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Thursday, June 30, 2016
Overeating “switches off” feel-full hormone
Have you ever heard of the hormone uroguanylin? Most people haven’t! Uroguanylin is an appetite-suppressant hormone. It’s secreted by your gut cells, telling your brain to stop eating.
Scientists have just started investigating this hormone in relation to appetite, calorie burning, and even the generation of “brown” fat in your body – i.e. the only kind of fat that is metabolically active and actually burns white fat! So, what happened in this study?
It appears that overeating calories stops the production of uroguanylin. In other words, you won’t be getting its “stop eating” signals. This can promote even more eating, eventually leading to obesity and metabolic syndrome. This is an example of epigenetics “gone wrong”.
Remember what epigenetics is? The switching of genes “on” or “off” by environmental signals. In this case, overconsuming calories switches off the gene that is supposed to tell your gut cells to make this appetite-suppressant hormone. Too many calories, less uroguanylin, more overeating (Kim et at., 2016) The gene is called GUCY2C. But, with this gene inactive, overeating can lead to even more overeating.