As women age, they tend to gain weight around the tummy. But researchers have been at a loss to explain this – until now. They’ve discovered that a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (F.S.H.) could be to blame.
In the past, this hormone has just been linked to reproduction. F.S.H. prompts the production of eggs in women (and sperm in guys!). Just before menopause, as the ovaries are shutting up shop – blood levels of F.S.H rise. When this happens, women rapidly lose bone and often gain weight around the stomach.
Dr. Mone Zaidi, from the Icahn School of Medicine, discovered that blocking this hormone may help burn fat, boost kilojoule burn and actually encourage physical activity. Zaidi told the New York Times that he made this discovery while trying to discover if F.S.H. was part of the reason for bone loss in women. He found that if it was switched off in mice, they didn't lose bone density and they burned fat.
Zaidi's research suggests that blocking the hormone causes the bad, energy storing white fat to be converted to brown, energy burning, fat. However, their study will now be tested in humans. Stay tuned.