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The Role of Gut Hormones in Weight Loss : GLP-1, PYY, and CCK

Gut hormones play an important role in weight loss and its maintenance after bariatric surgery.(1) Their role after diet-induced weight loss is still unclear. There are gut hormones including glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1), peptide YY (PYY), and cholecystokinin (CCK) with anorexigenic and insulinotropic roles.

These hormones play a role in regulating appetite and energy balance in the body. The presence of food in the stomach and small intestine leads to the release of gut hormones that signal the brain to reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness. There are numerous studies that focus on understanding the potential of these hormones in the treatment of obesity and weight-related health conditions.

The Role of Gut Hormones in Weight Loss : GLP-1, PYY, and CCK

Clinical trials of hormones for weight loss have shown promising results, however, the limitations and potential side effects of using hormones for weight loss must also be considered.

Role of GLP1 or Glucagon-like Peptide in Weight Loss

GLP-1 is released from the gut in response to the food. It further acts on the brain to suppress hunger and promote feelings of fullness. It also increases the secretion of insulin which leads to improved glucose metabolism and control of blood sugar.

Also, GLP-1 is known to increase energy expenditure by promoting fat burning as a fuel source.

A GLP-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of obesity and has been shown to cause significant weight loss in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Role of PYY or Peptide YY in Weight Loss

PYY is another hormone that is released by the gut in response to eating. Just like GLP1, it acts on the brain to reduce hunger and promote a feeling of fullness. It is also shown to decrease food intake and body weight which regulates the energy balance by increasing the expenditure of energy.

A study done on rodents found that chronic administration of PYY reduced adiposity and made them resistant to diet-induced obesity.(2) PYY analogues are currently being tested as weight loss drugs.

Role of CCK or Cholecystokinin in Weight Loss

There is a release of CCK from the small intestine in response to food. It also acts on the brain to reduce hunger and promote a feeling of fullness. It encourages the release of enzymes from the pancreas that aid the digestion of fats and proteins.

CCK is shown to suppress appetite but its role is not studied as much as GLP1 and PYY.

The Potential of Hormones as Weight Loss Treatment

Despite these promising results, the long-term effects and potential side effects of hormone treatment for weight loss are still unknown. Hormone treatment may promote weight loss, but it cannot replace lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. it is important to seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional before taking any hormones for weight loss.

The potential of hormones for weight loss is being actively researched. Drugs mimicking the effects of these hormones such as GLP1 receptors and agonists and PYY analogues have been developed and are being used currently in clinical trials to know about their ability to promote weight loss. GLP-1 receptors agonist such as liraglutide is approved by the FDA for the treatment of obesity and has shown to cause significant weight loss in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.(3) Similarly, PYY analogues are also being tested as potential weight loss drugs.

How these hormones affect weight loss is still being researched, to determine the dosage and duration of the treatment. These hormones may promote weight loss but cannot be a substitute for lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet and regular exercise. These changes are essential for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight in long term. Also, the self-administration of these hormones for weight loss is not recommended. It is essential to consult with a qualified health professional to know about the risks and benefits of the treatment. GLP-1, PYY, and CCK are the hormones that play a key role in regulating the appetite and energy balance of the body. These are released in response to the presence of food in the stomach and the small intestine and signal the brain to reduce hunger and promote a feeling of fullness. There are studies supporting their use in weight loss and there is a need for further research to fully understand the potential of hormones as weight loss treatments. The dosage and duration of treatment and their effects on weight loss need to be determined. Additionally, the long-term safety and efficacy of hormone treatment must be carefully monitored.

In conclusion, while hormones show promise as weight loss treatments, further research is necessary to fully understand their potential and the limitations and side effects of using hormones for weight loss. It is important to note that hormones should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 2, 2023

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