Life Extension Magazine February 2014
Targeting Appetite Hormones To Prevent Food Cravings
By Michael Downey
Obesity is a rising global epidemic with over 1 billion adults already overweight.1
Inducing weight loss is one of modern medicine’s greatest challenges.
When appetite hormones are out of balance, achieving meaningful fat reduction can be extremely difficult.
Appetite hormone imbalance can potentially lead to weight gain caused by increased hunger leading to snacking, a lack of feeling full, and unhealthy food choices.1 Your body wants to keep eating because your hormones continue to send hunger signals.
Results from groundbreaking human studies demonstrate that a proprietary extract of the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean reduces appetite, increases feelings of fullness, and likely modulates appetite hormones, such as ghrelin.2,3
The reason ghrelin control is essential is that this hormone increases hunger urges and results in weight gain.4 Therefore, controlling ghrelin can block hunger, increase feelings of fullness, and facilitate weight loss.
An anti-obesity vaccine that attacks ghrelin is now being tested, but you don’t have to wait for it to be approved as a drug.5 This ghrelin-suppressing effect is available now in an Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract nutritional supplement.
In addition to regulating hunger hormones, this Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract inhibits the alpha-amylase enzyme that converts dietary carbohydrates into sugars.3 This slows down and limits the absorption of glucose from the intestine.2,3
By safely rebalancing hunger hormones like ghrelin, this novel Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract reduces nagging feelings of hunger, the desire to overeat, and limits glucose absorption to promote healthy weight reduction.
How Hunger Hormones Contribute To Obesity
Normally, as our stomach and intestines fill up with a meal, they secrete “satiety hormones” that circulate to the brain to shut off the desire to continue to eat.4,6
Satiety hormones include cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY).7 These satiety hormones subside as the gut empties and the body’s need for additional calories rises.
Conversely, the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin is secreted in response to an empty stomach, which stimulates feeding behavior.8 Ghrelin acts on the same brain receptors that incite pleasurable rewards.9 When ghrelin is over-activated, it induces food cravings.10,11
A key factor in many cases of obesity is loss of sensitivity to appetite-regulating hormones, which can lead to increasing food intake despite what should be normal “stop” signals.4,12 In many obese individuals trying to lose weight, ghrelin levels increase, which triggers more eating, less satiety, and provides the brain a feeling of reward for bad behavior.9,13,14
An approach to healthy weight loss is to lower ghrelin to reduce appetite, while restoring sensitivity to satiety-inducing hormones CCK, GLP1, and PYY. That way, there would be reduced hunger — and reduced psychological reward for consuming excess calories.
Restoring Appetite Hormone Balance
To date there are few available methods that can safely and effectively suppress ghrelin. Studies have shown that the surgical procedure known as bariatric surgery induces massive weight loss, making it one of the most effective forms of weight reduction.15 Some types of bariatric surgery, in particular a type of gastric bypass surgery known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, also reduce ghrelin levels, likely contributing to the reduced hunger in these bariatric surgery patients following the procedure.16
For many years, physicians believed that bariatric surgery facilitated weight loss only because it reduces the volume of the stomach.15 The idea being that the stomach takes in less food and therefore patients lose weight. But scientists have recently found that, in addition to limiting the volume of food intake, certain types of the most successful forms of bariatric surgery like Roux-en-Y gastric bypass can reduce much of the ghrelin-producing tissue in the stomach and increase the appetite-suppressing hormones CCK, GLP1, and PYY.17-22 Patients also typically experience healthful food preferences due to this hormonal re-balancing.19
Bariatric surgery like the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is costly, uncomfortable, and carries with it substantial risks.15 So scientists recognized a need for a non-surgical alternative.
Fortunately, researchers have discovered a natural method to mimic many of the favorable hormonal effects of certain types of bariatric surgery without the need for undergoing this procedure.
A novel Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract mimics the typical hormonal effect of some types of bariatric surgery by rebalancing the appetite hormones. This unique bean extract suppresses ghrelin while promoting CCK , GLP1, GLP2, and PYY.2,23-25 This in turn reduces food intake, body weight, accumulation of blood lipids, glucose, and the impulse that drives snacking.26 Ghrelin suppression may also reduce the inappropriate addiction-like reward response when excess calories are consumed.9
As you will read next, supplementation with this proprietary Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract has produced impressive weight loss effects.27,28 It reduces fat accumulation without loss of muscle mass, in a fashion similar to that produced by some types of bariatric surgery, which is the most effective means of facilitating meaningful weight loss.27
Remarkable Findings In Human Studies
In 2013, a brand new randomized-crossover study examined the effects of eating a meal of just the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto beans—not the extract—and compared the results to a meal of white wheat bread containing the same amount of available starch.25
Compared to the control meal, the bean meal resulted in decreased levels of the appetite-promoting hormone ghrelin and reduced hunger. Additionally, the people eating Italian Lamon variety Borlotto beans had 15% lower glucose and 16% lower insulin levels.25
Scientists then reasoned that a concentrated and standardized Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract should produce a much more potent effect.
So, in a study published the same year as the bean experiment, researchers enlisted 12 healthy, non-overweight human volunteers for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Each subject took either a placebo or 100 milligrams of Italian Lamon variety bean extract after a 12-hour overnight fast. The study subjects then ate a normal meal made up of various food items.2
As expected, the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract produced a significant impact on appetite signaling.2
Within three hours, levels of the appetite-promoting hormone ghrelin and the desire to eat were both significantly lower in the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract group compared to the placebo arm.2 Correspondingly, the sensation of satiety (fullness) after three hours was higher in the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract group.2
In the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract supplemented group, the increase in blood sugar was 41% lower than the placebo group thirty minutes after the meal. The increase in insulin between 45 and 120 minutes after the meal was 26% lower.2 Reducing after-meal levels of glucose and insulin is important not only for weight management, but also for slashing the risk of a number of degenerative and potentially fatal diseases.29-34
Next, researchers investigated the weight-loss effects of Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract on overweight individuals. In a not-yet published study, 60 participants with a body-mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30 took either placebo or a total of 200 milligrams of extract daily, in two divided doses.3 All participants were instructed not to make any dietary changes or start any new exercise routines. Subjects were assessed for changes in weight, waist size, and an established measurement of appetite and satiety.
The scientists found that the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract supplemented participants lost far more weight compared to the placebo group! 3
At the end of 12 weeks, the group receiving the Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract showed the following improvements:3
- Reduction in total body weight of almost 9 pounds versus only .25 pounds in the placebo group.
- Reduction of about 2.5 inches in waist circumference versus only .6 inches in the placebo group.
- Reduction in appetite levels from baseline values. The placebo group showed no improvement.
- Increase in satiety from baseline. The placebo group showed no improvement.
The study authors concluded that the Italian Lamon variety bean extract supplement “ was demonstrated to be effective in treatment of overweight people without the need to resort to particular diet restrictions or increased physical exercise. Clearly, it is suggested that a moderate modification in the diet and in physical exercise pattern can produce even more noticeable effects .”3
All of the indicated benefits of Italian Lamon variety Borlotto bean extract in these human trials (reduced appetite, cravings, body weight levels, blood sugar, and insulin) are linked with decreased risks of a variety of potentially fatal diseases.29-34 No significant adverse events or side effects were reported in any study.3