Did You Know about the Hunger Hormone?

lady before and after gastric bypass surgeryIf you are suffering from obesity, gastric sleeve surgery could be the solution. Gastric sleeve surgery has helped millions of patients worldwide lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

All bariatric surgery is restrictive as it decreases the size of the stomach, and therefore, reduces portion size in obese individuals who desire to lose weight. The team at Tijuana Bariatric Center in Tijuana, Mexico performs a variety of weight loss procedures that are restrictive only or restrictive and malabsorptive. Did you know that significant research indicates that bariatric surgery also reduces ghrelin, the “hunger hormone?” Gastric sleeve surgery, one of our most popular options reduces plasma ghrelin so patients have reduced appetite.

What Is Ghrelin, and What Does it Do?

Made in the fundus area of stomach, ghrelin is referred to as the “hunger hormone” because it arouses the appetite, which increases food intake. In fact, it can increase appetite by up to 30% when given to people as a synthetic hormone.

A section of the brain also produces small amounts of ghrelin, possibly affecting the amygdala, the region involved in reward processing. Therefore, this hormone may be partially responsible for the emotional aspects of overeating. It also affects the hypothalamus, the area of the brain crucial in the control of appetite. The small intestine and pancreas are two other areas that produce small amounts of ghrelin.

Ghrelin stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. This hormone has protective effects on the cardiovascular system and plays a role in the control of insulin release.

How Ghrelin Levels Can Affect Obesity

In general, you would expect obese individuals to have a higher level of ghrelin compared to those who are not overweight. However, this is not necessarily true. Ghrelin levels are usually lower in obese individuals. The difference is obese individuals are typically much more sensitive to the hormone.

Ghrelin levels increase after dieting, possibly explaining why diet-incused weight loss can be difficult to maintain.

How Gastric Sleeve Affects Ghrelin Levels

Research has repeatedly suggested that bariatric surgery is the most effective, long-term solution for obesity. Individuals who have lost weight after their procedure consistently have lower ghrelin levels than individuals who primarily lost weight through diet and exercise alone.

Gastric sleeve surgery works so well because the fundus, the portion of the stomach responsible for the majority of ghrelin secretion, is removed. Therefore, in addition to eating less due to reduced capacity, patients also eat less because the hunger signals are not as strong.

Because each individual is unique, the results can vary. Plasma ghrelin levels decrease significantly from the first postoperative day and last for more than 24 months following gastric sleeve surgery, which is why excess weight loss can be up to 60% in the six to 18 months following gastric sleeve surgery.

As a result, even if the brain calls for an increase in ghrelin production, the body won’t be able to produce more of the hormone. Over time, the body will begin to adapt and ghrelin levels may increase leading to weight gain.

Is Ghrelin Reduction Permanent?

While one patient may have a large portion of the stomach removed, another patient may only have a small segment removed, which will have a direct effect on the amount of ghrelin production. It is also possible for the cells in the fundus that produce ghrelin to grow back at some point, though this does not occur until at least two years after the procedure. Therefore, it is important to make necessary preparations as you continue on your weight loss journey.

Other Weight Loss Considerations

Ghrelin reduction is not the only element when it comes to bariatric surgery. Other factors, such as reduced stomach size, exercise plan, and emotional health all come into play for the long-term success of your treatment. Therefore, if you do not experience a decrease in appetite following your surgery, it is not a cause for concern. Your experienced team of doctors can help you design a personalized dietary plan that will help you succeed.

Change Your Life With Bariatric Surgery

If you are tired of yo-yo dieting and repeated unsuccessful attempts to lose weight, bariatric surgery may be the answer. The staff at Tijuana Bariatric Center will be happy to schedule a virtual consultation so you can learn about gastric sleeve and our other surgical alternatives. Contact us online anytime, or call us at 800-970-0577 to set up your appointment.

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*surgeries must be booked from June-August 2024