You may have heard of hormone imbalance before, or perhaps your surgeon has asked you to get lab tests, but how important is it really to have our hormones balanced?

Gastric surgery is known as the most effective therapy for long-term weight loss, and most of it occurs during the first two years, after which weight becomes stable. Such intense weight reduction involves interesting and beneficial changes to the body, as more and more studies continue to reveal. Within days after surgery, how carbohydrates are processed becomes more efficient. Adding to that, the calorie restriction following surgery generates massive weight reduction, which creates hormonal changes that continue to be a topic of interest for scientific studies. Especially those involved in hunger, satiety and energy balance.

Hormones are complex substances that are secreted by organs in the body called glands. They travel through the bloodstream to tissues and organs and control many of our bodily functions, such as sleep, hunger, and energy. You could say that hormones share information between cells and organs. Appetite control, body composition, and how glucose is broken down to be used as energy by the body are all regulated by the interaction between the transmission of signals from brain cells (neurotransmitters) and the chemical information that hormones carry. Their balance is fundamental to our body’s overall health.

Today, there are studies that are taking the hormonal factor into consideration with the purpose to provide better treatment for the bariatric patient. It is already known that some bariatric procedures trigger beneficial hormonal changes as they become balanced. The most important hormones that influence hunger and satiety are insulin, active ghrelin (AG), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), peptide YY (PYY) and cholecystokinin (CCK).

A very relevant study shows how post-Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery patients commonly show an improvement in appetite-regulating hormones GLP-1 and PYY. These hormones regulate hunger and increase satiety or fullness. The study shows an increase in these hormones levels in post-bariatric patients. Not only this contributes to weight-loss success, but also, it is linked to the possible improvement and resolution of some related conditions to excessive weight such as type 2 diabetes. Another study, however, shows that the rise in hunger hormones may override the fullness hormones after sustained weight-loss, two years after surgery. This is why checking your hormones with your doctor is important.

Scientists believe most of the resulting balance in hormones after surgery is a direct consequence of all the weight-loss; however, research continues to better understand how exactly the procedures affect hormone balance.

Treating hormonal imbalance is tricky, and each person’s condition is unique. There are fifty different hormones in the human body, each with its own specific function and interact with each other. Some weight loss resistance can be linked to hormone imbalance; however, while after surgery some hormones become balanced, others may not. Be sure to get lab tests as often our team of experts recommends.

Monitoring and, better yet, recording, on a scale from 1 to 10, your level of hunger, energy, and cravings throughout the day may be useful. High hunger and cravings and low energy are clear indicators of hormone imbalance.

Some studies also show that changes in eating habits also resonate on hormone secretion, so don’t forget to check our other posts about why high protein intake in meals is effective in reducing hunger and cravings, as well as other great eating recommendations we have at Mexicali Bariatric Center for your success.