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How To Activate Your Fat-Burning Hormones
5 Healthy Ways

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 18, 2021

Every hormone plays a specific role in normal body functions.

There is one that tells the brain to eat more, while another signals the brain to stop.

Some hormones may store fat, while others can essentially burn them.

This article will reveal your fat-burning hormones and how you can trigger them to help you burn fat naturally.

Let's start.

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 fat cells, 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.

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 body fat loss.

These are the Growth Hormones, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1, Glucagon, Adrenaline, the hormones in the thyroid, and 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.

Pro Tips To Make Your 6 Fat-Burning Hormones Work

Holding pants and testing if the jeans still fits

Your fat-slimming hormones may be your gateway to regulate your weight naturally. But, first, you have to make them work.

Here are some pro tips to trigger your hormones to burn 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.

Glucagon can be stimulated by high dietary protein, low carbs intake [1], and intense exercise.

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, 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.

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, and 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

Habits that comprise our daily routine can affect hormone concentrations more than we know.

Here are some good habits you can cultivate:

  • Exercise - Regular exercise helps increase testosterone levels [3], resulting in high calorie burning due to muscle growth. 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

The foods we take in every day can trigger hormones that help make our efforts to lose weight a lot easier.

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 - A glass of red wine increases adiponectin levels [4] which controls glucose levels and breaks down fatty acids to manage weight. It also creates a more anabolic environment in the body resulting in fast metabolism.

Related: What are The Best Diets for Losing Fat?

Does Triggering Your Fat-Burning Hormones Promote Effective Weight Loss?

Yes, triggering your hormones for burning fat may promote effective weight loss when combined with proper management of other hormones that affect metabolism, appetite, and cause the body to store fat.

Also, pursuing healthy habits and foods that activate your hormones plays a crucial role in stabilizing your hormonal levels.

Indeed, dealing with weight gain can be a bit more complex.

But having the right mindset and know-how to manage hormonal factors, losing weight can be more uncomplicated and fun.

So, go ahead. Eat healthy treats and breathe to relax your mind.

Also, taking supplements to boost your workouts can be a great start to balance your hormone levels today.


  1. https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/glucagon/#:~:text=The%20release%20of%20glucagon%20is,by%20cells%20in%20the%20pancreas.
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hypothyroidism-diet
  3. https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/the-best-exercises-to-increase-testosterone#:~:text=Exercise%20can%20raise%20testosterone%20because,the%20higher%20your%20testosterone%20levels.
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19244090/

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