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What are ghrelin and leptin?

Various physiologic feedback mechanisms involving the mouth, stomach, intestines, and brain all work together to increase or decrease your hunger. Many hormones play a role.

When your stomach is empty, the hormone ghrelin, which is produced mainly in the stomach, signals your brain that you need to take in food. Your body produces more ghrelin during fasting (such as between meals) in order to stimulate hunger, and it produces less after food is consumed.

Another hormone, leptin, which is produced in fat tissue, helps regulate your body fat by affecting hunger. As your fat stores increase, leptin signals the brain to decrease your level of hunger and food intake.

The two digestive hormones that hold the remote control to your feelings of hunger and appetite are ghrelin and leptin. As with many hormones, these two are paired but have opposing functions. One says Go and the other says Stop. Ghrelin (your go hormone) gets secreted by the stomach when it’s empty and increases your appetite. It sends a message to your brain that you need to eat. When your stomach is full, fat cells usher out the other hormone, leptin, so your brain gets the message that you are full and need to stop eating.

From The Mind-Beauty Connection: 9 Days to Less Stress, Gorgeous Skin, and a Whole New You by Amy Wechsler.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.