Hormones are signaling molecules that play a role in numerous aspects of your health. Hormones are released into your bloodstream by certain glands in your body, including the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands. They then proceed to tissues and organs. As a result, hormonal dysregulation (when your body produces too little or too much of a hormone) can have a significant impact on health, including body weight.
Leptin is a fullness hormone that tells your hypothalamus (the part of your brain that controls your appetite) that you’re full. Obese people, on the other hand, may have leptin resistance. This means that the message to stop eating does not reach your brain, leading to overeating. As a result, your body may produce even more leptin until your levels rise. The exact cause of leptin resistance is unknown, but it could be caused by inflammation, gene mutations, or excessive leptin production, which can occur with obesity.
Ghrelin is the polar opposite of leptin. The hunger hormone signals your hypothalamus that your stomach is empty and that you need to eat. Its primary function is to stimulate appetite. Ghrelin levels are normally highest before eating and lowest after eating. Surprisingly, research shows that people who are obese have low ghrelin levels but are more sensitive to its effects. Overeating may result from this sensitivity.
- Cholecystokinin (CCK)
CCK is a hormone produced by small intestinal cells in response to luminal nutrients, particularly fat and protein. It reduces food intake by stimulating fullness centers in the brain, as well as inducing gallbladder contraction and pancreatic secretions required for digestion.
Cortisol is the stress hormone that your adrenal glands produce. This hormone causes an increase in heart rate and energy levels during times of stress. The release of cortisol, along with the hormone adrenaline, is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. While it is necessary for your body to release cortisol in dangerous situations, chronically high levels can cause a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, etc. Chronic stress and a high intake of high-glycemic foods can also contribute to high cortisol levels.
- Neuropeptide Y (NPY)
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone produced by the brain and nervous system cells that stimulates appetite while decreasing energy expenditure in response to fasting or stress.
NPY is linked to obesity and weight gain because it may stimulate food intake. It is activated in fat tissue, which may lead to increased fat storage and abdominal obesity, as well as metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of chronic diseases. According to research, the mechanisms that cause NPY to cause obesity may also cause an inflammatory response, worsening health conditions.
Certain lifestyle habits, according to research, can optimize hormone levels, but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you believe your hormones are at an unhealthy level. Overall, eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly may improve your overall health and lower your risk of chronic disease.