A recent study has revealed that a hormone known as asprosin overlooks hunger neurons in the brains. This hormone is able to switch on the appetite-stimulating neurons while depressing the activity of appetite-suppressing neurons.
New research has now investigated the deeper connections between self-control, appetite, and brain. They also examined the association between obesity with the area of the brain that links with self-control i.e. the prefrontal cortex.
The researchers wondered if individual variations occur in the structure as well as the functionality of the prefrontal cortex that may predispose them to eat too many foods dense in calories. Conversely, the scientists questioned if obesity could cause changes in the functionality and structure in this particular area of the brain.
The findings of this study are published in a journal called Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
The Role of the Prefrontal Cortex In Obesity
The preexisting studies in this area have focused on reward-processing mechanisms and the associated areas in the brain. Some of these areas include striatum, amygdala, midbrain, and orbitofrontal cortex. In addition to this, the dorsal striatum releasing dopamine has also been much in focus.
However, the authors have explained that the position of the prefrontal cortex may be very crucial. This is specifically important for the executive function, planning actions in the future, and complex decision making. Additionally, the area also acts as a filter that aids a person in expressing an appropriate response to a situation.
The scientists have said that there is a lot of research indicating that people with reduced prefrontal cortex activity during decision making are prone to eating more calorie-rich foods. They may also be more vulnerable to food cues and advertisements.
However, the story does not end here. These behaviors, as per the researchers, may induce changes in the brain that may lead to overconsumption of food in a mutually reinforcing relationship between prefrontal cortex and obesity.
Obesity, in such cases, not only induce issues in the function and structure of the brain but also has a reciprocal relationship. This means that the function and structure of the brain can, in turn, cause obesity. This is very important to observe.
This current review has shown that if you have reduced activity of the prefrontal cortex, it may predispose you to eat more which, in turn, causes obesity and weight gain.
The authors hope that the results of this study will help to discover newer treatments. By reframing the obesity-related issue around the prefrontal activity, it is possible to explore the treatment options and discover the preventive measures that may reduce unwanted weight gain.
How Mindfulness and Exercise Help
Some things that can be done to enhance the prefrontal cortex activity and regulate the dietary patterns include mindfulness and exercise.
Exercise has been known to increase the level of activity going on in the prefrontal cortex. This consequently helps your body ignore all the food cravings in addition to its role in getting rid of all calories.
Additionally, it helps to focus on healthiness and long-term consequences of the food that you eat instead of just tasting it. This allows you to make better dietary choices.