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Hunger Hormones

  • The “big four” hunger hormones that work in synergy with each other (and all the other hormones as well) are adiponectin, cholecystokinin (CCK), leptin and ghrelin. Similar to how the thyroid hormone controls metabolism, and insulin and cortisol are driven by stress, these hunger hormones affect appetite.

    Although they are relative newcomers to the weight loss game, the hunger hormones can also be set straight by the right Smart Fats and some healthy lifestyle adjustments, like learning how to snooze to lose! By resetting your hunger hormones, you will effortlessly increase insulin sensitivity, stabilize blood sugar levels and preserve more lean muscle mass while you fast track weight loss.

    Best of all, you are seriously in for a treat when you experience how to tame the hunger hormone monster. You see, the Smart Fats that are best known for the satiety factor are the monounsaturated (omega-9) foods and oils from olives, avocados, and macadamias, as well as a variety of other nuts, especially pine nuts. After consuming these tempting foods and delectable oils from which they are derived, you will feel so much fuller faster which keeps hunger at bay even longer. Since mouthwatering oils and fats are the real flavor carriers of food, Smart Fats really go a long way in elevating cooking into an art as well as science.

    Heart Smart
    It is also worthwhile pointing out that the monounsaturated fats have been well recognized for their ability to lower heart disease risk more effectively than statin drugs—to the tune of 70 percent. This is documented in the landmark Lyon Diet Heart Study with over 600 individuals following the Mediterranean diet, which provides high amounts of the marvelous monos. The high monounsaturated Mediterranean diet has not only been shown to lower heart disease risk, but is also linked to a lower incidence of cancer as well as a longer life span.

    Before You Go Nuts
    Besides olives, avocados, macadamia nuts, pine nuts and their respective oils, there are a number of other nuts and seeds, which boast a high monounsaturated content and can satisfy hunger. These include cashews, peanuts (although technically a legume), almonds and pecans—all absolutely delicious when enjoyed in moderation and tossed in stir-frys, salads, trail mix and used as coatings. But, I have found in working with thousands of clients over the years that many individuals have a notoriously hard time digesting them (think gas and heartburn), unless the seeds and nuts are soaked, sprouted and/or fermented to deactivate enzyme inhibitors. And then there’s the issue of aflatoxins (a mold that can be carcinogenic) found in peanuts and peanut butter—as well as other foods.

    However, the main concern I have with lots of nuts in the diet is the high arginine content. Arginine is an amino acid that protects the arteries, enabling them to become more pliable, and that’s a good thing. But, on the other hand, too much arginine in the diet—which is easy to achieve when you go overboard with nuts—can feed viral conditions. So I purposefully have gone easy on overly recommending lots of nuts and nut butters, although you will see a smattering of nutty suggestions in the Smart Eating section.

    That being said, as far as I am concerned, the monounsaturated oils, in general, are really good news because they will not only stoke our metabolic fires but can also take the “heat” in cooking as well. Some of them have a higher than average smoke point—especially avocado and macadamia nut oils at approximately 400 degrees F which makes them ideal for frying!

    Hunger Hormone # 1– Adiponectin

    The hunger hormone Adiponectin is balanced by monounsaturated omega-rich foods and oils:

    • Olives and Olive Oil
    • Avocados and Avocado Oil
    • Macadamias and Macadamia Nut Oil

    Adiponectin is a real hormone game changer that you may not be very familiar with. It is a big player in firing up belly fat burn and is known as the body’s “fat burning torch.” THAT says it all. And believe it or not, this special super hormone that flips your body’s fat burning switch is already circulating in your bloodstream because it is made in your fat cells. And the more you have of it, the more fat you will burn for fuel, especially from the abdominal area. It’s no surprise then that low levels of adiponectin have been linked with higher levels of obesity and insulin resistance. To kick-start your levels of adiponectin, stoke those fat burning fires, and improve total health, let’s take an even closer look at the monounsaturated omegas which can boost your body’s levels. These magnificent monos can lower inflammation, lessen cellular damage, spike antioxidant absorption by 400 percent, and decrease your body fat (especially troublesome belly fat) while protecting your heart and liver.

    The Incredible Olive
    Probably the best known adiponectin boosters are two of the all-time great superfoods: olives and extra virgin olive oil. Olives are a real standout in and of themselves. They have been overshadowed by the delectable oil that they have provided since biblical days, but suffice it to say, they also pack a considerable health punch for modern day Americans because of their anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. Extra virgin olive oil is considered by many to be the healthiest and tastiest oil in the world. The benefits of extra virgin olive oil are unrivaled, and research reveals more benefits nearly every day. After all, the Greeks, Turks, Italians, French and Spanish all have a diet that is at least 40 percent fat, most of it from omega-rich sources, yet these populations are slim and boast the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. Many of the health-promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet have been credited to the addition of a healthy dose of olive oil at every meal.

    As a rich source of omega-9 fatty acids, olive oil is also known to have a number of positive effects throughout the body including lowering the risk of some cancers. In fact, the latest research suggests that adding a mere four tablespoons of olive oil a day to a Mediterranean diet slashes the risk of invasive breast cancer by a whopping 68 percent.

    Olive oil also prevents flare-ups of certain autoimmune diseases, speeding cell regeneration and wound healing, aiding the body in eliminating microbial infections, as well as reducing inflammation. One of its primary ingredients, a substance known as oleocanthanal, has even been called an alternative to Ibuprofen.

    Just keep in mind that not all olive oils are created equal and many have been cut with other less desirable oils like canola and soy. I try to look for oils that have been given the green light by research studies or have the California Olive Oil Council’s seal of approval. You can also test the purity of any olive oil by popping it into the fridge. If it doesn’t congeal, then chances are it has been cut by a less desirable polyunsaturated oil.

    The Amazing Avocado
    The fat in avocados and avocado oil is another source of adiponectin-nourishing monounsaturates. Among their other healthy perks, avocados possess the uncanny ability to fire up fat burning—to the tune of six pounds in two months. And, the monounsaturated fat content can hold you over for a good three hours!

    Surprisingly high in potassium, a typical avocado contains 12 to 17 grams of fiber. With an incredibly high smoke point of 520 degrees F—the highest smoke point of any of the Smart Fats—avocado oil is ideal for searing, frying, and sautéing. In addition, it contains high levels of beta-sitosterol, which is a type of plant sterol that can lower cholesterol and is helpful in protecting prostate health.

    Their rich carotenoid content makes them a food pharmacy for your skin, eyes and heart. As a potent antiinflammatory, this oil can also help prevent damage to arterial walls, which can lower the risk of heart disease due to plaque deposits. Less inflammation helps to keep blood pressure at optimal levels as well.

    Avocado oil is also a great source of vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin has been shown to rev up your immune system, improve skin and eye health, as well as give your digestion a much-needed boost to remove toxins from the body.

    Last but not least, this marvelous mono is filled with chlorophyll—a natural source of magnesium; one of the best substances to detoxify heavy metals like mercury and lead from the body. Chlorophyll molecules contain magnesium ions at their core, which have the ability to bind heavy metals and escort them out of the system.

    Mad About Macadamia
    Another source of hunger-inhibiting adiponectin are macadamia nuts and macadamia nut oil. They do double duty for your metabolism—as a source of omega-7 and as a hunger controller. This rich and buttery-smooth little gem is one of the most popular nuts around and my favorite snack for quick fuel.

    The oil that comes from these nuts is pretty incredible. The fatty acid composition of macadamia nut oil makes it perfect to use in many recipes, especially high-heat cooking. This oil is nearly 80 percent monounsaturated with very little polyunsaturated content and even trumps olive oil—which contains anywhere from 70–75 percent monounsaturates.

    Since macadamia nut oil has such an extremely high oleic acid content, it can be used to help balance your and omega-6 essential fatty acids are perfectly balanced which makes it an optimal cooking choice—it doesn’t become rancid like so many other Smart Fats used for high-heat cooking.

    It also has a lot of essential fatty acid protective antioxidants to keep your body in radiant health, including tocotrienols. As we all know, antioxidants neutralize free radicals, the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause a vast range of chronic diseases.

    Some of the other health benefits of macadamia nut oil include the lowering of triglyceride levels, increased energy, improved digestion, enhanced bone health, stimulation of circulation and the optimization of immunity.

    Smart Tips: Adiponectin
    Do keep these takeaway tips in mind when trying to shore up your adiponectin.

    1. Opt for the olives and olive oil. Olives come in many different varieties like the Spanish-style green olives, and Kalamatastyle olives. Greek-style black are my favorites and come devoid of the preservatives and additives in some of the others on the market.

    They are a delightful addition to any salad, sauce, entrée or side and I love them on a gluten-free pizza.

    Use extra virgin olive oil to dress up salads and for drizzling on cooked foods. It may not be the best oil for high heat cooking, but you just can’t beat it when it comes to salad dressing. Drizzle it on your salad and you’ll trigger the production of adiponectin to help keep you satisfied for up to four hours! One of my all-time favorites is a mixture of one part fresh lemon juice to two parts olive oil with lots of fresh garlic, parsley, and a dash of mustard powder and Celtic sea salt. Simply elegant!

    2. Add back the avocado and avocado oil. I adore avocados in smoothies, as a buttery rich spread on sandwiches or crackers, cut up in cubes for salads, and as a dip like guacamole. The oil is handy for use on the grill especially when you need to brush veggies, chicken, fish or meat. It is simply the best for making food nice and crispy when cooking at higher temperatures.

    3. Increase your dietary magnesium intake to maximize adiponectin. Eat more pumpkin seeds, almonds and green leafy veggies like escarole, romaine lettuce and kale. Consider taking a targeted magnesium supplement with the most highly absorbable forms of magnesium for assimilation and utilization. Always aim for a two-to-one ratio in favor of magnesium to calcium. I’m a big fan of Mag-Key and think you will be too as it contains the glycinate, taurinate, malate and orotate forms of magnesium for muscle, brain, and heart health.

    4. Last but not least, you might consider engaging in a new approach, which is known as intermittent fasting. This combination of fasting and eating has been demonstrated to increase adiponectin levels big time. Take a look at my One-Day Miracle Juice Fast in The Fast Track Detox Diet for one of the healthiest fasts out there.

    Boosting your levels of adiponectin may be the missing link to help you finally take control of your weight and get off the weight gain merry-go-round once and for all.

  • Hunger Hormone—Cholecystokinin (CCK)

    The hunger hormone CCK is balanced by a combination of omega-6s and 9s:

    Pine nuts and pine nut oil
    As the most concentrated energy source, Smart Fats release the hormone CCK signaling a short-term urgent intense message of satiety. Without that particular message, we will continue to feel hungry and dissatisfied after a meal. What happens when you reduce or eliminate the hunger-reducing Smart Fats from your diet is your brain does not receive a message of satiety, and while your stomach may be stuffed, you do not feel satisfied.

    Understanding the process of satiety enables us to see why people on low-fat diets chronically complain of feeling full, but not satisfied. They eat large quantities of food—food low in fat, but not always low in calories—and are left a short while later feeling hungry. Then they reach for a low-fat snack, typically one laden with sugar and refined carbs, which sends them for a ride on the glucose roller coaster. This is yet another vicious cycle that dieters became trapped in when they tried to adhere to the false gospel of the fat-free diet.

    The body has developed finely tuned message centers that communicate all sorts of information about our physical status. When we eat even a relatively small quantity of Smart Fats, the stomach releases the hormonal CCK message to the brain, signaling both fullness and satiety. The brain receives the message and, if we are listening, we register the message of satisfaction and stop eating. When you begin to add the Smart Fats back into your diet, you enable your body to send clear messages to the brain. You eat. You are full. You are satisfied. Depending on the amount of fat you have eaten with your meal, you usually will not feel hungry again for four to six hours. When you do get hungry, it’s time to eat again. How cool is that?

    Smart Tip: CCK
    Here’s my favorite way of satisfying CCK.

    Pine for pine nuts and pine nut oil. The clinical studies have shown that the pinolenic acid in pine nuts can increase satiety hormones like CCK by more than 60 percent. It can also decrease appetite by about a third In addition, it is extraordinarily helpful in healing the entire digestive tract including the stomach lining. Take one teaspoon 20 minutes before each meal to protect your gastrointestinal lining and enhance metabolism by controlling appetite.

    Hunger Hormone—Leptin

    The hunger hormone Leptin is balanced by omega-3 oils:

    Fatty fish and fish oils
    While CCK is the urgent messenger, leptin is a long-term chemical messenger for your appetite. If you never feel quite satisfied after a meal, then your leptin is too low and somewhere out in left field. High leptin levels are the ticket to speedy slimming and when this hormone is signaling correctly, it should actually decrease your appetite.

    As a key appetite hormone, it would stand to reason that levels of leptin should be lower when you’re thin and higher when you’re overweight. So you would think that overweight people would have less of an appetite, but this isn’t how it seems to work.

    People that are overweight and have high leptin levels somehow don’t get the signal to stop eating and stop storing fat. They develop a condition called leptin resistance, which is similar to insulin resistance where the body is no longer sensitive to the appetite-decreasing effects of leptin.

    Both leptin and insulin resistance are triggered by an excess of refined carbs, sugar—especially fructose (fruit sugar)—and not enough exercise or sleep and too much stress. Leptin resistance, however, is especially frustrating when it comes to long-lasting fat loss because it has a habit of actually increasing the level of visceral fat, the fat that is deep within the abdomen.

    Luckily, the Smart Fat fix is nearly identical to that of ghrelin.

    Hunger Hormone—Ghrelin

    Ghrelin, like the hunger hormone leptin, is also balanced by omega-3 rich oil:

    Fatty fish and fish oils
    Ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone made by the pancreas and stomach, plays a major role in body weight and is kept in check by foods that provide the omega-3 essential fatty acids. Levels are lower when you are thin and higher when you are fat. Typically, levels should increase before meals and then decrease after eating.

    But, if you are constantly hungry, it’s probably due to those high ghrelin levels—which can become elevated thanks to stress, skipped meals (especially breakfast), restrictive dieting and lack of sleep. Sound familiar?

    When ghrelin rises, it activates the hunger control center of your brain, which triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fatty foods. So when you should be resting and resetting this hormone, the ghrelin in your system is pining for foods that will ultimately make you gain weight.

    From a dietary standpoint, the Smart Fats from the omega-3 rich fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel) as well as EPA and DHA rich fish oil can stabilize both your leptin and ghrelin levels by helping to balance brain chemistry. Since more than 60 percent of the brain is made from fat (primarily the ones that cannot be synthesized by the body, but must be eaten in the form of foods), I would say that these omega-3s are pretty darn important to trigger specific brain receptors, which control leptin and ghrelin. This is one supplement worth taking!

    Smart Tips: Leptin and Ghrelin
    How can you repair your leptin barometer and satisfy the hunger gremlin called ghrelin?

    1. Go fish or pop a healthy dose of omega-rich fish oil every day. Fish has always been known as “brain food.” If you’re not crazy about the fatty fish that you should consume two to three times per week, then you are a candidate for the lemon or orange flavored fish oil liquid and softgels. This surprisingly tasty fish oil can be popped into your smoothie, drizzled on popcorn or used as a mild and delicate salad oil basic.

    2. Avoid foods high in fructose, which stimulate the appetite and scramble leptin signals. Obvious offenders are processed foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup, but you should also cross-reference a list of higher fructose fruits. Less obvious high fructose sources are whole foods like tomatoes, unsweetened applesauce, agave and balsamic vinegar.

    3. Don’t skip meals—but especially not breakfast. Eat a protein-packed breakfast within one hour of waking. This will help you to lose weight and ward off insulin resistance, as well as balance all four of your hunger hormones. Study after study has proven that individuals who skip breakfast are well over 100 percent more likely to be overweight or obese. Protein-rich breakfasts like smoothies, or bacon and eggs, or turkey sausage and veggies will go a long way in getting your day off to the right start.

    4. Strengthen your vagus nerve, which you will be hearing more and more about in the near future. The vagus nerve is the direct connection between your brain and every system in your body. It is a signaling pathway for leptin hormones. When you have leptin resistance, the signals aren’t being received correctly. One way to help reset your leptin receiver is to strengthen your vagus nerve. How can you do that? One fun way is gargling. You can just use plain water. Take a sip and gargle with it before swallowing, continue doing this with your entire glass of water. Gargling forces the muscles in the back of the throat to contract and this action activates and strengthens the vagus nerve.

    5. Practice good sleep hygiene. Remember the sleep tips I shared in the Stress article to reduce cortisol? Those same suggestions apply to reset your hunger hormones. And, while so many of us glorify our sleeplessness like it’s something to be proud of, I have even more information to convince you otherwise. So, if I repeat myself, you’ll understand why. Again, try to be in bed by 10 pm and aim for about seven to nine hours. While the very highest quality sleep comes before midnight, the National Institute of Health reports that the body does its primary physical repair between 10 pm and 2 am. Interestingly, this is the same time when growth hormone is secreted which helps to keep us lean and vital. The mind regenerates between the hours of 2 am and 6 am. If you have intermittent awakening which disrupts peaceful sleep, take these insights from Traditional Chinese Medicine into consideration: If you are waking up between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am, your gallbladder may be acting up. If it’s between the hours of 1 am to 3 am, this may mean your liver is congested. And, if you wake up between 3 am to 5 am, your lungs and/or large intestine may need some TLC.

    Unplug and disable all Wi-Fi equipment in your bedrooms like computers, iPads, cell phones, routers, and alarm clocks. The electromagnetic fields that all electrical and digital devices emit can slash melatonin—the antioxidant-like hormone, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle—and spike fat-storing cortisol.

    Still Hungry? There are all kinds of appetites, so in the next article we’ll discuss how Smart Fats—like those from the essential fatty acids—can benefit the sex hormones, including the hormone of desire, and help get your libido back on track.

  • Dear Readers,

    Welcome to the March 2019 issue of TotalHealth Magazine.

    Charles K. Bens, PhD, in “The Biochemistry Of Smoking: Helping the Brain To Live Without Nicotine” gives us an explanation on the effects of nicotine on the brain, showing why it is so difficult to quit smoking. Bens goes on with his experience with several individuals who were able to change their lifestyle through diet and exercise, and lead healthy lives. This is not to say one shouldn’t quit smoking but changing one’s lifestyle is a big influence on one’s health.

    In “Lutein & Zeaxanthin: Protectors for Your Children,” Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG), enlightens readers on blue light, especially from digital devices. It has the potential to damage retinal tissue and cause a variety of eye-related problems, including eye strain, eye fatigue, headache, visual impairment, psychological stress and poor sleep quality. This is particularly true in children since their eyes absorb more blue light than adults.

    How Smart Fats Reset Your Hunger Hormones,” Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, focus is on Adiponectin; a real hormone game changer that you may not be very familiar with. It is a big player in firing up belly fat burn and is known as the body’s “fat burning torch.” This special super hormone that flips your body’s fat burning switch is already circulating in your bloodstream because it is made in your fat cells. Adiponectin is balanced by monounsaturated omega-rich foods and oils as: olives and olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, and macadamias and macadamia nut oil.

    Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, offers “X-Rays Meaningless for Arthritis and Back Pain?” We’ve known for decades that spinal X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans add very little information about back pain. They most often DON’T tell doctors whether the pain is coming from the spine or from disc, arthritic or bone disease. (Though they MAY reveal if the problem can be fixed with a chiropractic adjustment.)

    Gloria Gilbère, CDP, DAHom, PhD, contributes “One Dish Baked Caprese Chicken.” Another of Gilbère’s fabulous recipes from her test kitchen in Ecuador. In addition to this recipe Gilbère offers two recipes to use for leftovers. Included is background on the health benefits of organic chicken.

    Shawn Messonnier’s, DVM, topic this month is “Pinellia Combination in Pets.” Pinellia combination is a Chinese herbal mix. This formula contains ginseng, ginger, jujube, Coptis and Scute, along with pinellia, and is for vomiting in pets. Because of the Chinese diagnosis and classification of diseases, the ingredients in each formula may vary. Individual Chinese pharmacists include herbs in their tented formulas based upon their experience. However, they can compound formulas to the needs of an individual pet.

    Best in health,

    TWIP—The Wellness Imperative People

    Click here to read the full March 2019 issue.

    Click here to read the full March 2019 issue.