Aside from poor dietary habits, the leading cause of excess abdominal fat, especially among men in their 40s, is a human growth hormone (HGH) deficiency. Of course, it is not too difficult to understand why that is the case; after all, these peptide hormones, which are secreted by the pituitary gland within the endocrine system, play an integral role when it comes to body composition. HGH stimulates catabolism and anabolism, which are two metabolic processes that occur in cells. This stimulation is what activates metabolism and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
What Is Abdominal Fat?
In short abdominal fat, otherwise known as visceral or belly fat, is excess fat that accumulates within the abdominal cavity. Along with being rather unsightly, abdominal fat can jeopardize one's health since it tends to wrap around the large intestines, pancreas, and other abdominal organs, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health. To that point, the study found that men who had an above-average amount of abdominal fat were more likely to develop high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. And it does not end there as the same was said to be the case when it came to the following health problems:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Insulin resistance
- Sleep apnea
- Certain types of cancer
The reason why abdominal fat causes these health problems has a lot to do with how it wraps around organs in the abdomen.
The reason why abdominal fat causes these health problems has a lot to do with how it wraps around organs in the abdomen. When fat wraps around the large intestines and pancreas, for example, most men will develop elevated Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), Tumor Necrosis Factor-α (TNF-α), and other inflammatory markers that often precipitate most weight-related health problems.
Why Do Men Get Belly Fat?
For most men, healthy growth hormone levels are somewhere between 0.4 and 10 nanograms per milliliter. However, as they age, production gradually starts to taper off, eventually falling well below 0.4 nanograms, which constitutes a growth hormone deficiency. This same deficiency slows down metabolism and leads to belly fat. Also, it is not uncommon for a human growth hormone deficiency to cause a decline in stamina, which makes even light exercise quite exhausting. As a result, many men stop exercising altogether and often pick up poor eating habits as well, a combination that typically leads to even more belly fat. And this is in addition to other symptoms related to low HGH levels, including
- Low libido
- Thinning hair
- Increased sensitivity to either hot or cold temperatures
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
The Truth About Excess Belly Fat in Men: Why Is It So Hard to Get Rid of It?
Most men will agree that getting rid of excess belly fat is not an easy task, and this is true for several reasons. Along with negatively affecting metabolism and stamina, studies show that an HGH deficiency can reduce the basal metabolic rate in men. For context, the basal metabolic rate refers to the number of calories the body burns while at rest. In short, the lower the basal metabolic rate, the more difficult it is for men to get rid of belly fat. It is also worth noting that an HGH deficiency causes the adrenal gland to secrete above-average amounts of the hormone cortisol, which makes getting rid of belly fat that much more challenging. For those not aware, cortisol determines where fat get stored in the body. In women, for example, cortisol stores fat primarily in the hips and thighs. In men, the same hormone stores fat mainly in the abdomen. All in all, men trying to get rid of belly fat have several things that are working against them.
Ways to Lose Belly Fat
Although getting rid of stubborn belly fat is difficult when you have an HGH deficiency, it is not impossible. Along with prescription-based GH replacement medications and certain dietary supplements, the following can also help men slim down:
Diet – Even with a growth hormone deficiency, it is possible to get rid of stubborn body fat by following a sound weight-loss diet. Also, there is a food that kill testosterone and should be avoid. Some of the best ones, according to an article published by U.S. News and World Report, include the following:
- A vegan or vegetarian diet
- Atkins diet
- The Mediterranean diet
- Weight Watchers
- A ketogenic diet
- Paleo diet
Protein - According to most nutritionists and dieticians, the best diet for getting rid of body fat is one that emphasizes consuming a decent amount of protein. In short, foods rich in meat or animal protein, such as tofu, beans, fish, and red meat, triggers an increase in the production of tyrosine–tyrosine and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormones that allow you to feel full longer, meaning you can eat less while still losing weight.
Exercise – Regular exercise can go a long way toward helping men achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, an article published by the Mayo Clinic revealed that exercising for just 30 minutes each day can help men lose weight, get rid of belly fat, and improve their cardiovascular health.
Lifestyle – Along with eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, there are a few more lifestyle changes that men can make to get rid of abdominal fat, such as quitting smoking and consuming fewer alcoholic beverages. For reference, excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the pituitary gland's ability to secrete enough human growth hormones for the body to function optimally. As far as smoking is concerned, the nicotine in cigarettes causes the male body to produce large amounts of the female hormone estrogen. Similar to women, too much estrogen not only causes men to gain weight but also makes losing it exceedingly difficult.
Discipline - While the recommendations made in this article can help men get rid of belly fat, they only work if they are consistently followed, which requires a lot of discipline. That said, for some men, staying on track in this regard might mean having to work with a nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer, or all three.
In summary, low human growth hormone levels and belly fat are more things that men have to look forward to as they get older. But they don't have to be a permanent part of their life. There are many ways to boost low growth hormone levels and get rid of belly fat at the same time. What's more, there are plenty of prescription GH replacement medications that can resolve these issues if the natural remedies detailed in this article do not work.