Understanding the “Go” and “Stop” Hormones that Affect Your Weight

How might hormones be affecting your weight?

The human body has a complex system of hormones that interact in countless ways. At any given moment, your body’s hormones contribute to everything ranging from appetite and energy expenditure to the shuteye you get each night. They play a big role in your health!

Two Hormones to Consider

Though your weight is impacted by a number of different factors — including hormones — there are two specific hormones that work together to affect your appetite and calorie intake.

Ghrelin, the “Go” Hormone

Ghrelin, otherwise known as the “Go” or “hunger hormone,” is responsible for stimulating hunger and is released primarily from cells in the stomach that travel to your brain.

Once these cells reach your brain, they interact with your hypothalamus (physiological eating center) and your pleasure centers. Ghrelin levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day, rising before a meal and falling once you’ve eaten. It kicks your appetite into overdrive, slows your metabolism and lessens your body’s ability to burn fat — especially in the abdominal area.

Leptin, the “Stop” Hormone

Lepton, otherwise known as the “fullness hormone,” is produced from fat cells and is responsible for signaling your brain to decrease your appetite and burn more calories.

For most, Leptin is especially useful in weight-loss as it counteracts hunger and therefore helps prevent excess food consumption. It’s also known to give you more energy, making it easier to stay focused and get physically active on your weight management journey.

The Balance of Hormones

Based on what you’ve read about these hormones, you might assume (by common sense, right?) that individuals affected by overweight or obesity have higher levels of Ghrelin and lower levels of Leptin. But in fact, the opposite is seemingly true. These hormones are inversely related to calorie intake, meaning that hunger and satiety aren’t as simple of processes as most like to think.

The bottom line? Weight-loss and weight gain are affected by hormones and vice versa. This is also partly why weight-loss is so difficult to achieve and maintain in the first place.

The key is to stay educated, stay informed and talk with your healthcare provider about how hormones may be affecting your weight. For more information on this topic, CLICK HERE.

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