Researchers find liver hormone that regulates sweet, alcohol preferences

Researchers find liver hormone that regulates sweet, alcohol preferences

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers claimed to have found the hormone that works through the brain’s reward system to weaken cravings for sweets and alcohol.

The hormone, Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21), is induced in the body by tremendously cold temperatures, abrupt changes in diet as well as in carbohydrate consumption. During the study, health researchers found that mice with higher levels of FGF21 showed less preference for sweetened and alcohol-laced water.

Dr. David Mangelsdorf, who co-authored the study, said they found they same results during a separate study conducted on monkeys. The study represents one of a growing number of links between the liver-borne hormone and the nervous system.

The discovery of the hormone may present new possibilities for development of new treatments for controlling cravings for products that accelerate or worsen diseases like type-2 diabetes.

Sharing the findings, Dr. Kliewer said, “Our findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviors in humans, and that the hormone could potentially be used to treat alcoholism.”

The discovery of the FGF21 hormone was detailed in a recent edition of the journal Cell Metabolism, which reports novel findings in any area of metabolic biology.

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