A new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, confirms once again how closely the intestine is connected to the brain. The study, conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, reveals a new gut-brain connection never discovered before.

This connection, according to the same researchers, explains in particular how the intake of extra portions of food leads to weight gain. The experiments, again, were performed on mice: those that consumed high-fat foods were characterized by a greater level of gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP).

The latter is a gut hormone whose function is to manage the body’s energy balance. It travels through the blood and reaches the brain where it makes leptin, the satiety hormone produced by fat cells, ineffective. This action increased the desire of mice to take more food even if they did not need it.

This naturally produced weight gain. By blocking the GIP, and therefore its action of canceling the function of leptin, the mice started to eat less and lost weight.

As Makoto Fukuda, assistant professor of pediatrics and one of the authors of the study, specifies, this research can be considered not as a solution to obesity but as a “new piece of the complex puzzle of how the body manages energy balance and influences weight.”

However, this information regarding the connection between the intestinal GIP hormone and the leptin in the brain could, however, prove very useful precisely to counteract the same obesity and in general weight gain.

Julie Smith

I am a journalist with extensive experience working with different organizations in Kentucky, starting out as an editor with The Paducah Sun and later joining The Louisville Times. I am very happy to have joined Elakhbary News as a volunteer contributor, and submit research and content during my spare time. I am a long term subscriber to Nature and Scientific American, and frequently read up on new scientific research.

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Julie Smith