Navigation Links
Binge Eating May Be a High All Its Own

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- The next time you indulge in a juicy steak or a hot fudge sundae, consider this: The high you get from eating all that fat may be related to the one you might feel if you smoked marijuana.

The same mechanism that gives pot smokers the "munchies" -- that is, a nearly irresistible desire to eat -- appears to help explain why people like fat so much, according to a new study involving rats.

The research offers insight into how your body forces you to eat and could eventually help lead toward treatments designed to calm food cravings, said study co-author Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine.

"When we reach into a refrigerator, and we take that pint of ice cream, there [are] a lot more things happening than we think, and a lot deeper," Piomelli said. "Unraveling them over time can be helpful."

At issue in the study are chemicals in the brain known as endocannabinoids, which scientists think are crucial to regulating things such as mood, anxiety and appetite, explained Piomelli, director of the UCI Center for Drug Discovery & Development. Fat appears to activate the chemicals, as does marijuana.

It makes sense that appetite and pot-smoking would be connected, Piomelli added. After all, besides helping people relax and feel less anxious in many cases, marijuana can trigger the "munchies" -- a desire to consume food, especially junk food.

In the new study, Piomelli and colleagues from Yeshiva University in New York sought to determine how food affects the endocannabinoid system and which particular aspects of food set it off.

The researchers came up with an experiment. They fed the rats different kinds of liquid solutions -- with fat, sugar or protein dissolved in them -- and monitored what happened. And since they didn't want to keep track of the whole digestive system, they created a way to keep the solution from getting all the way to the rats' stomachs.

They found that only fat appeared to turn on the endocannabinoid system by a signal that traveled to the brain and then to the intestines via a certain nerve bundle called the vagus, and that happened early in the process of digestion. The endocannabinoids, in turn, trigger a craving for more fat.

"The fat hits the tongue, the cannabinoids kick in and more hunger follows," Piomelli said.

The system appears to be a product of evolution's interest in making sure that animals eat lots of fat when it's available, he said. The problem comes in modern life, when the animals known as humans often have plenty to eat.

"In modern life, fat is everywhere," Piomelli said. "There are McDonalds and Burger Kings. But before the invention of the refrigerator, fats were hard to find."

What to do with this new information? Piomelli said it provides more support for finding ways to manipulate hunger -- particularly your desire to eat more than you need -- by disrupting how the endocannabinoid system works.

The problem, he said, is that drugs designed to do just that have made people irritable, depressed and anxious. "That's why they're no longer being developed," said Piomelli.

The new study was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies.

Tim C. Kirkham, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Liverpool in England, said the challenge is finding a drug that affects the endocannabinoid system but doesn't enter the brain and cause the psychological side effects.

There's still hope, study co-author Piomelli said: "Imagine being able to block this mechanism so that when you reach for your pint of ice cream, you have one or two spoonfuls and that would be fine."

The study appears in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

For more information about obesity, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Daniele Piomelli, Ph.D., professor, pharmacology, University of California at Irvine and Italian Institute of Technology, Genoa; Tim C. Kirkham, professor, experimental psychology, University of Liverpool, U.K.; July 4-8, 2011, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study reveals possible brain damage in young adult binge-drinkers
2. College students respond better to positive anti-binge drinking messages
3. Binge Drinking Tied to Memory Loss in College Students: Study
4. Underage binge drinking can create lasting brain changes
5. Binge eaters dopamine levels spike at sight, smell of food
6. Abstinence, heavy drinking, binge drinking associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment
7. Lowering the drinking age is unlikely to curb college binge drinking
8. Binge Drinking, Pot Could Put Teens Intellect at Risk: Study
9. 1 in 4 U.S. Teens and Young Adults Binge Drink: CDC
10. Binge Drinking, Hypertension a Deadly Combo
11. Are teen binge drinkers risking future osteoporosis?
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Binge Eating May Be a High All Its Own
(Date:6/26/2016)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Quality ... sources, yet in many ways they remain in the eye of the beholder, according ... (EBO), a publication of The American Journal of Managed Care. For the full issue, ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and ... main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, ... work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can easily customize ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn pictures into ... Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical ... the "Company"), which develops, markets and sells medical devices ... , signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan ... "Hongyuan Supply Chain") on June 20, 2016, to develop ... the strategic cooperation agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Belgium , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the appointment of Dr. Edward Futcher ... a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, 2016.Dr. Futcher ... and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As a non-executive ... provide independent expertise and strategic counsel to VolitionRx ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Market by Type (Organic Chemical (Sugar, Petrochemical, Glycerin), Inorganic ... Coating, Parenteral) - Global Forecast to 2021" report ... The global pharmaceutical excipients market is projected to ... of 6.1% in the forecast period 2016 to 2021. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: