How to Manage the Hormones that are Making You Hungry Always

Updated on July 8th, 2020
hunger hormones

If you’ve been feeling hungry even when you’ve eaten, then there’s a good chance that there is something wrong with the production and metabolism of these hormones.

Ghrelin

Ghrelin is a hormone that is produced and released mainly by the stomach [1] with small amounts also released by the small intestine, pancreas, and brain. Ghrelin has numerous functions. It is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage.

Ghrelin levels are primarily regulated by food intake. Levels of ghrelin in the blood rise just before eating, and when fasting, with the timing of these rises being affected by our normal meal routine. Hence, ghrelin is thought to play a role in mealtime’ hunger pangs’ and the need to begin meals.

Levels of ghrelin increase when fasting (in line with increased hunger) and lower in individuals with higher body weight than lean individuals, which suggests ghrelin could be involved in the long-term regulation of body weight.

What to do about it

Avoid white carbohydrates [2], sugar, and especially sugary drinks that increase hunger without stretching the stomach lining. Eat protein at every meal, especially breakfast, to promote satiety. Eat a lot of fiber, as it has the mass to stretch the stomach lining physically.

Insulin

Insulin is secreted by the pancreas to allow your cells to take in glucose (blood sugar) for energy or storage. It prevents fat cells from being broken down. Insulin is used so the cells absorb glucose and convert that into ATP — the energy that our body works on.

Insulin is also important for making sure that the cell membranes can absorb glucose. If there is any problem with insulin secretions, then it could cause all sorts of problems. The major problem with an imbalance in insulin secretions is blood sugar or diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes — type 1 and type 2. In type 1, the body doesn’t generate any insulin at all, and this means that the cell membranes can’t absorb glucose. You basically have a lot of glucose in the blood vessels. This has the potential to become detrimental to the functioning of kidneys, heart, and the brain.

In type 2 diabetes, the produced insulin isn’t sufficiently utilized either because it is too high or too low. In both cases, you’ll be left with a lot of sugar. Your body tells you that you have enough sugar, but you’ll feel hungry because the cells haven’t taken any sugar. 

What to do about it

There are so many methods to deal with this. One is to get medical intervention and maintain a healthy diet [3]. You need to avoid anything that has excess sugar. Reduce carbs to reduce chronic or excess insulin secretion. Reduce fructose, which is known to increase insulin levels and is linked to insulin resistance.

Do exercise to burn glycogen stores and increased insulin activity in skeletal muscles. Some essential oils can also help in soothing the negative effects of this.

[Also Read: How to Balance Hormones Naturally ]

Leptin

It is produced by fat cells; this hormone notifies the hypothalamus (brain) that there is enough fat in storage and prevents overeating.

When things go wrong, you wind up with leptin resistance, which happens when impaired signaling doesn’t trigger the brain to calm hunger hormones. Malfunction is linked to obesity, chronically elevated insulin, and inflammation.

What to do about it

Avoid inflammatory foods [4], like seed oils, and focus on omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure you’re getting good sleep, as sleep deprivation is linked to drops in leptin levels. Exercise increases leptin sensitivity.

[Also ReadHow Does the Leptin Diet Work ]

Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1)

Its role is that GLP-1 is produced and released when food enters the intestines to tell our brain we are full.

When things go wrong, Chronic inflammation reduces GLP-1 production, negatively affecting satiety signaling (making you always feel hungry).

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What to do about it

Avoid inflammatory food, take probiotics [5], eat meals high in protein, which increases GLP-1 production. Meals high in leafy green vegetables also increase GLP-1 levels. Eat a diet of Anti-inflammatory Fab 4 Foods. 

Cholecystokinin (CCK)

Its role is that CCK is produced by cells in the gastrointestinal tract and nervous system. CCK is released by the duodenum and stimulates gallbladder contraction, pancreatic, and gastric acid secretion; it slows gastric emptying and suppresses energy intake.

When things go wrong, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause an overproduction of CCK, making you feel deprived of energy.

What to do about it

Initial studies suggest the direct interaction of CCK and dietary protein contributes to satiety response. Fat triggers release of CCK and fiber can double CCK production.

Peptide YY (PYY)

Its role is that PYY is the control hormone in the gastrointestinal tract that reduces appetite.

When things go wrong, Insulin resistance and chronically elevated blood sugar impair the production of PYY.

What to do about it

Balanced blood sugar increases PYY response and production. Protein-based meals increase PYY concentrations, while fiber also increases PYY production.

[Also Read10 Hormones Responsible for Weight Gain in Women ]

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