Hormones regulate fat metabolism and storage, affecting belly fat. Fat management is complicated by hormones from diverse organs. Here are some hormones that cause belly fat:
The pancreas produces insulin, which regulates blood sugar. It helps cells use glucose for energy. Insulin helps the liver and muscles store extra glucose as glycogen.
Function: Adrenal glands create cortisol, the stress hormone. It affects metabolism, immunity, and blood sugar management in response to stress. Chronic stress and high cortisol levels may activate lipoprotein lipase, which stores fat, and cause belly fat.
The hormone adiponectin is produced by fat tissue. It controls glucose and lipid metabolism.
Adipose tissue produces leptin, which regulates appetite. It instructs the brain to reduce appetite and boost energy expenditure when fat stores are sufficient.
The stomach produces ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. It controls appetite and food intake. Ghrelin rises before meals and falls after.
The ovaries produce estrogen, which affects fat distribution. The protective properties of estrogen cause women to retain extra fat in their hips and thighs before menopause.
Body composition is affected by testosterone, a male sex hormone found in lower levels in women.