Biological Basis of Energy Homeostasis


Course Name and Number:

Course Instructor:


Date Due:


Biological basis of energy homeostasis

Mammals and especially the human beings have evolved complex and  advanced regulatory systems enabling them to be capable of maintaining energy homeostasis irrespective of the consistent challenges that constantly limit the energy inputs availability as well as their composition (Johnson, 2009). However, the biological control mostly relies on intricate systems consisting of multiple organs as well as specialized types of cells that are responsible of regulating how  energy is up-taken, stored, and spend (Flier & Maratos-Flier, 2007).

Moreover, as a result of these systems simultaneously performing varied functions as well as been highly integrated, it is therefore extremely difficult towards understanding them in terms of the contributions they make as individual component to energy homeostasis (Johnson, 2009). Thus, understanding the biological basis of energy homeostasis is crucial towards providing improved treatments as well as clinical options, hence the identification of principle molecular and genetic components together with the systemic features of energy homeostasis regulation becomes inevitable (Flier & Maratos-Flier, 2007).

In addition, human beings usually control of the energy homeostasis is very complex thereby integrating regulation at the level of organ, cellular, and ultimately at the molecular level. However, in healthy humans the  integration of these regulations results in a perfectly functioning system which would match the caloric intake to the energy expenditure required by the body (Johnson, 2009). Hence, understanding both the genetic and biological basis for the  energy homeostasis regulation is vital in providing the opportunity for developing treatments for obesity that are particularly tailored towards distinct patient groups (Flier, 2004).

Moreover, energy homeostasis is actually a genetically complex as  well as a quantitative phenotype, whereby the  molecular basis is mainly dependent on the pathways that involve numerous molecules. However, up to date, there are however more than 600 markers, genes, as well as chromosomal regions that have been linked or associated to obesity phenotypes, but no single genetic mutation which can be  regarded to account for the variance experienced in responses of patient towards a dietary treatment (Johnson, 2009).

In  addition, the health problems that results from obesity are likely to offset many of the recent advancements achieved in the health sector through modern medicine, thus obesity has the potential of becoming the number one health risk for most of the developed countries (Johnson, 2009). For instance, an approximate of 300,000 deaths usually occur on annual basis as well as significant morbidity that are directly attributed to obesity, mostly as a result of other diseases that are closely related to obesity such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, as well as psychological disturbances and reproductive complications (Flier, 2004).

Moreover, in conjunction with  the increasing prevalence of obesity globally related to deficiencies in the energy homeostasis regulation, there has also been a tremendous increase in the number of clinical and scientific studies on the energy homeostasis control as well as the pathogenesis of obesity which leads to furthering our energy balance understanding. Hence, it is nowadays generally recognized that there are numerous central as well as peripheral factors that are closely involved in the process of energy homeostasis, therefore it is envisaged that the further succinct understanding of such biological mechanisms should result to effective methods of treatments for the controlling of obesity (Johnson, 2009).


Recent and current research on obesity and energy homeostasis

            However, there has been numerous research which have been going on recently as well as other which has  already been concluded concerning the issue of obesity and energy homeostasis (Johnson, 2009). For instance, in  this research paper three of such research that have been recently conducted will be considered  and their aim, methods  and results evaluated. However, there is a generalization of the research which have been considered whereby  their core aim has been determined to reduce the rate of fat storage while at the same time increasing the fats metabolism and satiety which enables reduction in the food intake (Flier & Maratos-Flier, 2007).

The first research by James Hill in understanding and addressing the epidemic of obesity whose main aim is addressing the issue of epidemic obesity which  can be referred  to  as the rapid and  sudden increase in rates of obesity which began late 1980s and has constantly continued unabated up to today (Hill, 2006). Hence,  according to this study the escalating rates of obesity throughout the world has led to it be considered among the greatest challenge of  public health facing the world today. However, despite the biological processes involved in energy homeostasis that lead to obesity,  this research  have  also used varied methods to determine the different etiologies of obesity (Johnson, 2009).

Hence, the research have determine various etiologies of obesity  such as biological factors, behavioral factors  as well as environmental factors (Hill, 2006). This has been  determined by use of the strategy of reversing obesity in  chosen population through focusing on  the positive balancing of energy (Hill, 2006). However, the results of this research has been coming up with varied public health interventions towards  addressing the issue of epidemic obesity. Thus, the interventions targeted the biological, behavioral and environmental factors that are crucially responsible for addressing the issue of obesity menace (Hill, 2006).

Moreover, the other research  review involves the gastrointestinal regulation of food intake which was conducted by Cummings and Overduin whose main aim was to focus on the modulation of the food intake through the processes of energy homeostasis that are regulated from the brain through hormonal interactions (Cummings & Overduin, 2007). The results of this research therefore highlights the mechanisms that govern nutrient sensing, processes of satiety  as well as the satiation peptides (ghrelin) secretion by the pancreatic endocrine cells. Hence, this research reiterates of  the regulation of the aspect of satiation which decreases the rate of food intake thereby reducing the obesity epidemic (Flier & Maratos-Flier, 2007).

The third  research was actually conducted by Dunker by  considering the role of the incretin hormones in the regulation of the glucose uptake in the body which is very crucial in determining the extent  to which the  activity of this hormone is related to obesity (Drucker, 2006). The main of this research was to review the current information available about obesity and the incretin action concepts as  well as highlighting its potential therapeutic utility together with that of the receptors of GLP-1 agonists (Drucker, 2006). The methods mostly involved evaluation of the already existing information as well  as primary research conducted on obese individuals and rodents and there response to incretin. Moreover, despite the promising results of this research there is also the need for further research which has been suggested (Drucker, 2006).



The value and application of the research findings to public health

The above reiterates on the importance of simple recommendations such as reduction of the food intake, changing the diet composition as  well as increasing the level of physical exercise are among the appropriate programs for the obese people that should be undertaken by the public health (Cummings & Overduin, 2007. However, by themselves these behavior changes are likely to help the obese individuals to lose their body weight up to 10 percent, despite the difficulty involved in maintaining the achieved weight loss (Johnson, 2009). Additionally, these  findings presented in the evaluated research seems to reiterate on the importance of the public health interventions and policies towards obesity to be collaborative (Cummings & Overduin, 2007). Hence, multiple dimensions should be taken in addressing the obesity menace which is currently among the leading public health concerns.

Moreover, the findings in these  research can also be applied in the sensitization of the public through promotion of healthy living mainly through proper dieting and ensuring the foods in the market are well investigated so  as to be sure  they are healthy (Flier, 2004). In addition, the  findings of these research  also  suggests various methods that can be used in regulation of obesity. For instance bariatric surgery which is nowadays performed on many obese patients every year have been very successful in promotion as well as maintaining weight loss compared to the current drug therapies (Johnson, 2009). However, in order for successful drug therapy for the treatment of obesity there will be need for multiple drugs that should be acting via independent path ways, in conjunction to  drugs tailored for individual obese patients (Flier & Maratos-Flier, 2007).



Cummings , D. E., & Overduin, J. (2007). Gastrointestinal regulation of food intake. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 117, 13-23. Retrieved from

Drucker, D. J. (2006). The biology of incretin hormones. Cell Metabolism, 3, 153-165. Retrieved from

Flier, J. S. (2004). Obesity wars: Molecular progress confronts an expanding epidemic. Cell, 116(2), 337-350.

Flier, J. S., & Maratos-Flier, E. (2007). What fuels fat. Scientific American, 297(3), 72-81.

Hill, J. O. (2006). Understanding and addressing the epidemic of obesity: An energy balance perspective. Endocrine Reviews, 27(7), 750-761. Retrieved from

Johnson, M.D. (2009). Human Biology: Concepts and Current Issues (5rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin-Cummings Publishing Company, Inc.


Written by