Why anxiety affects body weight: the answer of scientists

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Surely, many noticed that with excessive anxiety a person begins to lose weight. Until now, no one could give this phenomenon an exhaustive explanation, but scientists from the Scripps Research Institute found that the root cause of all is the lack of the BDNF protein, which is responsible for the development of neurons in the brain. The discovery was made during the observation of rats on a high-calorie diet, but feeling anxious.

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Stress and weight loss

The author of the study can be considered an employee of the institute named Baoji Xu. It was he who discovered that laboratory rats are not able to gain weight if they are in a state similar to human anxiety. Their condition was aggravated by the removal of the BDNF molecule from the cerebral cortex in the hippocampus and the amygdala — this operation reduced the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is responsible for the state of relaxation.

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Further research showed that being in tension, the rats were forced to spend a lot of energy on maintaining the body in working condition. Also, their forces are actively spent on the production of brown fat, which is necessary to maintain heat. Due to the increased need for energy production, their organisms accelerated their metabolism, and that is why they did not gain weight despite the high-fat diet.

It is noteworthy that in stressful conditions, people are able to consciously replenish their energy by consuming an excessively large amount of food. As a result, many people will not lose weight, but on the contrary – gain it, which few people want.

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Scientists hope that this knowledge will help them develop new and more effective medicines for stress and obesity. They understand that before that they need a lot of other studies that will confirm the conclusions made. In any case, the first important step has already been taken – they have found an element that links two common problems


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Updated: January 21, 2019 — 11:21 am

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