Posted on May 22, 2018, 5 p.m.
Mechanisms behind the anti-obesity effects of melatonin hormones released by the pineal gland in the brain overnight have been revealed in a new study, as published in the Journal of Pineal Research.
Researchers have demonstrated melatonin’s anti-obesity effects and use in obesity control. Specific molecular mechanism that is triggered by chronic administration of the hormone was uncovered by researchers from the University of Texas, University Hospital La Paz, and the University of Granada by administering it to a group of fatty diabetic model rats.
Melatonin was found to tackle obesity on two levels: increasing amounts of brown adipose tissue which uses energy rather than storing it, decreasing amounts of dangerous white visceral fat in abdominal regions; and having a positive impact on thermogenesis process of the body burning calories to produce heat.
According to the researchers these effects observed in the animals were irrespective of other factors. In humans it was suggested that melatonin treatment should be used as a complementary factor to add to weight loss approaches alongside physical activity and a healthy balanced diet that is reduced in caloric intake. Researchers also suggest to exercise in colder environments since thermogenesis is triggered, resulting in higher caloric expenditure.
These are important implications given the growing concern of globesity and public health, resulting in an estimated 3 million plus deaths each year. In the USA more than 30% of the population is obese, Spain has risen to 27%, and the Persian Gulf region has climbed to 35% of the population being obese.
Clinical trials are now underway involving melatonin agonists, with hopes to explore potential applications of melatonin as a successful therapy for human obesity in the future.
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