Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ghrelin stimulates production of growth hormone

Ghrelin is a hormone, secreted by the stomach, which causes you to feel hunger. It's highest before eating and goes down after eating. It has been discovered that ghrelin levels in the morbidly obese are up to 10x that of normal.

Recently I read:

"The ghrelin receptor was known well before ghrelin was discovered. Cells within the anterior pituitary bear a receptor that, when activated, potently stimulates secretion of growth hormone - that receptor was named the growth hormone secretagoue receptor (GHS-R). The natural ligand for the GHS-R was announced in 1999 as ghrelin, and ghrelin was named for its ability to provoke growth hormone secretion (the suffix ghre means "grow")."

What does this have to do with obesity? Well, I've noticed (and personally experienced) that lots of women when they start to go through puberty, pork up. They also experience a lack of satiety. It's like their "full" switch never turns on. Many of them, if left alone, will come out of it at about 16 or 17 perfectly slim and with a normal appetite. But if their family and friends freak out and start pushing them to watch their weight and to diet, they stay permanently out of whack.

Based on my observations, I came up with a theory that puberty causes women to feel hungry all the time as a way to stimulate growth and make sure growing bodies get enough to eat. Dieting interferes with this process by telling the body that there is a famine at the worth possible time. By dieting during puberty, you can set yourself up for a lifetime of weight problems. But if you ride it out, you could be okay as once you are through puberty, this insatiable urge to eat, eat, eat, should subside.

This has been my personal, pet theory for a while now. It's nice to know that there might actually be a scientific basis to it!
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