The female brain is "networked" differently, which is why women gain weight faster
Are you one of those people who carry a bit too much weight with them? Then you have probably already tried to lose weight. Regardless of whether through diet or more exercise, losing weight is usually not a simple matter. But it seems to be even harder for women to lose weight. British scientists came to this conclusion based on their current research results.
Many people have problems losing weight. However, it seems to be even harder for women to lose weight. This could be due to a part of the female brain that produces a hormone that regulates our appetite, physical activity, and calorie consumption. This works differently for women than for men, the researchers at the University of Aberdeen claimed. The scientists published the results of their current study in the journal "Molecular Metabolism".
Hormone could make it difficult for women to lose weight
Losing weight actually seems to be harder for women. A hormone that regulates appetite could be responsible for this. This works differently for women than for men, the doctors explain. The researchers came to this conclusion by experimenting on mice. During the study, the scientists were able to convert overweight male mice with increased appetite and reduced physical activity into lean and healthy mice. Unfortunately, this conversion did not succeed in female animals, say the experts. Gender really does seem to make a big difference in weight gain. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that women have higher rates of obesity worldwide. In some parts of the world, the value is twice as high as that of men.
Proopiomelanocortin neurons have a big impact on our weight
There is currently no difference in how obesity is treated in men and women. However, this should be reconsidered in the future. Because the part of the human brain that has a significant impact on the way we process our calories is wired differently for women and men. The cells in this region of the brain produce important hormones. These so-called proopiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides regulate our appetite, physical activity, energy consumption and body weight, the researchers explain. The POMC neurons are therefore very important for the treatment of obesity and for the development of a drug for the treatment of obesity, adds Dr. Luke Burke added.
POMC neurons work differently in women and men
Scientists have found that POMC neurons do not work the same way in women as they do in men. The obesity drug Lorcaserin specifically affects the appetite in male and female mice. In male mice, the drug also has the advantage of changing physical activity and energy expenditure. In female mice, this source of POMC peptides does not affect physical activity or energy expenditure. So while the drug can effectively reduce appetite in women, it doesn't trigger signals in the brain that affect physical activity and energy expenditure. The results could have an impact on the development of new gender-specific drugs and thus enable better coping with the obesity epidemic in the future, explains lead author Professor Lora Heisler.
Obesity and its health consequences
Obesity is a very big problem worldwide. Over half of people in the UK are overweight and one in four people there are obese. This is an enormous proportion of the population. Given the connections between obesity and serious medical conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, it is important to find new effective treatment methods, says Prof. Heisler. The current study shows that a gender difference in physical activity, energy consumption and body weight is triggered by a specific source of the brain, the so-called POMC peptides. These findings could have far-reaching implications for the development of anti-obesity drugs. So far, the gender of the individual has been ignored, emphasizes Prof Heisler.