[Paleopsych] BH: Brain Molecule Guides Healthy Eating

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Thu Apr 14 23:37:54 UTC 2005

Beats me.

The new diet regime is: healthy fats, ample protein, complex carbs.

Steve Hovland

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Brain Molecule Guides Healthy Eating

Ancient enzyme acts as an innate nutritionist to influence food choices

    Betterhumans Staff
    4/12/2005 3:42 PM

    Burger and Fries

    Credit: Greg Nicholas

    Meal planner: An ancient enzyme in the brain appears to guide food
    choices in omnivores to promote a balanced diet

    If you're having trouble eating healthy, maybe you need to speak with
    your internal nutritionist.

    Mammals including humans appear to have such a nutritionist in the
    form of an ancient brain molecule that regulates food choices.

    The [8]enzyme and its molecular mechanism are likely to be important
    for all mammals that eat a varied diet comprising meat and vegetables,
    say researchers.

    Called [9]GCN2 kinase, the enzyme initiates events relaying
    information to the brain about foods' [10]amino acid content.

    This enables animals to adjust their food intake in favor of a more
    balanced meal.

    Researchers have previously identified the molecular mechanism in
    yeast and rats. [11]David Ron of the [12]New York University School of
    Medicine and colleagues have now found it in mice, suggesting that
    it's likely to be conserved in humans.

    "This ancient pathway in mice recognizes drops in blood amino acid
    levels that occur following consumption of food with an imbalanced
    composition," says Ron. "That recognition culminates in a behavioral
    response that limits consumption of the imbalanced food and favors, by
    default, a more balanced diet."

    Balanced diet

    While most of the 20 amino acids can be synthesized by the body, eight
    must be obtained from food.

    Omnivorous animals such as humans are known to consume less of a meal
    lacking essential amino acids than meals that are nutritionally

    To determine the role of GCN2 kinase in such behavior, Ron and
    colleagues inactivated the enzyme in the brains of mice.

    The mice subsequently had no aversion to imbalanced meals.

    "There's no reason to believe that the same mechanism isn't at work in
    humans," says Ron.

    But cultural influences and an instinctive drive to consume
    calorie-dense foods, says Ron, might override the molecular
    nutritionist's ability to promote a balanced diet.

    The research is reported in the journal [13]Cell Metabolism ([14]read


    8. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/enzyme
    9. http://www.google.ca/search?q=GCN2+kinase
   10. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/amino_acid
   11. http://www.med.nyu.edu/people/D.Ron.html
   12. http://www.med.nyu.edu/
   13. http://www.cellmetabolism.org/
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