Sweet tooth depends on a hepatic hormone that increases the metabolism.

There are people who for sweets are fairly quiet, and there are those for whom sweet – almost the meaning of life.


(Photo: EdithRum / Depositphotos.)

As they say in their article in Cell Metabolism , researchers from the University of Copenhagen, passion for cakes, pastries, chocolate and sweet tea largely depends on the liver, more precisely, of one of the hormones that it synthesizes. It’s called FGF21 , or fibroblast growth factor 21. It functions in a very a lot; among other things, it helps fat cells to absorb the glucose, but at the same time increases energy expenditure, promotes fat loss, etc.; also, there is evidence that excess FGF21 reduces symptoms of diabetes and inhibits the obesity.

Obviously, acting on the metabolism, this protein would affect feeding behavior. Indeed, a few years ago it was shown that the thrust of rodents to sweet depends on excreted by the liver FGF21. Similar results were obtained for primates. Just had to check if it works exactly the same FGF21 in humans.

Nils Grarup (Niels Grarup) and his colleagues used a database of one large-scale medical studies where people have learned that they usually eat and in what quantity, and also measured the level of glucose and cholesterol in the blood. About the FGF21 gene knows that he has two options, which shift metabolism towards carbohydrates, that is, the body with any of these two options more than usual, seeking to get energy from carbohydrates. But now there was a speech not about carbs in General, but about sweet foods. And indeed, it turned out that those who loves sweet, in the genome is possible with high probability to detect any of the “carbohydrate” FGF21 variants.

In addition to the statistical analysis, the authors performed several experiments with a group of volunteers, including sweet tooth, and those with a sweet tooth were generally indifferent. First, they all asked to fast for twelve hours and then given a drink with sugar. It turned out that those who sugar not loved, “hungry” FGF21 levels remained at 50% more than the tooth, but after serving sweet drinks hormone levels and those and others for a few hours to become the same. It turns out that the sweet tooth is in inverse proportion to FGF21: if in principle it is quite a lot floating in the blood, the person not too drawn to the sugar.

The article in Cell Metabolism says that the hormone could act for a reinforcement system in the brain that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and hiding all sorts of dependencies, including an overly strong sweet tooth. A signaling molecule synthesized in the digestive tract in response to a particular food, can directly act on the cerebral nerve centers, and FGF21 may be quite one of them.

Interestingly, the researchers failed to find relations between different variants of FGF21 gene and obesity with diabetes. Given that the hormone most closely linked to glucose metabolism, such a relationship in any form should be; however, on the other hand, and diabetes, and obesity depend on many factors, including cell-molecular, so in order to understand the role of FGF21 should be considered from the whole picture.