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Brain Protein Triggers Obesity in a New Way

Understanding the triggers in our bodies that promote obesity is a good thing which is what drew me to news about a brain protein already identified by researchers as playing a crucial role in controlling one's need to eat -- MC4R -- that has been found to influence appetite in another important way.

MC4R is a receptor on neurons in the hypothalamus that receives signals through at least two pathways about the status of the body's fat reserves. If fat stores are increasing, these signals stimulate MC4R, triggering physiological responses that decrease appetite. If fat reserves are decreasing, these signals turn off, deactivating MC4R and increasing appetite.

New research has shown MC4R also affects appetite in a way unrelated to the signaling loop that has been the focus of most appetite-suppression research. Scientists found a new group of mutations in this receptor that cause obesity, not by interrupting the MC4R receptor's response to the appetite signals, but by affecting its intrinsic, baseline level of activity.

On the down side, the "hoped-for" outcome of this research: The development of a drug that ensures sustained, low-level MC4R activity that is essential for the protein to regulate appetite.

But if you follow my daily blog with regularity, you have the power and the tools at hand on this Web site to create lasting change that can enhance and extend the quality of your life, without drugs or surgery.

Fact is, you don't have to wait for any drugs to make the first move! The best way to get started: Reduce or eliminate the amount of grains and sugars in your existing diet. It is not the fat in the foods we eat but the excess carbohydrates from our starch- and sugar-loaded diet that makes people fat and unhealthy, which leads to epidemic levels of various diseases such as diabetes.

Science Daily October 19, 2004

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