About this Episode
At any given point, as many as half of all Americans are trying to lose weight. In this podcast episode, naturopathic clinician Angela Hywood joins host Sara Le Brun Blashka, MS, to talk about A) why people struggle to lose weight in a healthy way and B) the medicinal herbs that can support the body through this process.
Women often struggle more than men with weight loss, often due to the interplay of female hormones in the body. Overall, Angela highlights five core areas (02:35) that are associated with impact weight loss and resistance to weight loss:
- Sex hormones
Angela also recommends some medicinal herbs to support weight loss and the “cortisol craziness” that affects the body’s physiology:
Another important hormone involved in weight maintenance is insulin (05:02). Angela calls the herb gymnema the “sugar buster” because of its associations with modulating insulin and insulin receptor sites, carbohydrate utilization, and sugar cravings. Additionally, cinnamon is associated with the down regulation of insulin resistance, which may play a role in weight gain or weight loss resistance.
Thyroid Function and Weight Loss
Thyroid function also plays an important role in regulation of metabolism (09:16). Thyroid hormone in the form of trihydrothyronine (T3) is the active form in the body, and Angela discusses its role in activating the nucleus and the mitochondria in connection with liver metabolism. Relevant herbs for thyroid function include:
- Bladderwrack (supports the conversion of T4 to active T3)
Supporting estrogen metabolism during perimenopause (15:03), the transitional period a woman experiences around menopause, is important to manage fluctuating estrogen levels. Angela explains how adipose tissue may accumulate excess estrogen, leading to hormone-driven inflammation. We can support estrogen metabolism in a few different ways:
- Support liver pathways
- Herbal therapies with rosemary, schisandra, milk thistle
- Nutritional and amino acid cofactors for phase 2 detox
Inflammation and Weight Loss Resistance
Weight gain is strongly connected to inflammation (21:31), which can occur chronically in the body for a variety of reasons. For example, inflammation may be triggered by hormonal and metabolic changes.