Hormones and Weight Gain: Understanding the Connection

Are you one of the thousands across the country that are struggling with your weight? If you answered yes, you are definitely not alone. The unfortunate truth is you have a lot of company. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey:

  • More than one in three adults were considered overweight.
  • More than one in three adults were considered obese.
  • About one in six children or teens ages 2 to 19 were considered obese.

Those are some pretty sobering numbers. The fact is, obesity is costing Americans — costing us our health and costing us our savings. Most of the blame goes toward our unhealthy lifestyles: too much food and not enough exercise. But for some people, the cause lies within.

THE HORMONE CONNECTION

There is a strong connection between our hormones and our weight. As we age, hormone levels adjust. But if something happens to disrupt that, the resulting hormonal imbalance can lead to weight gain, obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and even diabetes. Your estrogen, testosterone and cortisol levels can all leave you suffering and sick, despite a healthy diet and exercise. That’s why your local Any Lab Test Now offers the Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit.

ONE TEST: LOTS OF ANSWERS

The Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit provides you with a lot of information and it’s simple enough to perform in the privacy of your own home. The kit consists of a dried blood spot test and a saliva test. With that information, Any Lab Test Now can measure bioavailable hormone levels that might help you and your doctor understand unexplained weight gain, obesity, abdominal fat and low metabolism. The Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit is really nine tests in one. It’ll provide you with information on the following:

  • Estradiol – measures the amount of estrogen in your blood. Yep! Men have it too.
  • Progesterone – measures the amount of progesterone in your blood. Knowing this level can also help diagnose problems with the adrenal glands.
  • Testosterone – measures the amount of testosterone in your blood. Yep! Women have it too.
  • DHEA-S – measures your dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels, a natural steroid hormone associated with stress response.
  • Diurnal Cortisol – provides information on adrenal stress hormones. Might help explain fatigue and sugar cravings.
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) – can help you screen for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
  • Vitamin D – measures your levels of vitamin D, which interacts with and regulates more than 200 genes in the body.
  • Insulin – having too much or too little insulin is not a good thing.
  • Hemoglobin A1c – this is a valuable measure of your overall blood glucose levels.

Armed with all of this information, you’ll be able to take control of your health. You and your doctor will be headed in the right direction to getting you healthy.

What You Need to Know

The Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit does require that you fast for 12 hours prior to the blood draw. The best thing to do is to contact your local Any Lab Test Now and let them know you are interested in the Weight Management Take Home Hormone Kit and the experts will guide you from there. The knowledge you receive from this test, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, will be the first step to healthier and happier you!

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Why You Should Get Your Vitamin D

The “sunshine vitamin” has been getting some pretty stormy press recently. Some organizations call vitamin D deficiency a global pandemic that affects more than 40 percent of the population, while other researchers claim true D deficiency is far less than previously suspected.

One thing everyone can agree on is that the necessary fat-soluble vitamin regulates more than 200 genes in the body, affecting everything from bone density to liver function, your autoimmune system, heart health and more. There is also no argument that in today’s society, folks get much less of the essential vitamin than previous generations, making its benefits and effects closely watched.

The body naturally produces vitamin D when ultraviolet B rays hit the skin. A fair-skinned person can produce enough vitamin D by being exposed to the summer sun for just a few minutes a day. Those with darker complexions may require 15–20 minutes of full sun exposure a day, while African-Americans’ darker pigmentation could require up to six times more sun, although exactly how much is widely debated. However, an increase in the use of sunscreen and a decrease in time spent outside (more people working more hours indoors and leading more sedentary lifestyle than the farmers of yore) have been indisputable factors in a decrease in natural D production. While D is available naturally in some foods — fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, cod liver oil, anyone? — and commonly fortified in foods like milk and cereal, most people rely on supplements to boost their D’s.

A lack of vitamin D has long been known as a leading cause of rickets in children and osteomalacia (softening of the bones) in adults, due to its critical function in developing strong, healthy bones. However, additional research has linked a D deficiency to everything from an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s, depression, the flu and even certain cancers, although more conclusive studies are still needed.

How Much D Do You Need Daily?

  • 400 IU’s for 0–12 months
  • 600 IU’s for 1–70 years
  • 800 IU’s for over 70 years

*Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) according to the National Institutes of Health.

D Benefits

  • Builds strong bones and teeth
  • Regulates insulin levels
  • Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Helps regulate immune system and nervous system
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Supports proper lung function

Are You D-Deficient?

In many cases, it can be tough to tell if you are getting enough of the essential vitamin. Some possible symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone or back pain
  • Feeling Depressed
  • Slow wound healing
  • Excessive sweating

Get Checked Out!

Patients who are battling chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure certainly want to closely monitor their D levels, but even otherwise healthy folks can make sure all systems are operating at full capacity by ensuring healthy D levels. At Any Lab Test Now, you can walk in to any office and order a simple Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Test without a doctor’s order and get results back in just one to three days. Armed with that critical information, you can make sure your body is getting all the D it needs.

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Learning from Those Above, Below and Beside You

In the late 80s, when I was a young professional eager to make my mark in the tech industry, I was excited to be working on a high-value client account. One Friday before Labor Day weekend, I was happy to send off a big report before the holiday. That happiness turned to panic after I realized I had sent out a spreadsheet with wrong information. But it was too late. The report was gone. I was beside myself and couldn’t sleep all weekend. I knew I screwed up and was dreading going into my boss, a leader who prized accountability above all else. Come Monday morning, with a knot in my stomach, I went in and blurted out, “I really messed up.” Can you guess what my boss said? “It’s OK. We’ll take care of it. I have your back.”

We can all think back over our careers and recall a time (or two) when we made a mistake at work. Often, we can remember minute details and even conjure up the feelings of panic that accompanied the realization of our mistake. That’s the kind of impact those stressful situations can have, which is also why they can become such great learning experiences. Clearly, I was fortunate to have a great boss early in my career from whom I could learn important leadership lessons, like the need to hold yourself and others accountable, and the wisdom to accept imperfection in yourself and your team.

But learning doesn’t stop once you reach the top of the org chart. In his book, “Good Leaders Learn,” Gerard Seijts, the Executive Director of the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario, profiles high-level executives on the importance of being life-long learners. It is a philosophy I also ascribe to.

As I have grown in leadership roles, I have found my learning comes not just from those above me, but from those below and beside me. At Any Lab Test Now, I have taken to heart the old adage about good leaders surrounding themselves with great minds.

Learning from Employees

Like many CEOs, I love the big ideas, the grand vision, the new initiative. And I love that I have a very intelligent, process-oriented team that holds me accountable and forces me to slow down and think through things, so we can make sure our plans are executable. They force me to be a better communicator and I am constantly learning from them.

My employees have also taught me to take chances on people with complementary skill sets, even if they haven’t held the position I’m hiring for before. I recently hired a former high school Spanish teacher to be our Director of Training and Implementation. Not only has she educated us on different learning styles (auditory, visual, tactile), she uses the skills she honed teaching high school students and does a phenomenal job training and communicating with our franchisees in a way that makes us all work better as a team.

Learning from Franchisees

I consider myself fortunate to be able to draw on the amazing well of innovation and expertise that comes with each Any Lab Test Now franchisee. There are 112 franchisees. That’s 112 people who have invested in this company and are committed to making their business the best it can be. Some of our owners are sales-oriented, some are process-oriented. They are all boots on the ground and not only give great feedback on what is and is not working in the field, but bring new ideas to the table that might not percolate inside the walls of the home office. At this moment, a franchisee is testing a new telemedicine platform he brought to the table. One day soon, all our locations may get to benefit from this great idea. Our regional and national meetings are downright inspirational when franchisees come together to share experiences, best practices, and new ideas. I always come away energized by something new I’ve learned.

Learning from Peers

I can remember the first time I heard Cheryl Bachelder speak. It was at the International Franchise Association (IFA) Annual Convention in 2014. The former CEO of AFC Enterprises, the parent company of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, got up on stage and asked a room full of franchisors, “Who is our customer?” She went on to give a fabulous franchisee-centric speech that made the case for treating employees and franchisees as your most prized customers. Cheryl’s stories highlighting the virtues of servant leadership resonated with me. When I became CEO of Any Lab Test Now, just two months after hearing her speak, it was her example I wanted to emulate. I have adopted the message she espouses in her book, “Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results While Serving Others,” in our organization. It is helpful and inspiring to find peer leaders in the work world from whom I can continue to learn and grow. The bonus is that I get the chance to pay it forward through my own mentoring relationships.

Your ability to learn and grow as a leader is only limited by you and those with whom you surround yourself. I choose to surround myself with the best and brightest, learn from them, pass it on, and enjoy the ride, as we all rise with the tide.

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