A recent study investigates the relationship between psychological distress and weight gain

Researchers have found that insulin controls one of the molecular pathways in the brain that is active during stress, leading to increased weight gain.

It is known that the adrenal glands secrete cortisol at the onset of psychological distress, which in turn increases the appetite to eat, especially foods high in fat and sugars.

The researchers based their experiments on a mouse model, and found that mice gained weight more quickly when eating the same amount of food but in conditions of psychological distress.

To explain this mechanism, the researchers investigated one of the proteins produced by the tonsil region in the brain naturally during psychological distress, a protein NPY, and found that this protein stimulates the consumption of foods rich in calories, and at the same time has receptors for insulin (the hormone produced by the pancreas and helps to Metabolism and storage of sugars in the body).

In normal cases, after eating, the body secrete insulin in the bloodstream, which helps to deliver sugars to the cells and turn them into energy. In cases of psychological distress, the insulin secretion increases slightly, but if the diet is rich in calories, the increase in insulin secretion may be ten times, which makes the neurons in the area of ​​the amygdala sensitive to him, and continue to produce protein NYP, and therefore Increase appetite for calorie-rich foods.

Thus, the researchers found that insulin does not only affect peripherally in the metabolism of sugars, but rather affects centrally in the pathways associated with increased appetite for food that promotes weight gain.

Researchers hope to explore more facts on the subject in the future.

The results of the study were published recently in the Journal of Cell Metabolism, and you can find the paper on the link:

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