The discovery of the role of PYY or peptide YY has been around for quite some time. It plays a big role in combating obesity. But just what is PYY and how does it affect a person? Are there concrete studies done to prove its impact in combating obesity? Can a person’s PYY levels be increase naturally? These are just some of the questions that this article aims to answer.
PYY: Biologically Speaking
PYY is a protein hormone. A selected number of neurons in a person’s brainstem produce PYY or peptide YY. PYY is released in the gastrointestinal zones especially in the colon and ileum. A trace amount of PYY can also be found in the stomach, esophagus, jejunum and duodenum. The concentration of PYY in the gut greatly increases after intake of food and decreases during fasting.
In response to food intake, PYY is secreted by the cells lining the colon and ileum. This secretion sends a signal to the brain that food is taken in response to hunger. The brain, in response, would thereby reduce a person’s appetite. It does this by slowing the emptying of the gastric juices thus digestion is more efficient and absorption of nutrients is maximized. PYY also deters gastric motility. It further increases the water level and the absorption of electrolyte in the colon.
PYY and Combating Obesity
Much concern has been given towards high obesity rate all over the U.S. Countless researches in determining obesity cases were done. The discovering of peptide YY and its role might just be the solution to obesity. Peptide YY has been known to dampen appetite. It has also been discovered that people with a case of obesity discharge less PYY compared to those non-obese. Attempts to use PYY as a direct weight-loss medication prior to 2007 have not been successful.
However, recent and more advance studies prove to be more progressive. One study used a brain-scan to monitor brain activity of participants. PYY is shown to produce much complicated patterns of neural activity in a person’s brain in response to hunger than in response to common stimulus like ‘thought’. PYY targets not only the areas of the brain that controls hunger pangs but also the reward and pleasure centers.
A PYY containing nasal spray is currently tested to see if it can curb hunger and further use to treat obesity. Treatment of PYY on animals suggests that PYY controls appetite centers in the brain such as the brainstem and the hypothalamus. Recent study shows that a similar case holds true for humans. On top of that, PYY was also discovered to act upon the cortico-limbic areas. These areas are determinant of the pleasure sensations when a person is eating food. The biggest impact was discovered to be in orbitofrontal cortex or OFC. This is a region of the brain that is in charge of overall pleasure sensation. The greater OFC is stimulated, the less the person eats.
PYY and the Drip tests
Eight men with a normal-weight took part in the test. They were tasked to fast for 14 hours. After the set time, they were given an intravenous solution of either a placebo or a PYY for a duration of 100 minutes. Their brains were being scanned all the while using the MRI machine.
After 30 minutes of the drip, the participants were then given an unlimited meal.
Each participant was given a drip twice every two weeks. A dose of with a PYY and another drip with the placebo. PYY infused drip significantly reduced the calorific consumption of 25%.
Dr Rachel Batterham of the UK, the scientist responsible for the research said that during the fast, the hypothalamus predicts the quantity of food a person must eat. The presence of PYY through the intravenous infusion increased the presence of PYY in the brain thereby signal in OFC predicted the eating behavior. These test results is very promising in shedding light to the obesity problem which is plaguing 23% of the UK population. Dr. Batterham added that being able to understand which brain areas control eating in varying environmental conditions is a great help in developing tailored-suit treatments for people of varying obesity levels.
Dr. Ian Campbell, the Weight Concern medical director, said that this new findings on the role of PYY has proven that obesity is more than an issue of lack of discipline in a person. It is the complex workings of hormones that greatly affect the way a person thinks and the way a person feels about the food that he eats.
Increasing PYY: The Natural Way
Since it has been established that the increase levels of PYY can signal the brain food satiation, the problem remains on how to increase PYY the natural way.
Now, people who need increase their peptide YY in order to lose those excess fats need not worry. There is something much more easier than sweating their way into going slim. Researchers have analyzed more than 100 studies and found out that seaweeds contain a better protein source than milk or ACE inhibitor drug.
Seaweeds encompass various kinds of macroalgae. It could be a green algae, red algae, or even a brown algae. These algae are commonplace in a Japanese or a Hawaiian cuisine and are much appreciated for their exotic flavor and high nutritional content. Macroalgae are even blessing to the Inuit people because their harsh environment offer limited green vegetable options, thus making seaweeds part of their staple food.
According to Maria Hayes, Eimear Gallagher, and Ciaran Fitzgerald, the team who were responsible for the reviewing of the data, Western can greatly benefit a non-meat and non-dairy source of protein. Though the macroalgae are overlooked as a food choice, but they are actually very rich in protein especially with bioactive peptides.
These bioactive peptides stay inactive within the seaweeds. However, the enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract activate the peptide thereby modulating of satiety, appetite, and the metabolism of carbohydrate. These bioactive peptides are good for the heart too. They can substitute such drugs as ACE inhibitor. Compared to the synthetic drug, macroalgae can lower the blood person of a person without fear of any side-effects. Their effect to the human body is therapeutic.