How it is possible for a disease to make fat loss impossible?

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So I just read that with Cushing syndrome, you simply can’t burn fat no matter how hard you try. Even if you are in a calorie deficit your body will hold into that fat.

I thought this was fake info but then I searched and found out patients with Cushings can’t burn fat but they burn muscle instead. This is like of the main symptoms of the disease.

How this works y’all? From my understanding, if someone with Cushing consistently stays in a calorie deficit, they will technically lose weight but instead of from fat like they supposed to, they will lose from muscle, but like how is this even possible? Or I misunderstood and they will not lose at all? Because that’s even more crazy.

Regardless how a change in one hormone (cortisol) can cause something significant like that.

In: Biology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

> instead of from fat like they supposed to

No, it is not supposed, it is what people want. I fasted (intermittent) and was told by a “friend” I will loose muscle not fat primarily. In response I fasted AND increased physical exercises, that way at least I became apparently stronger even if total mass of muscle became less (doubt it) along with fat.

As for more specifics of the illness, I’m no chemistry/biology major.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Cushing’s syndrome is caused by excessive amounts of cortisol, which is the main human stress hormone. Coritsol also helps regulate blood sugar in healthy individuals, and is essentially the opposite of insulin, as it causes blood sugar to increase via producing glucose in the liver and breaking down fat (gluconeogensis, glycogensis, glycogenolysis and lipogenesis). It also promotes breakdown of muscle tissue (glucogenolysis) for the same reasons.

So, why do people with Cushing’s syndrome struggle to lose weight if cortisol promotes burning fat (lipolysis)? My understanding is that it’s because in response to the increased blood sugar and cortisol, the body produces more insulin to compensate, and insulin encourages storing fat in the body (lipogenesis). Over time, this response begins to outweigh the effects of cortisol, and results in what we see in Cushing’s syndrome – an inability to lose fat, and an increased rate of muscle loss.

TL;DR: Cushing’s syndrome causes a feedback cycle between two hormones related to blood sugar – cortisol and insulin – that results in losing weight via fat loss becoming increasingly difficult or even impossible.