The Hidden Culprit of Weight Gain

Source: The New England Journal of Medicine

If you are continuing to put on weight despite watching your calorie intake and proper sleep and exercise routine, then the reason must be something else. A recent research study published in The New England Journal of Medicine has indicated that follicle-stimulating Hormone (a reproductive hormone) is responsible for obesity in middle-aged women. FSH levels tend to rise during menopause in women. Increased FSH levels leads to accumulation of fat, especially near the abdomen.

This study done on mice has found that increased FSH levels not only lead to obesity but also affect the bone density. Blocking the FSH hormone in the mice had shown improvement in the bone density, reduced abdominal fat and increased physical activity in the mice. High FSH levels cause increase in serum levels in the body and decrease in bone density. The study has also indicated that an increase in the FSH level could double the loss of bone density even when oestrogen levels are within the normal range. This restricts bodily movements, causes osteoporosis, spinal cord injuries and frequent fractures in post-menopausal women.

Initial clinical trials have found that in order to stop the depletion of bone mass and manage obesity, gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists can be administered. These medications work by blocking the release of FSH hormone, thereby reversing weight gain and bone mass depletion. These antagonists have also been found helpful in reducing weight and process the accumulated fat. Due to complex hormonal changes in postmenopausal women, research studies are being carried out to analyse this therapy in the light of its long term efficacy.

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