Women, This One Hormone Might Be Causing You to Gain Weight

Updated: Aug. 29, 2017

Good news! You no longer need to blame your diet or exercise habits. The real culprit might be your own body.

Rostislav_Sedlacek/ShutterstockNothing can be more frustrating than packing on the pounds, but having no clue why. You haven’t changed your diet, you snooze regularly, and you’re just as active as you were 10 years ago. What gives?

Science just might have an answer for you. In fact, recent studies suggest that a single hormone called F.S.H. could be responsible for your weight gain woes. You might also want to take a look at the other things affecting your weight that aren’t food or exercise.

Using mice in the lab, researchers have tracked the hormone’s role during menopause, as women begin to gain belly fat and lose their bone density. They found that blocking F.S.H. in female mice whose ovaries have been removed increased the calories burned, reduced abdominal fat, slowed bone loss, and even encouraged physical activity in the mice, New York Times reports.

The hormone F.S.H. typically regulates the creation of eggs in women and sperm in men; however, as women’s ovaries begin to fail before menopause, blood levels of F.S.H. increase. Over time, their bones become less dense as their bone marrow fills with fat instead of bone cells.

Dr. Mone Zaidi, professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, wanted to test whether there is a connection between bone loss and F.S.H. He and his colleagues created an antibody that blocked F.S.H. in female mice whose ovaries had been removed. Like humans, the female mice should have been gaining fat and losing bone density. But rather than developing fat-filled bone marrow, their metabolic rates increased and they lost significant amounts of fat, instead.

Zaidi and his colleagues believe that a lack of F.S.H. caused the mice’s bodies to convert white fat—which stores energy—into brown fat, which burns calories. Thus, the culprit behind menopausal weight gain might have everything to do with the increase in this one hormone. (Beware: These nighttime habits could make you gain weight, too.)

Sadly, the jury is still out on whether a similar treatment could work on humans, too. But Dr. Zaidi plans to put it to the test, and he is already preparing an anti-F.S.H. antibody to try on humans. Until then, you can get a head start with these 42 fast, easy tips for major weight loss results.

[Source: New York Times]