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How Hormones Affect Your Appetite


Updated February 15, 2014


Q: Do hormones affect my appetite and my efforts to lose weight?

A: Absolutely.

Our bodies regulate our appetite with hormonal signals. The hypothalamus has appetite receptors that tell us we're feeling peckish.

Gherlin stimulates the appetite and PYY depresses the urge to eat; both are present in the digestive system.

Leptin is present in our digestive system to regulate our appetite (and in turn, our weight). Leptin affects the hypothalamus and suppresses appetite. It also helps burn fat that is stored in adipose (fatty) tissue.

These hormones can actually work as switches to cut off the urge to continue eating. Research has shown people who were given PYY and then attended a buffet ate less than others.

So, the good news is that means research pursuing PYY and other chemically-based appetite regulators could lead to obesity treatment in the future.


Benson, Ruth et al. "Binge Eating as a Major ... Receptor Gene Mutations." New England Journal of Medicine. Vol 585, No. 12. march 20, 2003, pp. 1096-1103.



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