I’ve tried everything possible to lose weight, but failed. Should I test for hormonal imbalance?

Sometimes weight loss goes beyond will power and an intense exercise regime. You could be putting all the efforts in but if some of your hormones are off, it does become really challenging. Two most common hormonal imbalances to check for are your thyroid levels and prolactin. The problem is how most people overlook thyroid results and go just by reference ranges. One needs to check for subclinical hypothyroidism. To get a complete picture, ask your endocrinologist to run the following tests:

• Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) — the ideal range is between 1 and 2 m IU/ ml.

• Free T4 and free T3 (the inactive and the active hormone).

• Thyroid antibodies (TPO) — most doctors don’t check this and it can go undiagnosed.

• Thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH).

• A 24-hour urine test for free

T3, which can be helpful in hard-to-diagnose cases.

Also check your prolactin levels. Sometimes an underactive thyroid can also cause high prolactin levels. So if you have hypothyroid and high prolactin together it can be very challenging to drop the weight on pretty much any diet and workout regime.

Prolactin affects the body’s ability to metabolise fat and I’ve noticed how women find it frustrating to burn fat when they have high levels. It could or could not be accompanied by irregular periods so get your levels checked once.

Vitamin B6 is part of the dopamine production process, and higher levels of B6 either from natural sources or a supplement can reduce prolactin levels. Also, Vitamin E naturally prevents rises in prolactin levels. Normal prolactin levels are below 20 ng/ml.

Beef, chicken, avocado, pistachios and bananas are great for you to consume.

Rashi Chowdhary is a nutritionist, diabetes educator and creator of The Protein Bake Shop. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.