Ghrelin is a digestive hormone that regulates our appetites, our hunger pangs and tells us when to stop eating. It is a vital hormone in the study of obesity.
New research to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, finds that increasing the level of ghrelin in the blood can modify a person’s ability to taste food and alter their brain chemistry. Ghrelin is the cause of these food-related clues and as a result, increases dopamine levels in the brain at the most prominent reward center.
Scientists measured dopamine levels in rats as they enjoyed a highly rewarding diet of sugar. Administering ghrelin to rats while they ate sugar increased peak dopamine “spikes” within the reward center of the brain, whereas administering a drug that blocks ghrelin’s actions significantly reduced dopamine levels during sugar intake.
Study author Dr. Mitch Roitman from the University of Illinois at Chicago says, “The modulation of brain dopamine reward signals by a gut hormone that regulates appetite strongly supports this interaction as a way to direct the organism’s behavior towards further intake, perhaps by making food more rewarding. The results shed light on how peripheral body signals in general can shape brain-directed behavior.”
What this means is that this could be a means to treat obesity and over-eating disorders.
Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. “Feeding hormone ghrelin modulates ability of rewarding food to evoke dopamine release.” ScienceDaily, 12 Jul. 2011. Web. 14 Jul. 2011.
Originally published @ FITLODE.COM