Help for Women Who Can’t Lose Weight

Help me lose weight!” and “I’m doing everything – I’m eating right, exercising regularly…  but I just can’t lose weight!”

I’ve heard statements like these from a lot of women who have contacted me to help lose weight.  Even with proper diet and regular exercise, many women in their late 30’s and older can’t lose weight.  Some have seen various doctors, have had multiple tests, and have been told that there’s nothing wrong.  Worse yet, they may have been given a prescription weight-loss drug, initially lost a lot of weight, but gained it all back (plus more) once they got off the drug.

For many of these women, there are real problems why they can’t lose weight.  Some of the most common problems are:

  1. hormonal imbalance – Their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-thyroid-gonadal axis (HPATG) has been thrown way out of balance.
  2. multi-systemic imbalances – For so many years, they have chased symptoms with various drugs, which have caused multi-systemic imbalances.

The bad news is unless these problems are resolved, they really can’t lose weight.  The good news is we can solve these problems.

I’ll review these two problems, and then I’ll provide the highly successful method we’ve used with patients to help lose weight.

HPATG Imbalances

The HPATG axis is a complex group of direct influences and feedback interactions among the adrenal and thyroid glands, the gonads, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary gland.  It is a major component of the neuroendocrine system and regulates many systems in our bodies, such as the immune system, the digestive system, mood and emotions, etc.

The hypothalamus controls sleep-wake cycles, hunger, thirst and body temperature.  It is a part of the brain that links the nervous system to the hormonal system (aka, the endocrine system).  It does this through a direct connection to the pituitary gland.  Think of the pituitary gland as the master gland for the endocrine system.  It sends hormones to all glands of our bodies.

There are specific pituitary hormones targeted for each gland in our bodies.  For instance, the pituitary hormone Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), acts on the adrenal glands, so the target gland for ACTH is the adrenal glands.  The pituitary hormone Thyroid Stimulating Hormone’s (TSH) target gland is the thyroid gland.  The target glands for the two pituitary hormones, Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) are the sex glands (or gonads).

The hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary to release its hormones to the target glands.  The target glands send feedback to the pituitary.  Likewise, the pituitary gland sends a feedback to the hypothalamus.  This feedback is necessary to balance the release of hormones from the pituitary gland to the target glands.

Many factors can throw the HPATG axis off balance.  If it is thrown off balance frequently enough, or for long enough, significant hormonal imbalances occur which results in significant illness.  When this happens, people, especially women, often gain weight and can’t lose weight.

Multi-system Imbalances

The use of a drug to relieve the side effect of another drug is called symptom-chasing.  Let’s look at an example:

A woman was prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug.  A few months later, she started having muscle aches and pain with muscle weakness and cramping for no apparent reason. She took over-the-counter painkiller for relief, but it didn’t help much.  She thought that the muscle pain and weakness was due to some stressful time, not getting enough sleep or just getting older.  She lives with the symptoms because they are not so bad.

Obviously, symptom-chasing does not treat the initial problem, but rather compounds the problem.  Many are like this woman.  They chase symptoms for years.  Eventually, some of their body systems become imbalanced, including their HPATG axis.  Their estrogen detoxification mechanisms become inadequate and they gain weight.  Consequently, they can’t lose weight and seek assistance to help lose weight.

Treatment to Correct Imbalances and Help Lose Weight

Using the functional medicine approach, I identify the most problematic origins of the system imbalances, and then provide target therapies that focuses on dietary modifications, customized nutritional supplements, lifestyle modifications and chiropractic manipulation to restore balance to the systems.  First, I conduct a thorough medical, dietary and lifestyle history to identify the most important target(s) in the HPTAG axis imbalance.  Next, I order diagnostic tests to confirm problems I identified.  I look at specific components of the HPATG axis in relation to the patient’s condition.  Since the body works as an interdependent connection of systems, I also look at other body systems.  Often, the gastrointestinal system (GI) is involved with HPATG imbalances.

Estrogens are detoxified, both in males and females, through various detoxification pathways. The predominant pathway could be either the 2-hydroxyestrone (2OH) pathway or 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (16αOH). The 2OH pathway is the healthy pathway. When this is predominant, there’s a lower incidence of breast or cervical cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. On the other hand, when the 16αOH pathway is predominant, there’s a higher incidence of these cancers in women and men.  Incidentally, the people whose predominant detoxification pathway is the 16αOH pathway are typically those that can’t lose weight and need help to lose weight.

We use an advanced  functional laboratory urine test to determine the levels of 2 or 16 hydroxyestrones and which pathway is predominant.  The estrogen detoxification pathways can be then easily be manipulated to the healthy 2OH pathway through a treatment plan that is tailored to the patient which includes:

  • therapeutic dose of nutrition supplement combination of indole-3-carbinol, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • other nutrition supplements
  • dark-green leafy vegetables
  • low glycemic fruit
  • limited consumption of sugar and caffeine
  • better management of stress
  • exercise
  • chiropractic adjustments to decrease any neurologic irritation
  • improve sleep

When the plan is adhered to and given time to work, proper function of the HPATG axis is achieved and weight loss would occur.

Read some of our patient testimonials.

Dr Husbands is a Chiropractor, a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, an Anti-Aging Healthcare Practitioner and a Functional Medicine Doctor. For more information, visit