Hormones are chemical signalling molecules that are secreted by a tissue (or gland) and they help to regulate another tissue (or gland), or the same tissue that produced it.
Hormones control these, among other, functions of your body:
- Responses to stress
- Growth and development
- Rates of physiological processes
- Concentrations of sugars and minerals
We use the word hormone casually to imply that someone is acting up, and yet hormones are essential to normal cellular processes.
Being short, or in excess, of a certain hormone can pose a serious threat to your overall wellbeing.
Your brain regulates all hormones’ production from the hypothalamus. These hormones regulate the pituitary gland through stimulating or inhibiting its hormone productions.
Furthermore, these pituitary hormones help to control the body processes that includes growth, blood pressure, pregnancy and childbirth, breast milk production, the function of sex organs in both males and females, food metabolism, thyroid gland function, water/electrolytes balances regulation, temperature regulation, and pain relief etc.
Connection between your brain and hunger
Your brain has a region that regulates your hunger. It’s in the hypothalamus and is made up of the lateral, ventromedial, and paraventricular hypothalamus.
These parts of the hypothalamus have receptors for two chemical messengers that signal hunger: ghrelin and leptin.
We want you to understand how the hypothalamus uses ghrelin and leptin to regulate how much food you eat.
Hormone ya kuleta njaa, ghrelin
Ghrelin is a metabolic hormone. It promotes how you regulate your energy, when it’s levels are high you get an appetite for food, and when the levels are low, you feel satisfied.
This hormone’s level increase before meals and decrease after meals. It’s a hunger hormone.
The hypothalamus has receptors for ghrelin that signals the body of hunger. In response to these signals, you start searching for food to eat. Some people have high levels of ghrelin, which promotes overeating.
Ghrelin levels are also associated with certain addictive drugs, alcohol, and is responsible for food cravings as a result.
Lack of sleep increases ghrelin levels, which in turn increases hunger and encourages late night eating.
How Does Leptin Reduces Hunger?
Leptin works in contrast to ghrelin; it signals your brain when you’re full.
There are higher levels of leptin hormone in your bloodstream when you’re full than when you’re hungry.
Leptin levels in your blood are produced in proportion to your body fat weight. Low levels of leptin can decrease your blood pressure and reduce your immunity’s response to diseases. Obesity is associated with Leptin resistance. An obese person may have an elevated supply of leptin, and yet it does not regulate their appetite.
These hunger hormones are key to influencing our health and well being.