The New Year is a time for resolutions, and many of those resolutions tend to be health-related. One of the most popular of these resolutions is to embark on a diet, usually to lose weight and improve health. Whether you celebrate the New Year on January 1st or another time of year, this holiday is important because it’s seen as a time of new beginnings. This celebration of renewal often galvanizes a person to embark upon a diet with a bit more willpower to stick to it.
But what happens as the New Year’s holiday recedes to the background and time ticks on? If your diet has been a success, you may continue to stick to it and accomplish real results, but if there have been setbacks….you may give it up completely. After all, it’s hard to continue to be motivated if you don’t see positive results. Why do so many people fail with their diet resolutions? While for some it can be from lack of commitment, poor planning, or the psychology of one setback leading to abandonment of the whole plan, for others, there may be other health factors interfering with their weight loss. Endocrine imbalances or other issues can cause weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight.
It’s not just severe imbalances that can result in weight and dieting problems. Even small perturbations of the adrenal system and the thyroid can affect weight loss, and hormone levels and balances can affect the ability to lose weight very easily. That’s where functional medicine testing comes in. As a functional medicine laboratory, Precision Point Diagnostics offers comprehensive Adrenal, male, and female hormone panels, and thyroid testing with antibodies and reverse T3. These profiles contain a more complete and useful set of markers than many other common endocrine panels, as well as detection of subcritical levels of analytes where appropriate to give a more nuanced picture of the particular system being examined. Let’s take a look at how these testing regimens can (and should) be integrated into a weight loss plan to rule out many factors that can trip up the New Year’s diet resolution:
Comprehensive Adrenal Testing- The adrenal glands can impact weight loss through stress. A healthy adrenal system regulates cortisol throughout the day and night so that levels rise in the morning as you wake up, allowing you to be productive throughout the day, peak in the early afternoon, and then begin to fall throughout the late afternoon and evening to help you prepare for sleep. When this system is disturbed, and the curve shifts, you may be tired in the morning and wired before bed. Not only does this sap your willpower for dieting, it disturbs your sleep (which further hinders weight loss), and can increase gluconeogenesis, which means the liver makes more sugar- which also can inhibit weight loss. Stress hormones can also inhibit the pathways that come on when you exercise, meaning that the workout is likely to be less productive. Additionally, too much cortisol or a cortisol imbalance can also contribute to inflammation- which can cause the body to store more fat. All reasons to test the adrenal system when on a diet. When you test, it’s important to choose a test that looks at cortisol levels throughout the day to plot the curve of how cortisol rises and falls correlated to time. The Precision Point Advanced Adrenal Stress Test includes this feature- which also means it is self-collected by the patient using saliva, which makes the test very convenient as well as more
Hormone Panels- Hormones can radically affect weight loss (and gain). Too much, too little, or an imbalance in hormones can all alter how weight is gained or lost. Men and women have different constellations of hormone functionality. How each hormone functions will mean different things for each sex. Various hormones control appetite, satiety, weight gain and loss, energy levels, mood, and blood sugar levels, and impact virtually every system in the body that could impact weight loss and gain. Precision Point Diagnostics offers both a Female Hormone Panel and a Male Hormone Panel. These profiles test a wide range of analytes, including hormones unique to each sex, and with different ranges depending on male or female. Checking hormone levels and balance throughout a diet regimen can ensure that the state of hormone health is not hindering weight loss, and that the diet itself is not causing a hormone imbalance.
Thyroid Panel- The thyroid can impact weight gain and the ability to lose weight. While an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid) might lead to weight loss, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroid) can lead to weight gain, or the inability to lose weight. Most patients who present with thyroid issues tend to present as hypothyroid and therefore can have trouble dieting without addressing thyroid issues first. Even mild thyroid issues can impact weight gain or loss, and many patient complaints can be dismissed because their results are “subclinical”- meaning too low for a full dose of synthetic or natural thyroid. Not only might some of these patients be helped by treatment, but psychologically a patient can have more success with dieting if they know it’s not just a lack of willpower on their part that makes it difficult to shed the pounds. Thyroid dysfunction can impact weight gain through the crucial role that thyroid hormones play in metabolism. When thyroid hormone levels are low, metabolism slows down, often leading to weight gain. When testing thyroid function, aside from making sure that an expanded range of thyroid function is being assessed, it’s best to go beyond just measuring TSH and include other markers including antibodies and reverse T3 for a more complete assessment of thyroid function. The Precision Point Comprehensive Thyroid Panel w/Antibodies & Reverse T3 paints a thorough picture of how a patient’s thyroid could be interfering with weight loss.
If your or a patient’s New Year resolution was to drop some pounds, seek a better outcome by testing along the way. Not only will you check multiple factors for possible failure, but you’ll also likely end up with a patient more invested in their health!