meals. An excellent normal liver functioning is necessary for IGF-1 to work efficiently.

Glucagon

Glucagon is produced and secreted by the pancreas into the bloodstream. It raises blood sugar levels by converting fat reserves into energy. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), glucagon can be stimulated by high dietary protein, low carbs intake, and intense exercise [1].

Adrenaline 

Adrenaline, also called epinephrine, is produced and released in the adrenal glands to allow our body to utilize accumulated fat for immediate energy provision.

Adrenaline is stimulated when under pressure. That's why it's called a "fight or flight" hormone. It increases mental alertness, raises the heart rate, and speeds up metabolic rate. It can also dampen your appetite and is triggered by exercise.

Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormones are produced and controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland to speed up the metabolic rate at which fat storage is converted to an energy source.

Research shows that moderate to high-intensity cardio activity may help improve your thyroid hormone levels. Also, according to NIH, eating foods rich in antioxidants, vitamin B, selenium, and tyrosine can benefit the thyroid gland [2].

Testosterone

Testosterone is produced in the gonads and the adrenal gland to help you lose weight by developing lean muscle mass and increasing calorie burn. Exercise can stimulate testosterone levels through muscle building.

What Are The 6 Fat-Burning Hormones?

Bearded guy shocked looking at his phone when searching

The six hormones for burning fat or what they call "the fat-loss six" promote rapid fat of the body loss. To achieve weight loss and maintain a healthy weight, it's important to activate your fat-burning hormones and focus on reducing body weight rather than weight gain.

These are:

  • Growth Hormones
  • Insulin-like Growth Factor-1
  • Glucagon
  • Adrenaline
  • The hormones in the thyroid
  • Testosterone

They help the body to lose weight by directly stimulating the breakdown of body fat stores for energy. Also, they help burn more calories by supporting the growth of metabolically active muscles, which are high fat-burning tissues.

Guy sitting with belly out and measuring tape wrapped around his neck

Yes, there is a link between fat cells and hormonal balance.

Adipose tissue, composed of adipocytes or cells of fat, is an endocrine organ that secretes hormones directly into the bloodstream and affects the body's overall hormonal balance.

In particular, the white fat or white adipose tissue secretes numerous protein hormones, including leptin, adiponectin, estrogen, resistin, and angiotensin, which are necessary to maintain normal body functions.

Other Hormones That Control Your Weight

Woman with measuring caliper

Other hormones may contribute to weight management. But keeping them at reasonable levels and improving their function affects how they may control your weight.

  • Insulin  - Insulin works by allowing the body's cells to absorb glucose. It may cause you to gain weight when the cells absorb too much glucose, and your body converts them into fat.
  • Leptin  - Leptin alerts the brain that there is enough energy stored in the body, therefore, lessens food cravings. However, having a condition known as leptin resistance can block the signaling pathway.
  • Ghrelin  - Ghrelin is called the “hunger hormone” because it stimulates your desire for food intake and promotes fat tissue accumulation.
  • Cortisol  - Cortisol regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism to support immediate energy release. It also stimulates insulin release resulting in a huge appetite.

“Science experiments have found that people who practice meditation release significantly lower doses of cortisol, known as the stress hormone. This is consequential because frequent release of cortisol can lead to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, cancer, and depression.”

― Dan Harris, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, & Found Self-Help That Actually Works

  • Estrogen  - Estrogen regulates metabolism and helps suppress appetite. Research shows that low levels of this hormone ramp up food cravings that may lead you to gain weight.
  • Cholecystokinin - Cholecystokinin (CCK) helps stimulate pyloric sphincter tone, which slows down stomach emptying resulting in decreased food intake.
  • Adiponectin  - Adiponectin helps keep a healthy weight by controlling glucose levels within the body and breaking down fatty acids. It also improves insulin sensitivity to increase calorie burn.

Habits That Trigger Hormones To Help Burn Fat Naturally

Two women holding a dumb bell for exercise

To get your fat-burning hormones going, as a fitness trainer, I advise looking at factors like growth hormone, satiety hormone, stress hormones, hormone production, and sex hormones.

Here are some good habits you can cultivate:

  • Exercise - According to NIH, regular exercise helps increase testosterone levels, resulting in high calorie burning due to muscle growth [3]. It also increases insulin sensitivity to reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Eating Patterns - Research suggests that small-sized meals in lower frequency can decrease leptin concentrations which can help individuals who are dealing with their weight gain manage their leptin resistance.
  • Calorie Intake - Calorie restriction can reduce estrogen and testosterone levels which leads to a slower metabolism. As a general principle, it's best to lower calorie intake to only fewer calories than your body requires to achieve healthy body weight.
  • Mindfulness - Studies show that meditation can increase mood-regulating hormones serotonin and acetylcholine and helps lower cortisol levels to reduce the desire to eat foods.
  • Plenty of Sleep - Getting plenty of sleep maintains the health of  your nervous system to manage leptin resistance and chronic stress effectively. It lowers your stress hormone cortisol resulting in appetite reduction.

Foods That Activate Hormones To Help Lose Fat Naturally

Healthy diet food in a bowl

I've seen how the foods we eat daily can activate hormones that significantly ease our weight loss journey. Here are some food choices you can consider:

  • Healthy Fats - Healthy fats may trigger the release of hormones that make you feel full longer. It may also help reduce insulin resistance to prevent weight gain.
  • High Fiber - A diet high in fiber increases insulin sensitivity and stimulates "fullness hormone" production, preventing snacking and overeating.
  • Protein-Rich Foods - Protein-rich foods help decrease the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, and increase the fullness hormones to reduce food cravings.
  • Low Sugar Intake - Low sugar intake helps decrease insulin resistance, resulting in fewer cravings. Also, lowering carb intake may cause the body to burn stored fat for energy.
  • Red Wine - According to research from the National Library of Medicine, a glass of red wine increases adiponectin levels, which controls glucose levels and breaks down fatty acids to manage weight [4]. It also creates a more anabolic environment in the body, resulting in a fast metabolism.

Role of Herbal Supplements and Natural Remedies

Natural supplements and herbs play a role in hormone regulation for effective fat burning.

  • Green tea extract contains catechins that may enhance metabolism, while ashwagandha and rhodiola act as adaptogens, mitigating stress-induced cortisol release.
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may influence hormones involved in fat metabolism.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to hormonal balance and inflammation reduction.
  • Ginseng and maca root show potential in supporting energy levels and hormonal harmony.

These natural approaches provide an alternative path for individuals interested in managing hormones for fat loss, emphasizing the integration of plant-based solutions into a comprehensive and holistic wellness strategy.

Do You Burn More Fat With More Blood Flow?

Yes, overall blood flow can have an impact on weight and burn fat. There is a fascinating link between blood flow and weight, forming a positive feedback loop.

Obesity and diabetes restrict blood flow to the brain, impacting not just cardiovascular health but also mental clarity.

This can lead to poor diet choices and a lack of motivation for exercise, further increasing belly fat and worsening circulation problems. However, remember, increased blood flow alone doesn't directly burn fat.

FAQs

How Can I Trigger My Body to Burn Fat?

You can trigger your body to burn fat by exercising, drinking caffeinated green or black tea, eating smaller more frequent meals, drinking eight cups of water a day, and not skipping breakfast.

How Can I Increase My Fat-Burning Hormones Naturally?

You can increase your fat-burning hormones naturally by eating a low carbohydrate and high protein diet, working out for 45 minutes at least 3 to 5 days a week, and eating less sugar.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11079744/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5307254/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7739287/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19244090/
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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