4 Main Effects of Neuropeptide Y in our Body

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is one the most potent and abundant chemicals found in the brain. It is produced mainly by neurons of the sympathetic nervous system.

Discovered over 20 years ago by Tatemoto & Mutt, it is a 36 amino acid peptide that belongs to the pancreatic polypeptide family. A neuron is a nerve cell that is the basic building block of the nervous system and are specialized to transmit information throughout the body.

In the brain, it is present in the cortex, hippocampus, hindbrain and hypothalamus.

What are its Main Effects on our Body?

  1. Cardiovascular Response. Neuropeptide Y produces a potent vasoconstrictor that tightens the blood vessels in the body. When your blood pressure is low, your body produces more Neuropeptide Y in order to maintain its oxygen demands.BEB
  2. Helps regulate our Body Clock. NPY also functions as a chemical messenger that is important for the light–dark cycle entrainment of circadian rhythms.  This helps us sleep and wake up at regular intervals.
  3. Food Intake. It stimulates food intake with a preferential effect on carbohydrate intake.
    It decreases latency to eat, increases motivation to eat and delays satiety by augmenting meal size.
    In addition to increasing food intake, it increases the percentage of calories stored as fat and blocks pain receptor signals to the brain.
  4. Weakens our Immune System. Stressed out? Lonely or depressed? Don’t be surprised if you come down with something. Large amounts of Neuropeptide Y are released during stress which interfere with immune defenses. The primary role of the immune system is the containment of pathogens, cancer cells, and infections. The discovery of a molecular link between stress and immune suppression opens up new avenues for exploring the role of stress in diseases in which immune responses are decreased.

This explains why we tend to eat more than what our body needs when exposed to different types and levels of stress.

Neuropeptide Y, in addition to cortisol, triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and high-fat foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.

Deal With Your Emotions

While it may seem that the main problem is that you’re biologically powerless over food, emotional eating actually stems from feeling powerless over your emotions.

You don’t feel capable of dealing with your feelings head on, so you avoid them with food. Learning to accept your feelings, even the bad ones will help avoid stress eating. This can enable you to rein in stress and repair emotional problems that often trigger emotional eating.

Your life will be richer when you open yourself up emotionally. Our feelings are a window into our interior world. They help us understand and discover our deepest desires and fears, our current frustrations, and the things that will make us happy.

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