Thanks to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine and Cell Metabolism, there might finally be an answer to why women gain around their midsections as they age.
According to researchers, women who go from an “apple” to a “pear” shape as they get older seem to produce more follicle-stimulating hormone, or F.S.H, than their younger counterparts. FSH is released naturally by the female body during the time before menopause, and it’s often used as a fertility drug for women trying to conceive. Basically, FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovaries, and the amount of FSH in a woman’s body varies throughout her menstrual cycle and is highest just before she releases an egg.
Although FSH is obviously necessary for healthy fertility, overproduction of FSH causes rapid bone loss—which is why the rate of osteoporosis soars as women age. Researchers wanted to find the correlation between FSH production and bone loss, so they started studying the effects of FSH in mice.
One group of mice were given an FSH antibody to block the production of the hormone, while another control group was allowed to create FSH normally. In the antibody group, the mice lost “enormous amounts of fat weight,”which signifies that the presence of FSH in the body is at least partially to blame for the onset of fat gain in women as they age.
So what does that mean for normal people? The results of the study haven’t been replicated in humans yet, so the answer is a bit unclear. But, if scientists can prove that an FSH antibody helps people lose fat weight, it could be a powerful tool in fighting obesity and weight gain due to aging. In the meantime, keep your own hormonal levels even and healthy by adding adaptogens into your diet—they support your adrenal system and promote healthy hormonal function!