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Old 10-12-2008, 02:05 PM   #1
Yael Grauer
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Default obesity and dopamine/serotonin

I heard some dude with a PhD blame child obesity on decreased dopamine and serotonin. And here I thought it was all about insulin. He said it was the other chemicals that caused insulin resistance. And here I thought obesity and insulin resistance was based on diet... Anyone ever heard anything like that?
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:32 PM   #2
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I found this:

Quote:
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in beef, chicken, dairy products and turkey. It helps the body produce more serotonin, the neurotransmitter or brain chemical which makes us feel good.

Serotonin is released by eating carbohydrate foods, and once released, suppresses the desire for carbohydrates via the action of insulin. This is believed to be a survival mechanism which has evolved to protect people from consuming too many carbohydrates at the expense of essential protein.

However, it is thought that in some people, the carbohydrate-serotonin mechanism goes wrong, causing carbohydrate cravings.

It is easy to conclude that eating more foods rich in tryptophan might help stop carbohydrate cravings by producing more serotonin. However researchers have discovered that when you eat a protein-containing food, the protein is digested into its constituent amino acids and the tryptophan is blocked from entering the brain by the other five amino acids that compete with it. For this reason, eating lots of protein does not raise the levels of tryptophan or serotonin in the brain.

One way to enhance brain serotonin production might be to take tryptophan itself. However tryptophan is not sold legally in many countries any longer due to serious adverse effects caused by products containing it in the past.
From: http://www.lowcarbiseasy.com/stop_su...e_cravings.htm

I'm currently looking into more on Medscape. Drugs that increase serotonin production are used to help fight obesity.

My guess is that its in relation to kids getting way too many carbs (mainly of the processed variety) and their bodies pouring out tons of serotonin and just not being able to keep up. Fix? Don't give kids crap to eat.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:58 PM   #3
Yael Grauer
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Originally Posted by George Mounce View Post
My guess is that its in relation to kids getting way too many carbs (mainly of the processed variety) and their bodies pouring out tons of serotonin and just not being able to keep up. Fix? Don't give kids crap to eat.
That was my guess too, but I keep forgetting that I'm not supposed to heckle speakers who have way more scientific knowledge than I do esp. at their events. But when I looked I found a 2001 study that showed that there were less dopamine receptors in people who are obese but the correlation etc. is unknown.

http://the-mouse-trap.blogspot.com/2...onnection.html

I bet Robb might know...
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:28 PM   #4
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Many hormones go on at night...melatonin, serotinin, GH, cortisol, insulin.....lack of sleep means messed up hormones.....always the same old message....go to bed and you will be better off. If seratonin is low, cravings go up.....seratonin is converted into melatonin at night....all interconnected.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:42 PM   #5
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Well Robb pointed out to me that seratonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters, not hormones.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...src=newsletter
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Old 10-12-2008, 10:22 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Yael Grauer View Post
Well Robb pointed out to me that seratonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters, not hormones.
Tomato...Tomatoe....Technically....so is Norepinephrine as well but many call that a hormone too. But that just defines the way in which it is secreted and distance travelled (travel across a synaptic cleft and have a more rapid effect). Both are still chemical messengers at heart.

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No one knows when the obese people in the study lost their dopamine receptors in the brain or if that loss could be reversed with weight loss.
Same message....get sleep, stay away from sugar, eat fat esp Omega 3s for healthy brain function. Science looks for specific issues when the main issue could be the lifestyle compounded over time....not some genetic defect. But if the brain gets messed up for any reason....the body sure will reflect it.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:18 AM   #7
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Well, there ARE reasons neurotransmitters could be affected over time that have nothing to do with diet or sleep.

But I am just trying to figure out if it's those or the hormones that are most responsible. Where are all the science geeks?

I wish I was smart enough to be a science geek.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yael Grauer View Post
Well, there ARE reasons neurotransmitters could be affected over time that have nothing to do with diet or sleep.

But I am just trying to figure out if it's those or the hormones that are most responsible. Where are all the science geeks?

I wish I was smart enough to be a science geek.
Yael, good reads:

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neur...web1/Byrd.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8697046
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6381575
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3527063
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3056265
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:25 AM   #9
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Well, there ARE reasons neurotransmitters could be affected over time that have nothing to do with diet or sleep.
I am not that much of a geek to know the intricate details....but my "guess" would be diet still as a major contributor...namely a high insulin environment/insulin resistance by excessive sugar/processed carb intake and lack of EFAs like DHA would greatly impair proper brain function. That and any other chemicals that come to find a home in the brain like Mercury or whatever else is in the environment.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yael Grauer View Post
Well, there ARE reasons neurotransmitters could be affected over time that have nothing to do with diet or sleep.

But I am just trying to figure out if it's those or the hormones that are most responsible. Where are all the science geeks?

I wish I was smart enough to be a science geek.
I think you just asked one of the BIG questions. I wouldn't look for a definitive answer on this one for a while (ever).

I've tinkered with brain chemistry and this is an area where I split the difference with the naturopaths: control your diet, get fish oil and some moderate excercise outside, and talk therapies sorted first, then look at interventions.

SSRI's and Dopamine whoosey whatsits are super powerful drugs that really do help a lot of people, for amny many others, their serotonin problems get fixed by talk therapy alone. obviously, diet helps hugely as does excercise and sunlight. If the system is so easily altered, why use the nuclear option unless you have to?
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