Ghrelin is often referred to as the “hunger hormone” and Leptin is referred to as the “satiety hormone.”  These hormones help you control your weight because they tell the body when to eat and when to stop eating.

When your stomach is empty, it will release ghrelin, telling your body to eat. This message is sent to the brain, more specifically to the hypothalamus.

Ghrelin levels are higher before a meal and decrease after you have eaten.

On the other hand, when you have eaten, Leptin is released and a signal is sent to the hypothalamus to stop eating, it tells the brain that you have enough fat in storage and you can stop eating.  This helps prevent overeating and thus weight gain.

Ghrelin levels are higher in lean patients than in obese patients and Leptin levels are higher in obese patients than in lean patients, nearly 4 times higher!  How is it then that obese patient cannot lose weight if they have less “hunger hormones” and more “satiety hormones”?

In the obese, these mechanisms do not work properly.   Studies have shown that ghrelin levels in the obese do not decrease significantly after eating a meal and that although leptin levels are high in obese subjects the hypothalamus does not properly receive the signal to stop eating.

Weight loss surgeries like the gastric sleeve and Duodenal Switch impact the production of ghrelin significantly.  Ghrelin is primarily produced in the upper part of the stomach called the fundus. This part of the stomach is the one that is removed during the gastric sleeve surgery and the duodenal switch surgery.  Drastically reducing the production of ghrelin in the body facilities weight loss by reducing hunger in addition to the restrictive and malabsorptive components of each surgery.

Leptin levels can be stimulated by the following:

  • Lowering triglycerides helps leptins work more effectively.
  • Reducing inflammatory foods like sugar and trans fats.
  • Increasing anti-inflammatory foods like salmon, tuna, berries, olive oil, etc.
  • Exercise
  • Eating leafy green vegetables

Studies have also shown that when you have stable eating hours ghrelin levels automatically increase during those hours. You can use those patterns of ghrelin production to your advantage!  By knowing when you will feel hungry you can plan ahead.  Having nutritious food available at those times will help you make better food choices and help you control your weight.

After weight loss surgery, as you lose weight, the function of hormones will become more balanced, and ghrelin and leptin will once again help you control your hunger and satiety.

At Mexicali Bariatric Center we want you to lose weight successfully!  For any questions, please contact us at (888) 344 3916.