For many people who are overweight or obese, it appears that constant hunger pangs, food cravings, and frequent snacking on unhealthy foods most especially carbohydrate-rich and sugary ones, are the major impediments to their losing weight. This is perhaps the biggest problem a lot of people are encountering in their weight loss efforts.
However, the good news is that this tendency can now be dramatically eradicated through the use of appetite suppressants which help to keep hunger pangs and cravings at bay.
An appetite suppressant simply does what the name says, suppress or quenches your appetite thereby making you feel full and on top of that help to significantly increase your overall energy level and positive mood.
Understanding how appetite-suppressing drugs work will definitely be worthwhile as this will allow us to fully grasp their functioning mechanism and also know how to effectively incorporate them into our weight loss programs.
The Hypothalamus – The Appetite Control Center
Generally, the hypothalamus is influenced by a complex interplay of hormones, the digestive tract, and the central nervous system. The hypothalamus is known to regulate several of the body’s vital functions including eating and drinking, temperature regulation, sleep, emotional behavior, and even sexual activity.
The hypothalamus is at the center of appetite control. This is due to the fact that it plays a very important role when it comes to regulating behavior, and eating itself is a behavior that is developed.
Appetite-suppressing weight loss supplements work through a number of mechanisms to achieve their effect. The majority of the available appetite-suppressing drugs work by altering one or more neurotransmitters in the brain, for example through increasing the levels of catecholamine or serotonin.
The hormones of the medulla are generally known as catecholamine and they include epinephrine (generally known adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopamine. These hormones influence an individual’s mood and affect the appetite in one way or the other when secreted into the bloodstream with serotonin well-known for its creation of a feeling of satisfaction.
Epinephrine is present in the bloodstream in minute quantities but secreted in greater quantities during periods of excitement or when under emotional stress. This increased secretion of epinephrine results in a marked effect on body structures in anticipation of physical exertion and which generally causes stimulation of the heart, constriction of small blood vessels, increases in blood pressure, relaxation and contraction of certain involuntary muscles, and also the liberation of sugar (glucose) stored in the liver.
Some other appetite-suppressing drugs work by controlling the desire to eat through the alteration of the signaling mechanism in the hypothalamus that controls appetite. An appetite suppressant when taken might, for example, increase the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin, this increase is subsequently relayed to the hypothalamus which now creates the feeling of satiety or fullness, even when less food had been ingested.
Most prescription-based appetite suppressing supplements belong to a group of drugs known as phenethylamines, which are similar to amphetamines that have a stimulant-like effect on the central nervous system. However, exactly how amphetamines work to suppress appetite is not yet fully known although it is generally considered that amphetamines and amphetamine-like drugs trigger the release of norepinephrine and dopamine which are known to boost mental and physical functions in similar ways to epinephrine.
However, there is a general likelihood of users abusing appetite suppressants drugs containing amphetamines and despite the fact that the immediate side effects of these drugs may be harmless; their long-term effects are yet to be seriously studied.
Additionally, there are many types of over-the-counter (non-prescription-based) appetite-suppressing supplements. The majority of these supplements are either 5-HTP- or hoodia-based.
5-HTP, also referred to as 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is considered to be natural because it is an extract derived from the seed of an African shrub known as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin and is thus considered to increase the amount of serotonin in the bloodstream which effectively suppresses the appetite. However, very little research has been carried out concerning its overall potency in suppressing appetite.
On the other hand, hoodia is well documented for its effectiveness in suppressing appetite. It is an organic ingredient derived from the Hoodia Gordonii cactus-like plant found in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa. Due to its revered potency, care needs to be taken when looking for a hoodia-based appetite suppressant supplement.
Despite the proven effectiveness of many appetite-suppressing drugs in aiding weight loss, they are however not a “miracle cure” for obesity. An appetite suppressant is meant to be used as a supplement to an active lifestyle of regular exercise and eating of a healthy and balanced diet.