Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Hunger Hormone Increases during Stress

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Hunger Hormone Increases during Stress

Article excerpt

It is becoming clearer why some people who are stressed or depressed overeat. Although levels of the so-called "hunger hormone" ghrelin increase when we do not eat, researchers from the University of Texas in Dallas suggest that the hormone might also help defend against symptoms of stress-induced depression and anxiety.

Dr. Michael Lutter, Instructor of Psychiatry at the university, said, "Our findings support the idea that these hunger hormones don't do just one thing; rather, they coordinate an entire behavioral response to stress and probably affect mood, stress and energy levels."

We know that fasting causes ghrelin to be produced in the gastrointestinal tract. The hormone then plays a role in sending hunger signals to the brain. Research groups, including Dr. Zigman's, have suggested that blocking the body's response to ghrelin signals might be one way to help control weight by decreasing food intake and increasing energy expenditure.

"However, this new research suggests that if you block ghrelin signaling, you might actually increase anxiety and depression, which would be bad," Dr. Zigman said.

To determine how ghrelin affects mood, Dr. …

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