Depression and chronic stress can cause weight gain

Many people who are depressed turn to eating to ease their emotional distress

Ians July 14, 2015
Many people who are depressed turn to eating to ease their emotional distress. PHOTO: PREVENTDISEASE

Chronic stress or Hypothyroidism can be a reason for weight gain, says an expert.

Pankaj Aggarwal, shares possible reasons that hinder your weight-loss or -gain process:

1. Chronic stress: When you live with anxiety, stress or grief, your body can produce chemicals like the hormone cortisol that make your body more likely to store fat, especially around the waist. That's the type of weight-gain that really increases your risk of serious health problems.

Read: Childhood stress may make women gain weight

2. Cushing's syndrome: This happens when the adrenal glands (located on top of each kidney) produce too much cortisol, which leads to a buildup of fat in the face, upper back and abdomen. Cushing syndrome is caused by excessive cortisol like medication.

3. Hypothyroidism: If your thyroid is under-active, your body may not produce enough thyroid hormone to help burn stored fat. As a result, your metabolism is slower and you will store more fat than you burn - especially if you're not physically active.

4. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This is the result of a hormonal imbalance, afflicts more than five million women all over the world. Common symptoms are irregular menstrual bleeding, acne, excessive facial hair, thinning hair, difficulty in getting pregnant and weight-gain that is not caused by excessive eating.

5. Syndrome X: Also called insulin-resistance or hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels), syndrome X goes hand-in-hand with weight gain. Syndrome X is a cluster of health conditions thought to be rooted in insulin resistance. When your body is resistant to the hormone insulin, other hormones that help control your metabolism don't work as well.

6. Depression: Many people who are depressed turn to eating to ease their emotional distress.

7. Hormonal changes in women: Some women may gain weight at times in their lives when there is a shift in their hormones - at puberty, during pregnancy, and at menopause.

Read: Feel sleepy at work? Blame it on depression, obesity

8. Lack of vitamin D: Receptors in your brain need vitamin D to keep hunger and cravings in check, as well as to pump up levels of the mood-elevating chemical serotonin. Vitamin D even optimises the body's ability to absorb other important weight-loss nutrients, especially calcium. When your body lacks calcium, it can experience up to a five-fold increase in the fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. By fuelling your body with the D-rich nutrients it needs to get out of a fat-storage state and into a fat-burning one - you could potentially speed weight-loss by up to 70 percent.


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