Hormones And How They Effect Your Hunger

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Understanding the Hormones that Control Hunger

The belief that hunger actually makes food look more appealing is a concept that many people actually believe. Research shows that there are actually certain hormones in the body that control one’s appetite and satiety.

According to studies, there is a significant correlation between certain hormones in the body and how the digestive system communicates with the brain to regulate a person’s weight as well as to promote appetite and satiety.

Hormones that Signal Satiety, Hunger or Both

While some hormones are triggers for a certain function in the body, there are others that signal two or more functions. For instance, specific hormones signal hunger while others signal satiety. There are also some hormones that trigger both.


Ghrelin is considered as the most predominant hunger hormone. This is a peptide that is released by the endocrine cells located in the mucous lining of the stomach. This hormone counteracts leptin to stimulate appetite and increase metabolic efficiency. This hormone indicates hunger.

If you are eat less, your body will produce more of this hormone. However, if you are also overeating, your body will decrease ghrelin levels in your body.

According to research, ghrelin also determines how quick hunger returns after eating. Typically, ghrelin levels in the body increase before eating, which signals hunger. Then, the levels will go down about three hours after a meal.

Neuropeptide Y

Neuropeptide Y or NPY is another potent stimulator of a person’s feeding behavior. This neuropeptide is considered as the most abundant in the brain. Aside from its relation to a person’s feeding behavior, this neuropeptide is also responsible for a person’s circadian rhythm, anxiety responses and sexual functioning.


Leptin is a term derived from the Greek word ‘leptos’ meaning thin. This hormone is synthesized within the fat cells. It functions as a satiety factor on the hypothalamus, resulting to the dampening of a person’s eating behavior while increasing one’s energy expenditure.

It appears that leptin inhibits NPY synthesis as well as NPY’s release in the hypothalamus. Based on this assumption, there are hopes of creating magic weight loss pills based on this hormone’s function. However, the realization of such hopes is yet to reach fruition.


Adiponectin is a mixture of anti-inflammatory peptides that are secreted by fat cells in the body. These peptides help regulate the body’s energy balance as well as the metabolism of fats and sugars. In addition, adiponectin also increase insulin sensitivity.

It is believed that overweight individuals have less adiponectin circulating their body compared to slim individuals. The trigger that enables secretion of this peptide has not been established. Studies are being conducted to better understand the complex system associated with this hormone.

Peptide YY

Peptide YY or PYY is another hormone to show a promising effect in the management and control of hunger and appetite. In fact, this peptide slows digestion and appears to help suppress a person’s appetite. Ultimately, this peptide significantly reduces food consumption.


Cholecystokinin or CKK is a hormone released in the duodenum after one eats a high protein or a high fat meal. This hormone signals the brain to produce a sense of satiety or fullness, allowing a person to stop eating. Basically, the top trigger of this hormone is eating fatty meals.

What Other Hormones Do In Hunger and Satiety

While the hormones mentioned above are considered as the top players in controlling hunger and satiety, their specific effects on a person’s desire to eat is not fully understood. Many of the well-known hormones in the body still play an important role in controlling hunger and satiety.

When it comes to natural weight holes, there are three major hormones that play a vital role in the regulation of metabolism. These hormones include insulin, thyroid hormones and cortisol.


Insulin is considered a major player when it comes to healthy weight and metabolism. This hormone determines whether blood sugar is used and converted into energy or stored as fat. Body fat is not only a passive energy site as it also functions as an endocrine organ, which ultimately produces important hormones as well. The food we eat matter when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.

Insulin levels in the body are directly impacted by the food that we eat, specifically the ratio of carbohydrates to fat, fiber and protein. Disruptions in the insulin regulating mechanism like insulin resistance have an immediate effect on the other metabolic hormones.

Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormones also play an important role in a person’s physiology. Many people suspect that weight gain may be due to thyroid imbalance. While the thyroid gland has a role in regulating a person’s metabolism, it has an indirect relationship to weight gain. In fact, a decreased thyroid function is a result of imbalance between the other hormones in the body.

Stress Hormones

Adrenal imbalance that is caused by stress, excessive anxiety, and cortisol production is often associated with unwanted weight and hormonal imbalance. High cortisol levels in the blood can lead to intense cravings as well as binge eating. If you have high cortisol levels, the other hormones in the body are greatly affected. In fact, this causes a chain reaction that often leaves the body in chronic crisis mode. If you are under tremendous stress, your weight loss dietary regimen will not work no matter what you do.


Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm. Aside from this known function, this hormone is also associated with your hunger time clock. Research shows that when a person is sleep deprived, his or her melatonin production is affected. This creates a domino effect, as leptin and ghrelin productions are also affected.

Sex Hormones

The well known sex hormones, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, also play an important role in the regulation of hunger and satiety.  Adequate levels of estrogen help regulate hunger, which simulates the satiety effect of serotonin. An imbalance ratio between progesterone and estrogen can trigger intense food cravings during premenstrual binges.

Understanding Hormonal Balance and Its Role in Hunger and Satiety

There are definitely a variety of hormones that can dampen or transmit hunger signals. This can directly or indirectly affect a person’s effort to lose weight. Understanding the functions of these hormones is essential in better understanding how hormones of appetite and satiety really work in the human body. It has been established that there are hormonal factors involved. This is not just about a person’s genes, willpower or perhaps the eating habits.








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