And now, for every dieter who's suffered through one of those food plans consisting of hard boiled eggs and half a grapefruit three times a day...hope is on the horizon. Researchers have unveiled two key neurotransmitters that could someday help them develop drug therapies for people who want to burn fat faster without eating less, reported Fox News on October 10.
Serotonin and adrenaline rank as the two most important neurotransmitters in this new study, revealed scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in San Diego, Calif. They already knew that serotonin controls mood and manages fat loss in humans and mice. But the researchers did not understand how it all worked - until now.
Dr. Supriya Srinivasan, an assistant professor at TSRI, discovered that although serotonin plays a role as a catalyst for fat loss, it functions more smoothly when combined with adrenaline.
“What we found is you can activate fat loss by just giving serotonin but in order to do that you need some amount of adrenaline to be present. If you take away the adrenaline-like component of the signaling, the serotonin still works but the efficacy is greatly reduced,” Srinivasan explained to Fox News. “The same is true for the adrenalin-like signaling…Each part of the circuit, or each neurotransmitter, requires the other.”
And about that eat more, weigh loss promise: It does work in test cases. The professor confirmed that altering serotonin and adrenaline resulted in weight loss in worms regardless of how much food they were consuming.
“We found that the receptors that control feeding behavior are distinct and separate from the ones that control fat loss,” Srinivasan said. “The reason you see fat loss in serotonin-treated animals is because they are burning more fat and expending more energy.”
Ironically, the infamous weight loss drug Fen-Phen was a serotonin-plus-adrenaline-boosting therapy. Although it produced rapid weight loss, it also sometimes produced death as a result of cardiovascular side effects.
But researchers hope to develop a way to boost serotonin without that fatal result.
“One potential avenue would be instead of giving combination serotonin and androgenic-like drugs like Fen-Phen that lead to cardiovascular effects, (we could find) ways to use adrenaline-like signaling to boost neural serotonin,” Srinivasan said.