I wake up at 3am…hungry. I stay in bed for awhile, but the hunger isn’t going away. So I roll out of bed with my eyes closed only opening them for a snapshot of the dark hallway. It isn’t any fun running into walls. I walk to the kitchen and drink some water and fall asleep easily.
I wake up at 7:30am….really hungry. This is the morning for me to skip breakfast so this could be a problem. I study the book of Judges in the Bible for about 40 minutes, and I’m hungrier after I finish.
It is about 6 degrees Fahrenheit outside and there is a good amount of snow covering my driveway (see picture). My hunger leaves when I start shoveling snow, and I only shovel for about 15 minutes. Then I come inside, and drink some hot water with about 25mg of Niacin (not slow release). This keeps the hunger away for about 2 hours.This isn’t my everyday experience, but some days I just get hungry. You know what I mean?
Here are a three reasons for my hunger:
- Cortisol levels are at their peak in the morning, and cortisol increases hunger.
- I usually eat around 8am.
- Lower blood glucose
Why does shoveling snow reduce hunger?
The simplest explanation is distraction. By changing my focus to a task, my perception of hunger was reduced. Shoveling snow is exercise, exercise increases norepinepherine levels, and norepinepherine reduces hunger.
Why does hot water reduce hunger?
Stretch receptors in the stomach and duodenum sends signals via the vagal nerves to reduce activation in the feeding center of the brain. There are also oral receptors that tell the brain that something has been ingested.
Why does niacin reduce hunger?
Niacin is able to raise blood glucose; you’ll see why that matters when I mention the hypothalamus. I’ve looked at some of the studies, and it has been shown that niacin increases blood glucose in people with diabetes. I don’t have diabetes so I’m unsure if that is the reason. Another reason may be that niacin made tryptophan more available for serotonin production. Niacin can be synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is also used to synthesize serotonin. More serotonin means less hunger. One day, I’ll have to tell you about a bad experience I had with niacin. For now, all I have to say is start with small doses, like 25mg.
What part of the brain is active during hunger?
The lateral nucleus of the hypothalamus is active, and it is the area of the hypothalamus most associated with hunger. In the lateral nuclei there are glucosensitive neurons that become active when blood glucose is lowered. Lower blood glucose leads to more active lateral hypothalamic glucosensitive neurons to induce hunger. This is called the glucostatic theory of hunger and feeding regulation.
You may be wondering why I didn’t just eat. Well, I didn’t eat because I’m doing an experiment involving intermittent fasting.