Scientists Found Liver Hormone That Controls Alcohol And Sweet Cravings

Posted: Dec 27 2015, 8:53pm CST | by , Updated: Dec 28 2015, 10:29pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Scientists Found Hormone that Controls Alcohol and Sweet Cravings
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The hormone made in liver can curb sugar and alchol cravings and can help patients who are obese or suffering from diabetes.

Your liver may be responsible for your love for candies, cookies, cakes and drinks. That is what some recent research suggests. 

Scientists have found a hormone in liver that can suppress sugar and alcohol cravings and can potentially help people suffering from diabetes and obesity. 

The hormone – fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) – is associated with environmental stress and triggers with extreme diet changes, exposure to cold temperatures and even with carbohydrate consumption.

Research on mice and monkey shows that the ‘sweet tooth’ blocking hormone FGF21 can signal the brain to control sugar cravings and can help curb the desire for alcohol as well. This is the first time when psychological mechanisms that leads to the desire for sugar and alcohol have been elaborated and these findings have implications in treating humans as well. 

“This is the first time a hormone made in the liver has been shown to affect sugar and alcohol preference in mammals,” said Dr Steven Kliewer from UT Southwestern Center and co-author of the study.

“Our findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviors in humans and that the hormone could potentially be used to treat alcoholism.”

Researchers have found that mice with high levels of FGF21 showed reduced preference for both sweets and alcohol-laced water.

“We found that FGF21 administration markedly reduces sweet and alcohol preference in mice and sweet preference in large animal models.” Co-author Dr. David Mangelsdorf said.

FGF21 hormone acts via brain which was a complete surprise for researchers.

“The finding that FGF21 acts via the brain was completely unexpected when we started down this path of investigation dozens of years ago,” said Kliewer. “These findings suggest that additional studies are warranted to assess the effects of FGF21 on sweet and alcohol preference and other reward behavior in humans.”

The research was published in journal Cell Metabolism

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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