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Ghrelin, Appetite and Weight Loss
The Hormone Ghrelin and PYY Control Appetite and Food Intake
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Ghrelin, Appetite & Weight Loss

Obesity research has shown when it comes to appetite, certain hormones, enzymes and genes all play a role in signaling the brain when it's time to eat. Understanding how these mechanisms interact is a key pursuit in the United States, where two-thirds of the population is overweight and nearly 59 million are obese.

Recently, however, scientists have directed their attention to a small group of hormones and enzymes that, they believe, could play a role in developing a diet wonder drug.

Among the hottest targets are the hormones known as ghrelin and PYY. Japanese scientists discovered ghrelin in 1999 and American researchers proved its role in appetite a year later.

According to work by David Cummings, an endocrinologist at Seattle's Veterans Administration Medical Center at the University of Washington, ghrelin is produced in the stomach and, when delivered to the brain, tells the body to eat - immediately.

What's more, Cummings research showed that obese people who are dieting and losing weight have increased levels of the hungry hormone in their blood. The more pounds they lose, the more their bodies demand they eat more to make up the difference.

By finding a way to artificially reduce the level of ghrelin in the blood, scientists hope to turn off the body's demand to eat.

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