Ghrelin is a hormone found in the gut that originates in the stomach, and is an appetite stimulant. So the answer is yes, we can eat more or less depending on the ghrelin hormone levels. The ghrelin levels in blood are high before you eat and come down after you eat a meal.

Researchers at the University of Porto in Portugal and Mariana Monteiro, MD, Ph.D., the lead investigator of the study, developed a vaccine that fights obesity by suppressing that hormone. “An anti-ghrelin vaccine may become an alternate treatment for obesity, to be used in combination with diet and exercise,” said Dr. Monteiro.

Dr. Monteiro and her group developed a therapeutic vaccine using a noninfectious virus carrying ghrelin, which creates an immune response and develops antibodies against ghrelin, suppressing this hormone. The vaccine used in the study appears to be safe so far. The study was done on mice and was very successful— obese mice ate 50 percent less food after receiving the vaccine than mice who did not receive the vaccine. Hopefully the vaccine will be available for humans very soon.

Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health. Remember that exercise and eating and living healthy are the keys to preventing obesity!

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The Endocrine Society (2011, June 6). Anti-obesity vaccine reduces food consumption in animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 16, 2012