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Hormone to Help Regulate Hunger and Food Intake

That a hormone changes the speed that your stomach empties would explain why some people seem to be able to eat much more than they should without becoming too full. Maybe the next step is to see if there is a way that we can become in control of the hormone so as to help regulate food needs.

James Lamper

A hormone in the gut has been found which slows the rate the stomach empties and as a result help suppress hunger and how much food you eat. The results from the research, which was carried out on mice, were presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston. 

The lead investigator, Xinfu Guan from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston said "The gut hormone glucagon-like peptide 2, or GLP-2, functions as a neurotransmitter and fine-tunes gastric emptying through - as suspected - its receptor action in the brain."

The receptor, or the group of nerve cells in the brain are called pro-opiomelanocortin neurons. They can be found in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that is also responsible for producing appetite-controlling neuropeptides. 

In the study mice that were lacking the receptors in the brain took in more food and also showed late-onset obesity, compared to mice with the receptor. So it may be that obese people have a problem with their hormone receptor, many studies have shown that non-diabetic obese people do have accelerated gastric emptying.

Guan said, "this study has advanced our understanding of the brain-gut neural circuits that mediate eating behavior via modulating gastric emptying, which contributes to the control of body weight."

Original article can be found here:

Published on; 27/6/12

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