There are many drugs and supplements for obesity that have come and gone, but only a few have stood the test of time. Appetite suppressants are one category of drugs that have been around since the 1950s. They have gone by many different brand names as a drug on its own or as part of a combination used to treat obesity. Though many of these combinations have come and gone, some have stood out as a safe and useful drugs for weight loss. The answer to the question, How do appetite suppressants work? is actually a very simple one.
One of the biggest problems a dieter faces when trying to lose weight is overeating. There are many reasons why people do this. Some are emotional eaters. This means they eat to soothe feelings that they do not know how to handle otherwise. There are others that overeat because they have insulin problems that cause huge surges and drops in blood sugar. When these drops occur, the body tells itself that more glucose is needed so more food needs to be ingested. The answer to how do appetite suppressants work lies in the quest to figure out how to stop such people from eating too much food and gaining more weight.
An appetite suppressant goes straight to the source of the problem within the brain that regulates hunger and what the body does when it thinks that it needs more food. This drug goes to the hypothalamus part of the brain to tell it to stop sending out hunger signals. Essentially, it releases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that will tell the brain, food is not needed by triggering what is known as the “flight or fight” response. Many times, those who are obese are getting hunger signals for reasons other than a real need for food. This allows a dieter to have more control over what they eat and it may also encourage them to move forward with other aspects of weight loss like exercise and better food choices over all. For many patients, this is a great solution.
Appetite suppressants also trigger the release of small amounts of adrenaline and epinephrine in the brain. When this happens, the body can begin to breakdown stored fat reserves and may trigger small surges in metabolism. Those things can help, but are not the reason that people rely on appetite suppressants when they want help controlling hunger so they can lose weight.