Diet, “arginine” and “lysine” turn off hunger switches
From England comes an important discovery that may also have implications for our diet. Some scientists at the’University of Warwick, have identified neurons that directly control appetite: they are called “tanicites” and they produce a sense of satiety when they sense the presence of specific molecules (the amino acids), particularly two of them (arginine and lysine) found mainly in certain foods.
The research, published in the journal Molecular Metabolism, could have a twofold impact in the fight against overweight. First, in fact, he suggests that, by favoring foods that are rich in “arginine” and “lysine” (e.g., cod, apricots, avocados, almonds, lentils etc.), we can promote satiety more quickly (and thus specific diets could be developed in the future based on this knowledge). Secondly, a way could someday be found to activate from the outside with ad hoc drugs the satiety switches present on tanicites and thus stop hunger directly by acting on them.
Tanicites are a group of neurons found in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain already known to scientists to be involved in the control of weight, metabolism, and appetite. Experts have found that there are specific receptors on the surface of tanicites for amino acids, which are nothing more than the basic building blocks of proteins. These are the same receptors present on the tongue, in the taste buds, to sense the “umami” taste, which is precisely the characteristic flavor associated with amino acids.
Working on tanicites made fluorescent to make them visible under the microscope, experts found that as soon as they sense the presence of the amino acids, particularly arginine and lysine, the tanicites are activated by releasing a message of satiety to the hypothalamus’hypothalamus. In the meantime, notes Giovanni D’Agata, president of the “Sportello dei Diritti,” we could experiment on ourselves with the effectiveness of including the foods in question in our diets to test the effects on our personal level of satiety.