Scientists Identify Liver Hormone That Can Reduce Cravings for Sweet and Alcohol

Scientists Identify Liver Hormone That Can Reduce Cravings for Sweet and Alcohol

A team of scientists claims that they have recently identified a liver hormone that can help reduce cravings for sweet and alcohol. This hormone acts on the brain’s reward pathway, an advance that may help to develop a treatment for alcoholism.

The team said the hormone they have discovered is produced by the liver. The hormone called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) suppresses the consumption of simple sugars.

Co-senior author of the study, Steven Kliewer, professor of molecular biology and pharmacology at UT Southwestern medical centre, said, “This is the first time a hormone made in the liver has been shown to affect sugar and alcohol preference in mammals”.

Study researchers said the hormone is associated with environmental stress, such as extreme dietary changes or cold temperature exposure. It is also produced when mammals consume carbohydrates.

Kliewer said their study’s findings clearly raise the possibility that FGF21 could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviors in humans. It also claims that the hormone can potentially be used to treat alcoholism.

The researchers, during the study on mice, found that mice with increased levels of FGF21 showed very less interest in sweetener and alcohol-laced water.

Co-senior author David Mangelsdorf said they found that FGF21 administration markedly reduces sweet and alcohol preference in mice and sweet preference in larger animal models.

They previously were aware that FGF21 can enhance insulin sensitivity. The findings of the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism suggest that some additional studies are needed to assess the effects of FGF21 on sweet and alcohol preference and other reward behavior in humans.

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