As Dr. R discussed in this week’s Food Curb video, there are two hormones that play important roles in controlling your hunger: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells and travels to the brain to pass the message that you are satiated and no longer hungry. Ghrelin is produced by the stomach and travels to the brain when you are hungry. For most people leptin and ghrelin work together to tell the brain when the body needs fuel, or food.
In cases of obesity, even though we have plenty of fat stored, the high insulin levels in our bodies combine with high leptin levels so the stomach turns off the cells that make ghrelin. Leptin levels are high while ghrelin levels are low. This imbalance means that the cells that would usually tell our brain that our body has had enough to eat are no longer working, causing the person to constantly feel hungry.
One of the easiest ways to balance the ghrelin and leptin levels in our bodies is developing good sleeping habits. When people fail to get the recommended 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night , they over-stimulate their ghrelin production, which increases the desire for food. Simultaneously, lack of sleep reduces the production of leptin which is the body’s appetite suppressant. In summary, if you don’t get the right amount of sleep, the hormones in your body begin sending hunger signals to the brain even though the body is not hungry, and constantly eating when you’re not hungry can quickly lead to extra pounds.
It is also important to maintain a balanced diet to regulate your hunger hormones. Overeating on a regular basis results in increased insulin, which as we said before, will disrupt the cells that create ghrelin, causing your body to constantly feel hungry. Healthy Curb can help you maintain this balance by reducing appetite and the tendency to over-eat through the action of controlling blood glucose. It also increases insulin sensitivity of cellular receptors by acting on the kinase signaling mechanism inside the individual cells. This action allows more sugar to be pulled out of the blood and into the cells to be burned as fuel rather than disrupting the ghrelin and leptin balance. By getting enough sleep and using Healthy Curb, keeping your hunger hormones balanced should be easy!