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Hidden imbalances and weight gain
December 1st, 2021 + The Naturopathic Co.

I see a lot of patients who express feelings of frustration around trying to lose weight. Perhaps they have noticed a shift in their metabolism and now can’t seem to eat the same things as they could before. The frustration around weight gain/ or inability to lose weight is often coupled with a digestive system that is struggling overall, resulting in bloating, discomfort, and fluctuations in stools.

While the reasons for this are multifactorial, acidosis, inflammation, and gut dysbiosis are some of the barriers to successful weight loss.

Acidosis and weight gain

Acidosis is when your body’s fluids contain too much acid – your body can’t maintain the correct pH levels. Below are a few examples of how acidosis can impact weight.

  • Elevated cortisol levels. In the presence of acidosis, there is an increase in the pituitary stimulation of the hormone responsible for producing cortisol. In excess, cortisol has been demonstrated to encourage the accumulation of fat cells and promote weight gain. This is also linked with insulin resistance, which is partially due to alterations in cortisol output as well.


  • Impaired liver health and function. Acidosis is correlated with insulin resistance, hyperglycaemia, and increased inflammation. These factors are known to contribute to insulin resistance due to impaired fat metabolism.


  • Reduced thyroid function. Acidosis has been shown to alter thyroid hormone secretion, generating a mild form of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism has long been associated with decreased metabolic rate, higher body mass index (BMI) and obesity.

Inflammation and weight gain

Inflammation levels also have a role to play in weight gain, as well as the inability to lose weight. As inflammation levels go up, so does weight. As weight goes up, so does inflammation. Studies have shown that C reactive protein (CRP) increases with weight gain (c reactive protein is a marker of inflammation).

Inflammation in the body can also lead to insulin resistance. Another vicious cycle, whereby more inflammation leads to more insulin resistance, and more insulin resistance leads to more inflammation.

Leptin functioning is also altered during inflammation. Leptin communicates to the brain that you have enough stored fat, which curbs your appetite (if it’s functioning correctly).

When the body is inflamed, it holds onto weight. Inflammation is equivalent to a stress response, and during stress the body is in survival mode, not weight loss mode. This can be an explanation for why some people feel like they can eat all the healthy food there is, but are still holding onto weight.

Gut dysbiosis and weight gain

Our body holds 40 trillion bacteria, most of which is in our gut. Gut microbiota is contributing to our metabolism, how we process foods, assimilation of nutrients, maintenance of the structural integrity of the gut, immune regulation, and protection against pathogens.

Studies have shown that obese people have a different mix of bacteria in the gut. We know that what we eat influences the types of gut bacteria we have. In order to change the mix of bacteria in our gut, to encourage diversity, and to encourage higher numbers of beneficial bacteria, we can change what we eat.

If you’re interested to find out how we can improve your gut bacteria in order to support healthy weight, then make time to see our South Yarra naturopath, Camberwell naturopath, or speak to us online via zoom.

We offer services in major cities across Australia

Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of digestive complaints, skin issues, mood disorders, hormonal concerns, fatigue, and also has a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions.  Click HERE to book your free discovery call, Australia-wide.


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