This study finds the root cause of obesity

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In a recent study published in The Journal of Physiology, researchers found a high-fat diet can disturb the body clock in the brain that normally controls satiety, leading to over-eating and obesity.

This finding may be a cornerstone for future clinical studies that could restore the proper functioning of the body clock in the brain, to avoid overeating.

The study is from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. One author is Dr. Lukasz Chrobok.

The number of people with obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975. Obesity can lead to several other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

Historically, it was believed that the master body clock was only located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.

However, further research over the years has clarified that some control of our body’s daily rhythms (hormone levels, appetite etc.) lies in several other parts of the brain and body, including a group of neurons in the evolutionary ancient brainstem, called the dorsal vagal complex (DVC).

Specifically, the DVC has been shown to control food intake by inducing satiety. Research has also shown that in obesity, daily rhythms in food intake and the release of hormones related to eating, are blunted or eliminated.

In the study, the team found that high-fat diet-fed rats, before they started to gain weight, showed changes in the DVC’s daily neuronal rhythms and the response of these neurons to appetite hormones.

Thus, the researchers propose that disturbance in the DVC’s timekeeping leads to obesity, rather than being the result of excessive body weight.

This study opens new research opportunities for trying to establish the strategy how to restore body clock function of the DVC, and therefore help tackle obesity.

The team says it remains to be established if the phase of the brainstem clock is set to day and night, or whether it depends on patterns of rest and activity.

If you care about weight loss, please read studies about keto diet could help you lose weight, but also harm your liver health and findings of intermittent fasting: Do you need it to lose weight?

For more information about weight loss and your health, please see recent studies about why brown fat could protect against obesity and diabetes and results showing the key to preventing, treating obesity, type 2 diabetes.

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