The surges of Dopamine behind your cravings
The gut-brain connection has attracted a lot of buzz in the mental health space recently. Now, research suggests that improving the connection between your first brain and second brain could significantly reduce your urge to overeat and strengthen the “full signal” that helps you stop eating when full*.
- Eating creates a pleasurable surge of dopamine (happy neurotransmitters) to the brain.
- Brain-scanning studies at Yale University suggest people who overeat may have a muted response to dopamine that causes cravings for more food; for more dopamine.
- Scientists posit that the more you overeat, the less responsive your brain becomes, which only increases the urge to overeat and get a dopamine ‘fix’. A vicious cycle.*
Resensitizing your gut may strengthen “full” signals
The Yale team, led by Dr. Araujo, identified a molecule produced in the small intestine of normal mice when they eat. The molecule is thought to signal to the brain when they are full. When the mice were fed a high-fat “overeating” diet for 15 weeks, this molecule from the small intestine was abnormally low and dopamine surges to the brain became weaker.
When the “overeating” mice were subsequently fed the molecule (called oleoylethanolamine), the dopamine surges increased, they ate less, and they lost weight.
Dr. Araujo suggests that the treatment seemed to repair the damaged communication between the brain and gut and helped the brain identify when fullness was reached; the overfed rodents were “resensitized” to the pleasures of both fatty and healthy foods.
“The therapeutic implications are huge,” says neuroscientist Paul Kenny of the Scripps Research Institute in Florida (who was not involved in the study).
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5 Easy Steps You Can Take Today to Support Balanced Eating
While a quick-fix molecule trick may not be available to humans now, the results indicate that, if you are prone to overeating, you may benefit from balancing your gut:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Rather than focusing on which foods you “should” and “shouldn’t” have, focus on which foods feel ‘heal’ versus ‘aggravate’ your gut.*
- Eat plenty of high-fiber vegetables filled with natural enzymes, nutrients and fiber that help hydrate the digestive tract.
- Boost your daily MicroNourish Core Micronutrients during periods of cravings to help support the essential processes that run, and connect the gut and brain.*
- Take your Probiotics and Enzymes every day to help repopulate your gut with whole-food enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, and fiber to create a healthy internal environment and improve gut-brain communication*
*The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.