Specialized Topics  
 Appetite Control    
 Appetite Hormones
 Weight Loss Genes
 Eating & Sex         
 Ghrelin & Leptin     
 Dr K's Diet            

The Connection Between Eating and Sex

How does the human body control appetite?  Does bright light really suppress appetite? Does one look at the light before or after meals? Our brain is plays fundamental role in the control of feeding, body weight and sexual function.

First a little review is needed. Sex steroids are essential for the regulation of the structure and function of the central nervous system. Early in life, these and other steroids shape the structure of sensitive areas of the brain, especially those involved in the control of reproductive behavior and sexual function. These hormones can be produced both in the brain and/or the adrenal gland.

The melanocortin system is a complex human pathway that controls pigmentation, fat metabolism, food intake, temperature adjustment, sexual behavior, memory and inflammatory response. Its hormones include alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), beta-MSH, gamma-MSH and the adrenocorticotropic hormone ACTH. Corticotropin releasing hormone, CRH tones down this important system. ACTH orders the release of cortisol from the adrenals through CRH intervention.

So the very system that triggers sex and ejaculation plays a role in trust and bonding. Melanocyte stimulating hormones regulate feeding behavior directly through Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). Alpha-MSH and ghrelin play significant yet opposite roles in the regulation of eating: alpha-MSH inhibits, whereas ghrelin stimulates consumption.  

Millington GW, et al. Differential effects of alpha-, beta- and gamma(2)-melanocyte-stimulating hormones on hypothalamic neuronal activation and feeding in the fasted rat. Neuroscience. 2001;108(3):437-45

Singru PS, Sánchez E, Fekete C, Lechan RM. Importance of melanocortin signaling in refeeding-induced neuronal activation and satiety. Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):638-46. Epub 2006 Oct 26.

Lu XY, Barsh GS, Akil H, Watson SJ.Interaction between alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and corticotropin-releasing hormone in the regulation of feeding and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal responses. J Neurosci. 2003 Aug 27;23(21):7863-72.


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Copyright © 2006-2009, Abraham H Kryger, MD, DMD.

Contact the Doctor: DrK@wellnessmd.com

Disclaimer: This book is for people in whom being overweight contributes to poor health and interferes with a desired, active lifestyle.  It is recommended that you consult your own physician before using any of the medications or supplements discussed in this book. The plans are not for everyone, Wellness MD on the Web does not warranty the results and shall have no liability for information provided on this or any other Internet website. The recommendations for dietary supplements are only for health purposes.  This information is provided solely as a guideline to be used when discussing a weight loss program with a medical professional.