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Brain Supported Weight Loss

By Jodi Cohen

Woman measuring her waist with a yellow measuring tape against a white background, focusing on fitness and body measurement.

Your weight is largely controlled by hormones which are monitored and controlled by your hypothalamus.

Hormones like insulin, leptin and ghrelin, help your hypothalamus regulate your food intake and feelings of satiety.  Your hypothalamus is constantly monitoring hormonal signals on the level of energy available in your bloodstream and responds with appropriate hormonal messages for the body to either increase or decrease appetite or fat storage.  For example, appetite regulating hormones, like leptin signal your hypothalamus to suppress your appetite while ghrelin signals to increase it.

Insulin is the main fat storage hormone in your body. It communicates satiety, signaling your hypothalamus to decrease subsequent food intake. If your hypothalamus becomes desensitized to the signals of insulin (known as Insulin resistance), the satiety signal is not received and you continue to eat and gain weight.  Research has confirmed that insulin delivered to the hypothalamus causes a reduction in appetite.

When insulin levels rise, it should curtail further food intake and thus prevent overeating. Unfortunately, if those messages are compromised by desensitization of the hypothalamus to insulin or other hormones, our hunger levels are not suppressed.


Supporting the Hypothalamus to Support Weight Loss

Your hypothalamus controls your metabolism and supporting its health and optimal function contributes to healthy body weight.  Unfortunately, like other systems in your body, your hypothalamus can get overwhelmed and its ability to regulate your metabolism can be compromised.

A 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also found that inflammation can also damage the nerves that conduct signals through the hypothalamus, affecting the function of leptin and ghrelin, and thus the body’s ability to regulate weight and metabolism. This damage can compromise or confuse messages about appetite, hunger, and fullness. You might think of it like a faulty gas gauge that points to empty, when your tank is full.

It is possible to reverse and heal the hypothalamus by returning it to balance by applying 1 drop of Hypothalamus™ to the forehead right above the third eye (right above the nose between eyebrows and hairline) up to 6 times daily.

Supporting Hormones to Support Weight Loss

Hormones from your organs monitor energy intake and storage, like your gut(which receives and digests the food), pancreas (which makes hormones that are involved in energy storage, such as insulin) and gall bladder (which emulsifies fat), also communicate with your hypothalamus to support healthy body weight.

Hormones that make us feel full increase following a meal to reach a peak about 30 to 60 minutes after a meal.  Once full, your stomach reduces the desire to eat both by lowering production of the hormone ghrelin which stimulates hunger and by sending a message to the hypothalamus. For example, ghrelin levels reach a low around 30 to 60 minutes after eating.  All the hormones then gradually return to their fasting levels three to four hours after a meal.

Hormones that stimulate hunger:

Ghrelin is known as a “hunger hormone” made in the stomach. When your stomach is empty, it releases ghrelin, which stimulates hunger by sending a message to the hypothalamus to increase the activity of the hunger-causing nerve cells and reducing the activity of hunger-inhibiting cells. As the stomach empties, the release of ghrelin increases. As soon as the stomach is filled, it decreases.

Insulin-like peptide 5 (ILP-5)  produced in the colon was found to stimulate hunger  and promote appetite.

Hormones that stimulate fullness:

Leptin is considered a satiety hormone that reduces your appetite and makes you feel full.  Leptin is produced by your fat cells and signals your hypothalamus that there’s enough fat in storage and no more is needed, which helps prevent overeating. (Research HERE)

When leptin signaling is impaired, the message to stop eating doesn’t get through to the brain, so it doesn’t realize you have enough energy stored.  It can feel like you are starving, so you’re driven to eat. This is one of reasons it is so hard to maintain weight loss in the long-term. Weight loss reduces leptin levels as the higher levels of leptin are correlated with higher levels of fat in your body.  In fact, one study found that leptin levels in obese people were 4 times higher than in people of normal weight.

When leptin levels drop with weight loss, your brain thinks you are starving, and pushes you to eat more. (Research HERE, HERE, and HERE).

Cholecystokinin (CCK)  is secreted by cells in the gut in response to food.  CCK helps you break down and digest fat by stimulating the release of bile from your gall bladder into your intestines.   When properly digested, fat helps balance blood sugar and gives you a feeling of fullness.  In fact, researchers have found CCK can stop a mouse from eating as soon as it’s injected into the brain.  What’s more, higher amounts of CCK have been shown to reduce food intake in both lean and obese people.

Insulin is produced by the beta cells of your pancreas.  Insulin allows your cells to take in blood sugar for energy or storage and is the main fat storage hormone in the body. As such, it inhibits hunger, telling the brain “there is enough energy in the body, take a rest”.

Amylin is also made in your pancreas and has been shown to inhibit food intake.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone produced in your gut when nutrients enter the intestines.  It helps keep blood sugar levels stable, makes you feel full and can decrease appetite and increase weight loss. Researchers believe the decrease in appetite that occurs immediately after weight loss surgery is partly due to increased production of GLP-1.

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a hormone produced by cells in the brain and nervous system. It stimulates hunger particularly for carbohydrates, and is highest during periods times of stress, fasting or food deprivation. Levels of neuropeptide Y are elevated during times of stress, which can lead to overeating and abdominal fat gain.

Peptide YY (PYY) is released by cells in the intestines and colon and controls appetite. Peptide YY is believed to play a major role in reducing food intake and decreasing your risk of obesity.

Essential Oils to Support Hormones that Stimulate Fullness

Support for Insulin and Amylin

Insulin is secreted by your pancreas to help regulate rising levels of glucose in your bloodstream.  Glucose levels are supposed to remain stable in the blood at all times to ensure that the body has a steady supply of energy.  During meals, your digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates from food into glucose, which goes straight into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar concentrations to rise. Your pancreas then releases insulin to transport the glucose into your cells so that blood sugar levels return to normal.  When insulin levels are low or cells are not responding to insulin, your pancreas has to work harder to produce more insulin which can contribute to overload and fatigue.  Pancreas™ blend of Rose Geranium, Anise Seed, Geranium, Cucumber, and Rose helps to tonify and Balances your pancreas to support optimal function and optimal insulin levels.

Support for Leptin  and Cholecystokinin (CCK)

Gall Bladder™:  When we eat a meal with fat, the bile should flow freely into the small intestine to break down the fat, so we can absorb it.  Unfortunately, stress, hormones, and excess fat consumption can make the bile thick, viscous and stagnant which impedes its ability to flow.  To ensure optimal fat digestion and support the release of leptin and CCK, apply Gall Bladder™ on the right side of the body under the bra under-wire or along and slightly under the right rib cage, can help ease bile flow for optimal fat assimilation and absorption.  Read More about Supporting Fat Digestion HERE.

Liver™:  Your liver produces bile, a yellowish-green fluid that aids in the emulsification of fats and the  digestion and absorption of fat-soluble substances, like vitamins A, D, E, and K.  The liver also stores fat-soluble toxins, including old hormones (like excess estrogen), in the bile for transport out of the body through the digestive elimination process.  This means the liver needs to be functioning optimally to both produce bile and filter and store old hormones.  You can support optimal liver function by applying Vibrant Blue Oils Liver™ over the liver (right side of the body, under the ribs) 2 – 3 times daily.

Support for Peptide YY (PYY) and Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)

The glucagon-like peptides and Peptide YY are synthesised in and released from the epithelial cells in your intestines to promote efficient nutrient assimilation.  Supporting the health of your intestinal mucosa supports epithelial cells and enhances  function.

Your mucosal lining is designed to protect healthy your gut flora  — the “good bugs” like probiotic bacteria and fungal species that help keep the “bad” pathogenic bugs in balance and prevent them from breaching the protective mucous layers to reach the underlying epithelial cells.  Excessive inflammation and leaky gut can damage and alter your mucosal lining, impacting its ability to produce  healthy levels of hormones that support weight loss. Intestinal Mucosa™ is designed to gently permeate topically through the skin to regenerate and heal the mucosal lining of the small intestine to support optimal hormonal secretion and weight loss. To use, apply 2- 3 drops of Intestinal Mucosa™  in a clockwise circle around the belly button 2 -3 times daily to help restore the integrity of the mucosal lining to restore optimal balance of healthy intestinal flora.

Support for Neuropeptide Y (NPY)

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is abundantly expressed in areas of the brain that are easily accessible by your olfactory channel, including your amygdala, hypothalamus, thalamus, and brain stem.

Research by neurologist Dr. Hirsch found that inhaling essential oils, like Peppermint, can directly affect your brain’s satiety center, help you feel full and support weight loss.

Hirsch conducted a 6 month study with 3,193 overweight who were instructed to inhale Peppermint three times into each nostril when they felt hungry. Participants didn’t diet and lost an average of almost five pounds each month. Some participants lost up to 18 pounds per month by smelling peppermint essential oil to calm cravings.

Dr. Hirsch explains that “More than 90 percent of taste is smell. When you smell food, odor molecules enter the nostrils and reach the olfactory, or smell, center at the top of the nose. The molecules affect the brain’s satiety center, located in the hypothalamus, and they send a signal that you’ve had enough to eat. The molecules trigger the release of hormones that create the sense of fullness even before you get the “stop eating” signal from your stomach.”  According to Dr. Hirsch, you can fool your brain into thinking you’ve eaten more than you have, so you feel satisfied while eating less.

Other studies back up the power of scents to aid weight loss. Placebo-controlled research at the Human Neuro-Sensory Laboratory in Washington D.C. found that people who inhaled scents before meals lost an average of 19 pounds in six months while those in the placebo group lost an average of 4 pounds. In a study at Wheeling Jesuit University, participants who sniffed peppermint every two hours for five days ate significantly fewer calories. Peppermint, or a blend of other appetite suppressing oils can be inhaled to help calm appetite and cravings between meals.

Blood Sugar Balance™ blend is composed of oils known for their hunger management effects to help you overcome those cravings and curves appetite between meals.  Peppermint oils helps to curb appetite and suppress cravings.  Ginger oil is a stimulant to increase energy levels throughout the day.  Cinnamon Bark oil helps the body to metabolize sugars. Grapefruit oil and lemon oil help maintain homeostasis in your body and clears the mouth of cravings.  Celery Seed is a cleansing oil, helping purify the body of toxins.

Other Hormones that Contribute to Weight Gain

Cortisol: Chronically elevated levels of your “stress hormone” cortisol can lead to overeating and weight gain. Adrenal®: Your adrenal glands secrete the stress hormones cortisol. Applying Adrenal® blend over the adrenal glands (back of the body, one fist up from the 12th rib), can help to increase the body’s ability to adapt to stress and balance cortisol production.

Estrogen: Estrogen imbalances can lead to weight gain as your estrogen receptors in your hypothalamus help control food intake, energy expenditure, and body-fat distribution.  Obese women tend to have higher estrogen levels than normal weight women, and some researchers believe this is due to environmental influences.

Estrogen Balance™ can help support optimal estrogen levels. Estrogen Balance™  works best when applied over the liver (on the right side of the body under the breast) in combination with castor oil before bed.


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.