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The Molecular Biology of Food And Mood



sharma-obesity-brainThe neuroendocrine systems that control ingestive behaviour are intimately linked to the parts of the brain that control mood.

Thus, it is increasingly evident that factors that affect energy homeostasis (diet and exercise) can have profound effects on mood while changes in mood can have significant effects on appetite and energy homeostasis.

But this relationship is far from straightforward – rather, it appears to be rather complex.

Readers interested in an overview of how these two systems interact in the brain may find a recent review by Chen Liu from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, published in Cell Metabolism of interest.

The authors review our current understanding of how mood and food are linked with particular attention to appetite, ingestive behaviour and energy homeostasis.

The article also touches on the effects of pharmacological and surgical treatments for obesity on mood.

Clearly clinicians need to be aware of the close links between these systems and draw on our current understanding of both in their counselling of patients presenting with weight gain and/or depression.

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

ResearchBlogging.orgLiu C, Lee S, & Elmquist JK (2014). Circuits Controlling Energy Balance and Mood: Inherently Intertwined or Just Complicated Intersections? Cell metabolism, 19 (6), 902-909 PMID: 24630814

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1 Comment

  1. I comment, as you know as a lay reader and radical weight-loss maintainer. I am grateful for this area of research, and I hope it gets more play and more funding, and I’m grateful you’re drawing attention to it.

    In the popular media (women’s magazines) there are periodic surges in the notion of “emotional eating.” It’s a blame-the-victim type of reporting that essentially tells readers that if they are eating when they aren’t hungry, they’re simply not dealing well with emotional issues or they are substituting food for healthy coping, and implies that if people are just mindful about their emotional issues, they’ll cease overeating and lose weight. Of course, this is ridiculous. Our endocrine systems are so complex. Our moods are tied to food and vice versa, but simplistic advice is so hurtful to people who struggle.

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