Saturday, 11 August 2012

Hormones and fat burning

So we don't get carried away with the Insanity blogs, let's talk about something different.  But something very important to us all; hormones and fat burning.  Lets discuss the role of hormones such as 'leptin' and 'ghrelin' and their role in fat burning.

So what are they?  Let's look at ghrelin first.  It is a hormone that is produced in the stomach lining and its main role is to increase appetite.  If you've experienced them little tummy gurgles in the pit of your stomach, then that's ghrelin telling you your peckish.  It's known as our 'hunger hormone', it stimulates our brain to say our body is hungry and we need to be fed.  Levels of ghrelin are higher before we eat then decrease after we have been fed. 

The other important hormone and ghrelin's counterpart is 'leptin', this is produced in our fat cells.  Its primary role is to tell us when we are satisfied and have had enough to eat. 

Our body tries to keep a state of equal balance, otherwise known as 'homeostasis'.  But there will be times when this balance may be upset.  For instance people that suffer with the rare genetic disorder Prader-Willi Syndrome have very high levels of ghrelin.  So they are constantly hungry and never really know when they have eaten enough, they are quite literally eating themselves to death.  As ghrelin is produced in the stomach, scientists are working on a ghrelin 'blocker' that could potentially help reduce their appetite and initiate the feelings of satiety and fullness. 

Conversely, where we can be resistant to insulin, we could also be leptin resistant.  Overweight people make a lot of leptin, but sometimes too much of this hormone is causing a sort of traffic jam halting the signal 'to stop eating' to be taken to the brain. 

If you are obese or overweight, the good news is, that if you lose weight you become more responsive to leptin. 

Should you have any fears about hormonal unbalances or metabolism issues I would suggest a talk with your doctor or a Endocrinologist (who specialises in the endocrine system). For more on the subject of leptin, click on this link

Take care for now,
All the best

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