Weight, Biology and Neuroscience

Weight, Biology, and Neuroscience

Scanning of a human brain by X-rays

Weight and neuroscience can be especially helpful if this knowledge assists people to recognize sensations of hunger and satiation in their bodies. In addition, certain foods affect the neurotransmitters and affect anxiety and depression. Obesity or weight loss is the most difficult of eating issues to treat, especially when there are bio-psycho-social elements that inhibit the body from metabolizing food efficiently.

Evaluations

Detecting weight and neuroscience issues involve a number of physiological and psychiatric evaluations. These assessments can assist in understanding the efficiency of metabolism and issues with weight loss

Evaluation of Personal and Family History

An assessment of personal history with respect to weight as well as family history of weight issues. An idea of the types and amount of diets an individual has tried and results. In addition, the pattern of times that the patient has experienced weight gain. History of accidents, illnesses, and surgeries as well as medications the patient is taking.

General Physical Exam

Each candidate for a weight loss program would have a general physical exam to determine the overall health of the individual. If an individual is obese, particular attention given to diseases that are related to obesity, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes

Endocrine/Metabolic Evaluation

The endocrine system includes all of the glands in the body and the hormones they produce.They are central to understanding weight and neuroscience. As seen previously, many hormones affect eating behavior and weight.

The evaluation includes the individual’s level of the primary hormones that contribute to weight gain. Specifically, hormones controlled by the hypothalamus that sends signals to the brain to experience hunger and fullness, glucose, insulin, stress hormones and thyroid disease.

Ghrelin

The ghrelin communicates the sensation of hunger. If there are high blood levels of ghrelin, after an individual has eaten, the brain cells are not getting the message to stop the eating. In fact, the person continues to crave food well beyond the need to eat

Leptin

Leptin produced by the fat cells of the body travels to the hypothalamus, which signals the brain that hunger has diminished. Fat cells produce leptin, the amount of leptin circulated into the bloodstream is linked quantity of body fat, the most fat a person has, the more leptin they will have to circulate in their blood. An overproduction of leptin can contribute to leptin resistance.

The hypothalamus does not respond to the increased leptin signals in the brain to reduce appetite. The brain becomes tolerant to the communication of leptin. The brain is no longer responds to the leptin. Therefore, there is no signal to decrease eating, Therefore, the individual continues to eat, and the body fat cells continue to produce more and more leptin creating more resistance in the brain to stop eating. Often people who struggle with Obesity have high leptin levels.

Glucose/Insulin

Glucose is a supply of energy for cells in the body. High blood glucose may be the cause of weight gain as individuals feel an increase in hunger. The increase in hunger occurs because the high glucose level impedes the food nourishing the cells adequately. Consequently, people diagnosed with diabetes are prescribed insulin. The insulin allows cells to nourish efficiently. The weight gain can result from continuing to eat the same amount of food, prior to taking insulin, which results in weight gain.

Some individuals experience insulin resistance, caused by an excess of glucose over a long period. The insulin receptors in cells exhibit a lack of reaction to insulin. This insulin resistance allows glucose levels to increase that results in an increase in the production of insulin. The high insulin and glucose levels decrease energy, and the surplus glucose is stored in the body as glycogen. Glycogen changed to convert to fat deposited in the adipose tissue increases the size of fat cells.

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid hormone-regulated by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in the brain functions to regulate metabolism. Low blood levels of thyroid hormone slow down the metabolism in the body hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is related to weight gain struggles with weight loss.

Psychiatric Evaluation

A psychiatric evaluation is also necessary for understanding neuroscience and weight. People who are experiencing anxiety or depression may use food to help them to feel better. People who are prone to use food for comfort when they stressed, anxious or feel depressed find themselves binging on sweets, baked goods, desserts, to help reduce their emotional discomfort.

Carbohydrates increase brain concentrations of amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that assists the body in making serotonin. Therefore, eating carbohydrates can often lead to feelings of calmness, or even a feeling of being “numbed out “ which people who binge speak much about as the desired effect they feel by a binge. Though the eating the tryptophan is increased and consequently the levels of serotonin in the brain rise. Individuals experience a rapid decrease of an unpleasant mood.

Researchers hypothesize that the sugar and fat combination can contribute to increased production of endorphins. When one is feeling down or depressed cravings for foods, such as chocolate, which increase the levels of endorphins, arise. Enhanced endorphin-release sensitivity to pain and contribute to an internal warm cozy feeling. However, any food with a high sugar and fat content such as doughnuts, baked goods, ice cream, and others can increase endorphin and serotonin levels. One can quickly realize how easy it is to binge on these foods to create at least shortly a sense of well-being (Chambre, 2007-2014).

Treatment

A review of the above evaluations needs to be completed prior to developing a weight loss plan so an individual can receive treatment in any of the above areas that may be hindering weight loss. Once these neurobiological and psychiatric issues are addressed, the development of weight loss program can be made. Important purposes of these treatments are so the body’s metabolism is functioning properly, and individuals can begin to recognize the sensations of being hungry and full.

Weight Loss Plan

Logically, if all of the above issues are addressed most weight loss plans work. However, in order for people to stay with a food plan, it is important for an individual to understand the type of plan that works for them.

Developing a food plan is best done with the individual; to help them think about if they do well on an externally planned food plan, or get bored and eat to rebel? If they like a food plan, do they need one with many varieties. Alternatively, does too much variety evoke a feeling of being overwhelmed? What kinds of foods are necessary for them to have to not feel deprived?

Can the person sense when they are hungry? Can they acknowledge a feeling of fullness? Does the individual know if they are an emotional eater? Do they know what emotions they feel when they are overeating? Many people eat unconsciously. They do not know what it feels like to be hungry or full. Some people eat emotionally and are not aware of what they feel. Others may know what they feel intellectual but cannot tolerate experiencing the feeling. These people often eat to numb out.

It may be a process to get to know what will be a good weight loss plan for each.An individual may need psychoeducation about satiation. In addition, the issues of not ignoring hunger as it may backfire and more hormones secreted that inhibit weight loss.

As with a food plan, it is important that an individual find some exercise that works for them. It works best that people find activities they like and change them when they need. People do get tired of weight loss and exercise plans. Deprivation and boredom can occur, and people start to sabotage themselves. (Chambre K., 2007-2014)

It would be helpful for an individual be in some psychotherapy or support group and have their medical and psychiatric health evaluated as needed.


 

 

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