Hunger Hormones That Control Weight Loss

Scientists reveal the appetite hormones that may help you lose weight

hunger hormones for weight loss
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Your hormones can make it harder for you to lose weight. But it's not just female hormones that change your weight or male hormones that pack on belly fat. Hunger hormones such as ghrelin and leptin have been targets in weight loss studies for years. And they aren't the only appetite hormones on the radar. Scientists are also learning that PYY, oxyntomodulin, GLP-1, cholecystokinin play an important role when you are trying to lose weight.

What are Hunger Hormones?

Hormones and weight loss are closely connected. There are many hormones in your body like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone that can change fat on your body. But hunger hormones are different. Hunger hormones send signals to your brain that tell you to eat more or to eat less.

Scientists have been studying hunger hormones for years. They are trying to find ways to help dieters control what they eat, feel more satisfied at mealtime and store less fat. But there are no clear answers so far. Researchers are investigating several different hormones and hormone combinations to create a lifelong solution for successful weight loss.

The Most Important Hunger Hormones

So which hunger hormones hold the most promise? These are the hormones that researchers are investigating in labs all over the world. 

  • Ghrelin. Originally called the "hunger hormone," ghrelin is produced in your stomach when it's time to eat. It sends signals to your brain that the stomach is empty and tells your body to start eating. Dieters usually want to learn how to lower ghrelin levels in the body because high ghrelin levels mean increased hunger.  
  • Leptin. Dieters love leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain to stop eating. This hormone is produced in your fat cells and works in your brain to help you eat less. You can learn how to boost your leptin levels if you're trying to lose weight.
  • PYY.  Peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) is an amino acid peptide that is produced in the cells of the intestines. After you eat, PYY levels rise for at least 6 hours and help you to eat less following the meal.  Some studies have shown a 30% decrease in food intake. Researchers are trying to find a way to create a PYY medication to combat obesity but this hormone doesn't work well as a pill so studies are ongoing.
  • Oxyntomodulin.  OXM or oxyntomodulin is a hormone produced in the intestinal cells after you eat. Like other hormones, it sends signals that your body is full and can stop eating. Studies have shown that people eat less and lose weight when they are given OXM injections before eating. Scientists hope to develop oxyntomodulin into a treatment that helps obese patients lose weight.
  • GLP-1. Scientist have combined glucagon and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) to help patients lose weight. Some researchers have also combined GLP-1 with PYY to create weight loss. GLP-1 stimulates your brain to reduce hunger and also tells your body to release insulin to help manage blood sugar. So far, small studies have shown positive results, but researchers still don't know how to combine GLP-1 to create long lasting effects.
  • Cholecystokinin: CKK or cholecystokinin is produced in your intestinal cells and also helps to control hunger. CKK promotes slower digestion so food is in your stomach longer. That way you feel full longer and eat less. Some experts say cholecystokinin levels increase when you eat more fat and protein.

The Future of Hunger Hormones and Weight Loss

Even though researchers are making advances in the fight against obesity, there is still no cure.

And most scientists recognize that we often eat for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger or hormones. We might eat because we are bored, we might eat to calm emotions or we might mindlessly overeat. Controlling hunger hormones may not make any difference in the fight against these habits. For now, the best approach is still the traditional approach. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and before you take any diet pill or supplement, talk to your doctor about it's safety and effectiveness.

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