Dr. Ayman M. Arafat of Charité-University Medicine in Berlin, Germany and colleagues reported that the natural appetite control function of glucagon is lost due to obesity in the Aug. 20, 2013, issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Glucagon is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Recent evidence indicates that glucagon plays a role in producing a feeling of fullness in people while eating. Glucagon performs this function by moderating the activity of the appetite inducing hormone ghrelin.
Obesity prevents glucagon from moderating the activity of ghrelin.
The small study involved 13 lean people, 11 obese people, and 13 people with type 1 diabetes. The participants received glucagon or a placebo injection. The participants reported their feelings of fullness and their blood levels of ghrelin were measured.
Obese people reported no differences in feelings of fullness after the glucagon injections. Lean people and people with type 1 diabetes felt greater levels of fullness that lasted as long as 24 hours after they were injected with glucagon.
Glucagon has been suggested as a control for eating in obese people but the new study indicates that such control does not exist because obesity produces a malfunction in the normal effects of glucagon. Obesity of itself is the cause of the malfunction not genetics or inheritance.