Hunger Hormones

in #sceince4 years ago (edited)


Ever felt like you just can’t stop eating? Your stomach feels like it might rupture any moment, but you’re still driven to keep eating more and more? Or is it the opposite, you haven’t eaten much but are already so frustratingly full? Why is that?

As usual, the answer might be hormones.

Hormones are a bitch. Anyone who went through puberty knows that and those who have hormonal issues know that even more. The absence of a single hormone (looks at my thyroid in anger) can fuck you up.

So, what hormones regulate our appetite? Where do they come from? What happens if they don’t work properly?

The hypothalamus is a region of our brain that’s, among other things, responsible to control our appetite. A part of it can be reached by certain proteins and peptides, despite the blood-brain barrier. One of those peptides is …

Neuropeptide Y

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is another great example for how weird biologists are when naming stuff. Either it’s totally absurd (like the “sonic hedgehog gene”) or extremely boring (like the green fluorescent protein). @suesa

Anyway,*** NPY stimulates the appetite***, which leads to a greater food intake. There are hormones that inhibit it (leptin and insulin) and those that stimulate it (glucocorticoids, which is an awful name to write down, and ghrelin).

Interesting enough, mice that were bred to not have any NPY showed normal behavior. The only special thing the researchers noticed in the study where they had a look at NPY deficient mice was that it’s beneficial if the mice also don’t have any leptin.

And what is leptin?


Did you know that your fatty tissue can produce hormones? Now you know. One of those hormones is leptin. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the amount of leptin that’s produced in the body rises with increasing body fat mass, is it?

In contrary to most other hormones that control appetite, the leptin levels aren’t connected to when and how much you eat. Instead, it seems to be tied to your internal clock: It’s high when you sleep and lower around noon and in the afternoon. This leads (or at least it should) to you not feeling as much hunger at a time when you’re supposed to be asleep.

And if leptin is missing? You get obese and your immune system develops issues. Luckily, those symptoms can be held in check by giving the patient some leptin. It’s similar to insulin in that way.

Insulin … yeah, that has something to do with appetite too!


You all (hopefully) know that insulin plays an important level in diabetes. Either not enough insulin is produced (Diabetes 1) or the body is resistant to it (Diabetes 2). The second one is usually acquired through an unhealthy lifestyle.

Insulin leads to the absorption of sugar by certain cells (those that require insulin to absorb sugar) from the blood. Naturally, this means insulin spikes after a meal. The message that reaches your brain is “alright, we have enough food, please stop eating!”. And less hungry you become until the insulin levels drop again.

Fun fact: Your brain only notices the change in blood sugar levels, not the actual level. That’s one reason why you can still eat the dessert after finishing a meal that made you full. The sugar in your blood is gone and your brain thinks it’s fine to eat some more.

A deficiency in insulin thus leads to overeating, obesity and other nasty things.


The growth hormone-releasing peptide (the biologists tried to seem a bit more sophisticated by linking the name to the word gʰreh which means “to grow”) stimulates your appetite. It’s produced by your stomach when there is nothing in your stomach. Naturally, ghrelin levels decrease when you eat something.

And what happens if you give lab rats ghrelin?

They eat! What a surprise! And the same happens to humans!

I wonder who gave their okay for those human experiments …

Anyway, ghrelin is generally found in low concentrations in those with obesity and in higher ones in those who are starving. Which makes sense, if you think about it.

Cocaine- and Amphetamine-regulated transcript

Yes, drugs can make you eat less. Cocaine- and Amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) is partly responsible for that. A transcript is the stage between DNA and Protein: a part of the DNA is copied (“transcribed”) into RNA (something like DNA just slightly different in its structure) and then translated into a Protein.

So, this transcript is produced by neurons (cells of your nervous system). These neurons are stimulated by leptin and are connected to the parts of the brain that are responsible for reinforcement, reward, sensory processing, stress and endocrine (even more hormones) regulation.

If there is less food, there is less CART. If someone has a cocaine addiction, it changes the CART system. That’s bad because CART seems to be connected to the dopamine system.

Isn’t it fascinating how closely drugs and food are connected to each other? It’s not surprising that many people develop a food addiction.

There are even more hormones that influence what, how and when you eat, but this post is already a bit long and I don’t want to bore you. Instead, I will leave you with some thoughts:

Many people say their obesity comes from “a bad metabolism” or “bad genes”. While this might be true for some, it probably isn’t for most. But it might be worth to check for certain hormonal deficiencies when it comes to significantly overweight people.

At the same time, hormones aren’t something to play around with. Just a small increase or decrease can mess up your whole system. And how do you know how much of your behavior is actually controlled by hormones? How much of your personality?

As with everything, be responsible for the things you eat, the medication you take and the drugs you use. That doesn’t mean to cut out everything that might be dangerous (you can take my hormonal birth control from my cold, dead hands), but to be aware of the risks that come with it.


Hormonal Regulators of Appetite

Life without neuropeptide Y

The CART (Cocaine- and Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript) System in Appetite and Drug Addiction

Low serum PYY is linked to insulin resistance in first-degree relatives of subjects with type 2 diabetes

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Monster GIF was made for me by @saywha and @atopy


I have type 1 diabetes and I can say it's horrible when I'm uncertain if I'm hungry or I've just injected too much insulin and I'm feeling weak.

Mostly this is an issue, when the weak feeling comes from too low blood glucose and when I'm hungry, I might get paranoid "Oh shit, do I have low blood glucose levels?" - if I'm not able to measure the blood glucose level, I might eat something even though I wouldn't really need to.
And no, being hungry doesn't mean I would really need to eat something.

But the total amount of hormones related to hunger is interesting. I'm assuming everyone doesn't even know hormones have anything to do with hunger, simplifying it to "When you are hungry, your stomach is empty".


I have Type 1 Diabetes to I completely understand your frustration @apsu . I now have an insulin pump I am able to regulate my levels and able to keep my appetite under control.

How long have you had it? I don't have an insulin pump, even though it could be handy I've always felt comfortable enough with insulin pens. However sometimes it's a bit too easy to inject a bit too much, but I'm still alive :)

@apsu thanks for asking, I have been type 1 for 13 years, I also used the pen and had that same issue with over and under injecting. it was a crazy roller coaster ride .
I have had the pump for about 3 years now and its amazing. I am able to control my levels a lot easier . no more lows or highs.

Please take care @apsu. My mom has diabetes my grandma died from it. I try to move a lot since I love loveove eating

I will :) Luckily if they have type 2 diabetes it's usually less serious, in a way...
But it always requires strength. So I wish your family will stay strong and hopefully you can avoid diabetes :)

Thanks for sharing @apsu.
It’s really interesting to see the point of view of someone who is really going through some of these issues. You made me reflective after reading your comment. Thanks for that.

All the best! :)

Very interesting information, thank you so much for sharing! I have never considered the effects of hormones and appetite before!

Hi @ suesa. This post did mention on diabetes and is what we have been taught. How ever I learned from a DR from india that all diabetes can be reversed. I'm no doctor but what he says makes sense so I am trying the method. Just started weeks ago. Will see the outcome.
JUst to share with the community. Video link below;

I did some research on the balance of leptin and ghrelin that I found really interesting. For obese people, their hormone regulation is all off which causes them to have issues controlling their food intake. There is a lot we don't know yet about it though.

True @altherion so much about wellness is still undiscovered mine I just choose to be happy as happy peoplw are less likely to get sick

Very informative post. Thanks :)

Great stuff here!! Most people don't realize that their metabolism actually IS their hormones!! :-). Leptin isn't as commonly known!

What I think is absolutely insane is that neuropeptide F (NPF) is a homologue of our neuropeptie Y.

The fruit flies that have lower levels of NPF tends to drink ethanol more that the ones with higher levels. And there are also some studies, that uncover connestion between alcohol consumption and our neuropeptide Y.

How cool is that?

Btw, few minutes ago I made a tutorial post about how to draw Neuropeptide F. I mean, dont take it as a self-promotion, I just think it is a funny co-incidence :D

A lot of proteins are closely related because from a genetic standpoint they all come from the same gene. When a gene is replicated and you're left with two copies it leads to redundancy which means one version of the gene is able to go off and mutate into a new protein with a completely new function without harming the functionality of the organism!

Yea, I study genetics :D But the more I study the more mind-blown I get.

I know I just checked out your page. Great topic to study, I did my honours thesis in genomics... you're right that the lab work is dry! :/

Wow! Nice post as always. Hunger hormones, I never knew about them or let me say I never found out about them. I just know there are some times I get filled after eating only a little food and there are times I eat beyond my usual capacity.

This is so educative..

Suesa, the steemit chatter :)
You misspelled the "Science" tag.

"but this post is already a bit long and I don’t want to bore you. Instead, I will leave you with some thoughts:" No. please make it longer, don't be afraid that people won't read it, because if i was planning to read the whole post, I'll read it even fi it has more words to it.

I actually learned a lot from this post. So thank you for that.

Btw, I'm eating a lot, and tbh I think it's my heart that desires it

And it's the first tag, that means I can't change it... fuck.

I try to keep my posts at about 1k words, longer is usually too much for the readers ^^

1K words is a lot, you're right. but people can read more :)

have a great day

Hey, you still dint remove the misspelled tag!
And it remains as your main tag.

Oh, I just saw your reply to @yairdd.

Thanks for rubbing salt in the wound :(

I swear 🙇.
I missed out on your reply @suesa
To forgive is Divine

I'm not divine tho. So I will NEVER FORGIVE YOU EVER

Because you can't change the main tag.

Good words there @yairdd I kept posting even if no one notice imagine what the world be like if the author of Harry Potter just gave up after being rejected many tines

Hi @suesa, The posts related to Biology always take me to my college days where not so weird Biology teacher used to speak about living things in an impressive way. I was very good Biology and all other subjects so my memories are mostly good. Your posts are very detailed and not as boring as those college days lectures. :) Pardon me, I did not mean what you have perceived. :p

So, here is what I have learnt from this post:

There are two major hormones that affect our appetite:

Leptin supresses appetite whereas Ghrelin increases appetite and keeping them balanced is the key to have a normal appetite.

I'm good at grabbing the general idea of things though I can put my brain to remember details but naturally, that's not what I am. Just sharing with you because I did the same with this post after spending 11 precious minutes to read this post. :)

Great post @suesa. From now on, I'm going to remember you every time I'm very hungry or not hungry at all. :D

Steem On!

This post does a great job illustrating the complexities of our hunger signals and why scientists have yet to develop a safe a universal diet pill that's safe and effective. That being said, certain medications, like leptin supplements, can be helpful for individuals with genetic issues.

So, if you eat less for a a few weeks and then try to eat the amount you were eating originally you may find that it is uncomfortably over filling. So. Is this a reflection of the stomach shrinking (what most people claim) or is it an effect of altered hormone production?

Good question. Probably both.

Note to self... cocaine will make you eat less not do cocaine. Never knew insulin has any business with hunger, all these while whenever I hear insulin I think of diabetes ...good to see.

Good advice @greenrun there are two types of diabetes. Not all diabetic need insulin bbut I bet if he exercise also that lessen the troubles

Thanks for the clarification

Is always nice to read some good old hormone "sceince" posts. hahaha

Fuck you personally :P You will never let me forget this, will you

What a great way to explain this concept. I don't think people understand how powerful our hormones are and how much they control what we do or how we feel. I'm a type 2 with PCOS that was fortunate enough to catch things early on, and with changing my way of eating I was able to stay off meds. I have heard many people claim that they inherited their diabetes from their mom or dad, but in reality, many times we inherit our cooking and food choices. Think of all the tasty family recipes passed on from generation to generation and add on top of that how over processed things have become. All of this together is sure to lead to some disruption in our hormones. It's a perfect storm leading to a lot of sickness. I guess the best we can do is to know the consequence of our actions.

Diabetes type 1 is mostly inherited tho, so that can really be genetic. But yeah, it's really important to have an eye on what we eat.

I completely agree with you on the hormones.. They can be pretty frustrating most times, especially when you are very hungry and have prepared yourself to consume your lunch, you'll just find yourself eating only a little and you are already filled, so fraustating.

Therefore you should never go to the supermarket if you are really hungry. Believe me, you will buy a lot of crap :)
Very interesting @seusa. Don't worry. Not too long at all. People have to learn to read again.

Hi @suesa.

I was specially interested on what you said about leptin. We know it is produced on fat cells/tissues. The thing is if we could get resistant to it somehow, just like what happens with insulin?
I imagine that if we get fatter and fatter, leptin rises and stays high. Therefore the receptors on the hypothalamus might get desensitized due to the always high leptin levels. As a result it can’t account for our internal clock and things keep getting worse. That’s probably why obesity is also super bad.

Thanks for this post.

Thank you for addressing this issue in your post. I am addicted to sweets like it is heroine. I have never had such informative facts to understand why I am always hungry and for the wrong things. With knowledge comes power so now to implement what I just learned!

I read that alcohol releases some hunger hormones, that's why we always want to eat a kebab/burger at 2 AM after the party :D

I think that has other reasons :P but alcohol certainly disturbs the fat metabolism.

Wow really interesting post, I've also read that sometimes your body just need's water and gives mixed signals, so if you feel hungry I would recommend that your drink some water and wait 30 minutes if your still hungry then you should go eat.

Yes, that too!

I struggle with this water-hunger issue so much after birthing my second. And at times it's the other way around: I feel thirsty, but water doesn't quench it, then I eat and it goes away.

I’m hoping for a menopause for you before we have to take your birth control from your cold, dead hands 🤪
Nice post. I enjoyed reading it. Noticed a misspelling in your science tag that might interfere with number of views.

Menopause would be the preferred option.

And yesss I know but the first tag can't be changed after posting 😫 added a second, correct "science" tag.

Great post, Leptin is a great hormone that not many people heard about, it increases your metabolism and when you are in a restricted calorie diet for too long leptins levels tend to go down, in order to raise them you need to eat normal for a few days, especially carbs, you even got a name for those days, they are called "refeed days", they are nothing like cheat days

how much I would like to eat a hamburger like the one in your photo, but really here if they are expensive

And yes, when my hormones get out of control, I feel very hungry.

Make one yourself! :D

But yea, I tried to find the most delicious looking hamburger for the post.

  1. Fuck hormones
  2. The green fluorescent protein sounds kinda cool, superheroish? Ok, to literal maybe. Ok, boring.
  3. I can't keep reading these posts with those food pics.
    Now i'm hungry.

can not stop eating chocolate
I can not stop my hormones ;)
i love eating chocolate

after this post I am going to buy chocolate

Bring me some too

Wow! This article is very informative and helpful. Sadly, I eat a lot and not getting fat. sad :(

(Upvoting this comment will help street children of Manila, Philippines this Christmas season) Docu here:

interesting article! Hormoons have a big influence on the body, i've noticed this myself! thanks for sharing.

You are so correct.
Hormones plays a large part in our biochemistry. Doctors know very little about this because the medical schools are financed by big pharma. This allows hormonal problems to not be addressed.
Low T is the new toy for big pharm to exploit. The drugs to alleviate Low T is synthetic testosterone. Years ago I went to a natural holestic doctor and he prescribed Armor which is the natural form of testosterone a 6oz jar cost me about $40. That would last me a couple of months.
I later went to a run of the mill doctor he prescribed me a synthetic form of testosterone and less than half of what I used to buy ran me $180. That was to last only 1 week. And of course I would rather take the natural form but to find a doctor that will go out of protocol is next to impossible. The doctors dont want to risk being sued. Sued for prescribing the natural form of testosterone!? No wonder everyone feels sick all the time. The system is designed to keep you alive but at the same time keep you sick.
Excellent post. Keep spreading the information. It is much needed.

@sues hi bro Very informative learn about hypothalamus :)

Not your bro cause I'm a woman, not writing about the hypothalamus AND you spelled my name wrong. Impressive.

@suesa you are a bro to him...hehehehe

I'm not even a bro to my actual brother... :P

Lol. I hope he is here too...steeming awesomely...

Hahha, Sorry For Bro I think you are bro because of name I'm from Asia Country Side :P

you made me feel conflicted. I usually flag self promotion below my posts as spam, but this is self promotion to fix the spam problem. Why are you doing this to me. xD


I don't want to self promoting me.. my goal is to help newcomers and minnows understand how steemit works and how they could compromise their reputation with spam comments. If you take a look to the linked post you'll understand.
But if you don't like my comment, i will remove it.. Let me know. ;-)


I don't want to self promoting me.. my goal is to help newcomers and minnows understand how steemit works and how they could compromise their reputation with spam comments. If you take a look to the linked post you'll understand.
But if you don't like my comment, i will remove it.. Let me know. ;-)

i know when i'm done i'm done. new rule. eat 80/20 -- eat till 80% full and no more! :)

It is said that junk food, fast food everything rich in calories brings a high risk of getting lazy, obese ovious, lack of concentration, OCD.

I'm sure you can get obese on just veggies if you're very determined. You need a certain amount of calories a day, if you exceed that you suffer the consequences. But yes, it's generally better to eat healthily Not because of the calories but because of vitamins and other nutrients.

Cortectelly. Apreciate that.

My hormones just messes with everything, the way I feed, the way I feel, the way I react to any and everything, sometimes I feel full without eating anything,... little wonder I look smaller than my actual age! Great post by the way!

Greetings to you
The content is very informative and informative in your publication
I was pleased with my wish here for my success

Good bacteria in our guts also generate the exact same chemicals such as dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA, seretonin etc as a byproduct and communicate directly with with brain via the Vagus Nerve.

Drugs can even make you eat more.
I tried smoking pot in my college days (not so proud about that ),but that thing makes you so fuckin hungry.They have given a name to phenomenon which is known as "The Munchies" (which I have to google to score high marks :) :) ).

There have been researches on this phenomenon which suggests that people eat more being stoned cause they smell and taste better and marijuana also increases the production of ghrelin ....yeah your hunger hormone.

True. I made a post about cannabis 2 days or so ago :P Although I didn't go into specifics concerning munchies.

yeah I'll love to read that post ....and I'll thank god that you didn't flag me.. :)

I tend to have this problem a lot, thanks for educating me and letting me know where I'm getting it wrong, I hope others too can learn.

Great introduction, love your work! :D

Ghrelin also play a major role in memory stimulation meaning that when are hungry,we remember more ! .It's a survival technique to assure that our ancestors remember where they got food.

thank you for making this clearer

Good post! Up-voted and followed.

I wrote something for IGMS last month on the hypothesis that these hormonal releases can also be conditioned, like any other reflex.

"Hacking the Weight-O-Stat (with Sprinkles!)"

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts, as it was not something you addressed here.

Diabetes is a bitch, I know a lot of people who are suffering from this disease.

FanTASTIC post. As someone that has an 11lb stomach capacity reading more about things like this is always eye opening.

Really very helpful information. I like such these topics.. Thank you. But so much youngs aren`t be careful...

I feel like hungry even after immediate take of the meal. These hormones are killing me. Is there any kind of natural method to stop it, like home based medicines? I am afraid of getting fat in the future. :-(

Maybe you're eating the wrong foods. Food with a high protein and low carb content usually keeps you full longer, because it doesn't spike your blood sugar (and thus your insulin) so much.

i usually eat biryani and rice products much. And i take fruit juices too. I think rice is not good for me. I don't know but people says that it is healthy because it's cooked without oil and without any other processed toppings.

Rice is high in carbs, fruit juices high in sugar. Maybe you should eat more meat/beans/green vegetables.

I am from south India we eat rice more than 2 times a day. That's sucks. :-(. And yeah i start avoiding rice and start eating vegetables and meat as much as i can.

The priceless benefits of carrot juice....

  1. This helps keep BP in control.
  2. People who drink regular carrot juice are not cancerous.
  3. Carrot juice keeps the digestive system healthy.
  4. If your skin, hair or nails are dry, then you should drink carrot juice regularly.
  5. Add salt, ghee leaves, cumin seeds, black pepper, and lemon juice in carrot juice and drink it.
  6. If any part of the body burns, it is beneficial to put carrot juice in that place.
  7. People eating regular carrots do not have night blindness problems.
  8. If the periods of shortage in periods are not available or on a monthly basis, it is beneficial to take 5 grams of carrot by making a decoction with 20 grams of jaggery.
  9. Regular consumption of carrots protects the skin from damage caused by sun rays.
  10. Regular consumption of it keeps constipation away.
  11. Carrot does not let vitamin A deficiency in our body, due to lack of vitamin A
  12. There is no disease associated with it.

You can literally turn orange from consuming too much carrot juice

Wow so yummy @suesa I also love posting foods because they are my source of comfort when I am stressed out

Congratulations, you successfully outed yourself as someone who did not read the post.

thanks for the information

dear @suesa
i read your post.....i like it....
so very nice post....

Hello, great work, i liked your post and reward it with upvote.

I'm running budget proposal campaign on Steemit for funding my future STEEM Windows and Android app - STEEMER. If you would like to contribute, please visit my post for details:

I like your post amazing..visit to my blog here I write recipes to share.

Hunger they say is no respecter of anybody. The serious hunger that will make you eat anything on site is when the blood sugar is low. So watch out. I follow and upvote you. Do same for me.

Dis cake looks so amazing, great work

nice work. upvoted and followed.
this is my blog(please upvote and follow if you like):

Oh how I love people who spam meaningless comments and then self-vote.

Flagging my comment doesn't change the fact that you're spamming :) but it's okay, maybe you'll change in the future.

I'm sorry about that, I just saw this as you going out of your way to be slightly hateful (I mean I just left a positive comment on your post). But I am really sorry, I never realized that there was something wrong with the upvoting for example. I am always just happy if people upvote and comment positively to me but I am learning (I also loved it when people welcomed me here so that is why I have been commenting to welcome others). Apologies @suesa, I'll try to get better at this :)

It's just that comments like "nice post" "good content" and such are mostly meaningless. It's likely commented by people who didn't even read the post and are just hoping for an upvote.

If you want to sincerely comment on something, try to relate to the content and people won't see you as a spammer but as someone trying to connect. They might even upvote you. I know I try to upvote every good comment, as you can see when you scroll

I definitely see your point here. I think that it is that you are much further on your steemit journey than me so I feel like I don't view comments as spam as easily yet and I just don't care if it is positive comment that harms me in no way. And as this is your comment section you get to have a say on what types comments you want. But as said I'll try to get better. Hope you have a lovely day :)

Btw, you should keep an eye on your voting power, it's extremely low. You can check it on The less VP you have the less your votes are worth

Thanks, I didn't know sites like that existed :) I'll be sure to learn more about how the voting power works here. Cheers :)

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