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Can Blood And Hormonal Tests Help You Lose Weight?

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

Understanding how your body metabolizes fat is a critical piece of information for athletes and anyone trying to lose weight. And as a personal fitness coach, I’ve had many clients who fixed their diets and exercise routine but still struggled with weight loss.

Unfortunately, there are many hormones that also influence your metabolism.

And to figure out what kind of tests you can do to see how your body burns fat, I teamed up with a physician and a nutritionist.

We did extensive research into the scientific literature and clinical trials to see what you might need to focus on.

Quick Summary

  • Age, gender, diet, exercise, hormones, and genetics all influence how your body processes fat.
  • Metabolic tests can reveal how effective your body is at dealing with fat reserves.
  • There are other hormone-related tests that can also provide insights into why people might hit certain weight loss plateaus.

How Do You Test If You’re Burning Fat?

A health professional doing metabolic testing

The best way to test whether you’re efficiently burning fat is with metabolic testing.

These medical tests aim to measure several outputs of your metabolism to determine how effective it is [1].

In general, these tests involve measuring three things. First of all, they will determine your resting metabolic rate.

This rate includes the energy your body uses to keep organs functioning, eating, walking short distances, and basic activities [2].

The second thing these tests typically measure is your VO2Max. This is a measure of how much oxygen your body is able to process at peak levels while exercising [3].

“​​VO2 max measures how much oxygen (usually in milliliters) you breathe in while exercising as hard as you can. The more oxygen you inhale, the more energy your body can use. Higher VO2 max usually means better physical fitness.”

- Dan Brennan, MD, for WebMD.com

And the third thing involves a blood test to measure the lactate thresholds of your muscles [4]. It measures how effective your body is at flushing out lactic acid that builds up in muscles during physical exercise.

All of this information combined can help determine how effective your overall metabolism is and how it deals with fat.

Is Metabolic Testing Reliable?

Yes, metabolic testing is reliable. It takes a scientific approach to measure the output of your metabolic processes to then determine how effective it is.

You can use a free tool like TDEE to calculate your basal metabolic rate and your activity level.

But metabolic testing is a much more reliable way than just calculating your basal metabolic rate based on your age, weight, and gender [5].

While you can find simple calculators online that will estimate your metabolic rate, these have limited benefits if you’re an athlete or someone who needs to lose weight to avoid significant health issues. 

However, metabolic testing will involve going to a medical facility, and prices can vary considerably.

Should You Test For Certain Hormones?

A health professional checking up a patient

Yes, some people should test for certain hormones.

Both men and women can experience hormonal imbalance throughout their life, and the impact can be severe on metabolic rates [6].

One way to rule out a hormonal imbalance is through a blood test with your doctor.

What you’ll need to test for are the following hormones:

  • Insulin
  • Thyroid
  • Testosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Cortisol

Insulin is possibly the most important one to measure as it has a direct impact on your blood sugar levels. And whole severe insulin resistance will lead to diabetes; even small fluctuations can pose a barrier to weight loss [7].

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The next important one to measure is the thyroid hormone, as it directly sends signals to your metabolism to regulate its activity [8].

And the two sex hormones and cortisol also have a direct impact on weight gain, and it seems to particularly play a role in women’s weight management [9].

Read Also: How To Trigger Fat-Burning Hormones

FAQs

How Does Your Body Decide Where It Burns Fat From?

Your body mainly decides where it burns fat based on your genetics [10]. It’s not possible to directly influence exactly where you lose the flabby stuff, and often people find that they lose belly fat first as it tends to be the most easily accessible.

What Does Fat Burning Feel Like?

When your body goes into fat-burning mode, you may feel a bit tired, fatigued, and hungry.

These are all normal signs as your body will send signals to keep blood sugar levels up as an easy supply of energy.

Take The Scientific Approach To Burning Fat

If you’re a performance athlete or need to lose weight for health reasons, then it’s a good idea to get a metabolic test done.

You may also want to consider checking your hormonal balances to give you an overall picture of what could be standing in your way of achieving your ideal weight.

And if you want to speed up your metabolic rate a bit on a consistent basis, then consider adding natural supplements to your stack called fat burners.

Check our review articles where we tested and rated these supplements:

These aren’t magic pills that can replace a healthy diet and workout routine. But over the months ahead, they can have a significant impact on your weight.


References:

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/research-funding/at-niddk/labs-branches/diabetes-endocrinology-obesity-branch/metabolic-clinical-research-unit/metabolic-testing
  2. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/difference-between-bmr-and-rmr
  3. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-to-know-about-vo2-max
  4. https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/what-is-lactate-and-lactate-threshold/
  5. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/be-smart-about-weight-loss-with-a-metabolic-test
  6. https://blog.nasm.org/hormone-balance-for-weight-loss
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/insulin-resistance.html
  8. https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-and-weight/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9929857/
  10. https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-02-23/weight-loss-can-you-target-certain-areas/7193094
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