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Tijuana Bariatric Center Blog

Gastric Sleeve and the Reduction of Ghrelin, a Hunger Hormone

Photo of woman in white button-up sitting outside on her laptopIf you are suffering from obesity, gastric sleeve surgery could be the solution. Gastric sleeve surgery has helped millions of patients worldwide lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

Bariatric surgery is known for decreasing the size of the stomach, and therefore, reducing portion size in patients who desire to lose weight. But did you know that significant research indicates that bariatric surgery also reduces ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”? 

Today, our team at the Tijuana Bariatric Center in Tijuana, MX discusses gastric sleeve and the reduction of ghrelin.

What Is Ghrelin, and What Does it Do?

Made in the stomach, ghrelin is referred to as the “hunger hormone” because it arouses the appetite. In turn, this increases food consumption. In fact, when administered to the body, it can increase food intake by up to 30 percent. 

Research also suggests that ghrelin can directly affect the amygdala, a region of the brain associated with reward processing. Therefore, this hormone may be partially responsible for the emotional aspects of overeating.

How Ghrelin Levels Can Affect Obesity

In general, you would expect overweight individuals to have a higher level of ghrelin compared to those who are not overweight. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, ghrelin levels are usually lower in obese individuals. The difference is, however, that overweight patients are typically much more sensitive to the hormone.

It is also interesting to note that ghrelin levels generally increase after dieting. This reveals why diet-induced weight loss can be incredibly challenging to maintain. 

How Gastric Sleeve Affects Ghrelin Levels

Research has repeatedly suggested that bariatric surgery is the most effective, long-term solution for obesity. Individuals who have lost weight after their procedure consistently have lower ghrelin levels than individuals who primarily lost weight through diet and exercise alone. 

Gastric sleeve surgery works so well because the portion of the stomach responsible for the majority of ghrelin production is removed. Therefore, in addition to eating less due to reduced capacity, patients also eat less because the hunger signals are not as strong. 

Because each individual is unique, the results can vary significantly based on the specific case.

Is Ghrelin Reduction Permanent?

While one patient may have a large portion of the stomach removed, another patient may only have a small segment removed. This will have a direct effect on the amount of ghrelin production. It is also possible for the cells that produce ghrelin to grow back at some point, though this does not occur until at least two years after the procedure. Therefore, it is important to make necessary preparations as you continue on your weight loss journey. 

Other Considerations

Ghrelin reduction is not the only element when it comes to bariatric surgery. Other factors, such as reduced stomach size, exercise plan, and emotional health all come into play for the long-term success of your treatment. Therefore, if you do not experience a decrease in appetite following your surgery, it is not a cause for concern. Your experienced team of doctors can help you design a personalized plan that will help you succeed. 

Learn More about Bariatric Surgery

If you are considering weight loss surgery and you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation at our practice. You can contact us online anytime or give us a call at one of our three office locations.

Tagged In: Bariatric Surgery

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