Hormones That Affect Weight

How leptin, ghrelin and insulin control metabolism

The body is designed in such a way that from time to time it needs food and drink, otherwise there will be serious failures in its well-coordinated work. The ubiquitous hormones – biologically active substances produced in the cells of the endocrine glands to regulate metabolism and physiological functions – are responsible for the proper supply of food requests.

Appetite, however, does not always feel the same – it happens that it is simply brutal, it seems that the elephant would be eaten, and sometimes it does not exist at all, although, judging by the schedule, it is high time to eat. Behind this phenomenon are complex metabolic processes, mainly controlled by special hormones – leptin and ghrelin, which make the brain feel hungry and full. And if you want to switch to a healthy diet and achieve the desired stability in weight, this couple is worth getting to know better.


This peptide hormone, produced by adipose tissue, regulates energy metabolism, body weight and suppresses appetite. The bottom line is that the more body fat there is in the body, the more leptin will be released. In addition, in the female body, it is responsible for the regulation of menstrual function (with a critical decrease in leptin levels, ovulation and menstruation stop). The “satiety hormone” is secreted by adipose tissue cells (adipocytes) and transported by the blood to the brain. When enough leptin reaches the “control center”, the body recognizes that it no longer needs food, and a feeling of satiety sets in.


This hormone, mainly produced by the cells of the gastric mucosa, acts as a leptin antagonist, acting exactly the opposite. When it enters the bloodstream and brain, it dawns on you that you are hungry, and after a meal, the release of the “hunger hormone” goes down. Thus, ghrelin, like leptin, acts as a body weight regulator, constantly maintaining the level of stored substances in the norm.


Dedicated receptors constantly measure leptin and ghrelin, making sure you eat enough – not more and not less than you need. Accordingly, in order to avoid disruptions in hormonal signals, it is important to take care of proper regimen and nutrition. When it comes to nutrition, fiber is the main accomplice. Dietary fiber saturates for a long time, stimulates digestion, promotes the growth and reproduction of “good” bacteria in the intestines, which, in turn, help get rid of excess carbohydrates and not gain weight.

“The cause of excess weight can be congenital hormonal disorders, but the overwhelming majority is to blame for the wrong way of life,” explains an expert. – There is no revelation that a healthy lifestyle has a positive effect on hormonal balance. Regime, exercise, sensible nutrition help hormones not go astray. Do not forget to have breakfast, have dinner no later than 3 hours before bedtime, eat without distraction and slowly so as not to overeat. Cut back on refined and processed foods, fight the love of baking, and ban pure sugar. “


In addition to leptin and ghrelin, there are other important hormones associated with eating behavior. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, stands out as the only hormone in the body that can lower blood sugar levels. The main purpose of insulin is to regulate carbohydrate metabolism, in particular, the utilization of glucose in the body, but one way or another, insulin affects all types of metabolism.

Carbohydrates are broken down in the mouth, protein breakdown begins in the stomach, and fat is digested in the duodenum. This means that the body is almost constantly busy with the assimilation of food, accompanied by the release of glucose in the blood and the accompanying production of insulin for its absorption. Submitting to the habit of eating off-schedule and the love of chaotic snacks, the pancreas is forced to constantly respond to fluctuations in blood glucose. Excessive loading can provoke disruptions in the production of insulin, which is fraught with insufficient absorption of glucose, and – if you carelessly start the situation – type 2 diabetes mellitus.

“Those who are worried about being overweight and thinking about diabetes should reconsider their lifestyle for negative factors,” says the doctor. – It’s clear about diet and physical activity, but also, if you want to stabilize glucose surges, it is important to quit smoking, reduce alcohol to delicate doses, get enough vitamin D and get enough sleep, because sleep deficiency increases the risk of developing insulin resistance. And most importantly, avoid snacks and sweetened drinks between meals lasting at least 4-5 hours. Compliance with these rules will inevitably lead to a decrease in blood sugar levels, adjustment of the overall hormonal balance and the stable weight that you are striving for.