Anybody ever heard of ghrelin?

Anybody ever hear of this stuff? It is a hormone in the stomach that has serious influence over appetite. After reading about it, it seems like something that could go to support the “setpoint” theory of a persons weight. Here is the article: Have you ever heard of this Grellin?

  Scientists pin doomed diets on hormone in stomach

  Susan Okie, Washington Post

  Thursday, May 23, 2002

  Many dieters learn, to their distress, that keeping off unwanted

pounds is a battle with a body that seems determined to get back to its
prediet weight. Now, new research suggests that the stomach, rather than the
brain, may be the organ prompting people to regain the weight they have

  The surprising new research found that levels of an appetite-boosting

hormone known as ghrelin, secreted primarily by the stomach, rise
significantly in dieters after they lose weight and drop dramatically in
people who have undergone a stomach-reducing procedure known as gastric
bypass surgery.

  The research, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine,

suggests that a drug that can block ghrelin’s action could be a potent new
weapon in helping people lose weight and keep it off. And ghrelin itself
might prove useful as a treatment for people who have lost excessive amounts
of weight because of cancer, AIDS, anorexia nervosa or other conditions.

  Researchers have known for years that part of the brain's hypothalamus

controls food intake, but until now the chemical substances that turned it
on have been messengers found in the brain. Ghrelin is the first hormone
from outside the brain that activates it.

  Ghrelin (pronounced GRELL-in) secretion follows a daily pattern,

peaking just before each meal and falling afterward. In addition to acting
on the brain to boost appetite, ghrelin acts on other tissues to slow
metabolism and reduce fat-burning.

  Although the hormone's role in the body is not yet fully understood,

people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery do not appear to suffer ill
effects from having very low ghrelin levels.

  The new study found that after a group of 13 obese people dieted and

lost about 17 percent of their body weight, their ghrelin levels throughout
the day were significantly higher than before the weight loss, perhaps
reflecting their bodies’ attempt to regain the lost pounds. The more weight
an individual had lost, the bigger the postdiet increase in ghrelin levels.

  But after gastric bypass surgery, the stomach cells that produce

ghrelin are no longer exposed to food, and ghrelin production is almost
completely switched off.

  The body has multiple backup systems for regulating body weight,

probably including other hormones not yet discovered, said Dr. Stephen
Schneider, director of diabetes services at the University of Medicine &
Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick,

  The Associated Press contributed to this report.