But oxidants are not all bad….
Oxidation drives our cell metabolism
To extract the energy from the food we eat, requires an oxidation process.
The chemical reaction is called combustion when it happens outside of the body, inside it is respiration.
The glucose molecule is torn apart, releasing highly energized electrons. The electrons buzz around like crazy in the mitochondria. As they whizz back and forth across the membranes the energy is used to create ATP (cell money).
Eventually oxygen scoops up the electrons which have lost some of their buzz but not all of it. In the process reactive oxygen species (ROS) are created.
Free radicals suppress appetite
Reseachers from Yale School of Medicine have discovered that these free radicals hit the appetite off switch, located in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that is responsible for controlling appetite.
So after scoffing down a meal, glucose levels rise, glucose is then taken up by the cells and used for fuel. As the glucose is burned, a flurry of radicals floods the specialized nerve cells (melanocortin neurons), giving the brain the message to stop munching, because the cells have all just eaten more than enough. Everybody is SATISFIED !
But obese mice, and obese humans, don’t seem to heed the message.
Mopping up operations dull the message
The free radical clearing system that kicks in, in the neurons are little structures, called peroxisomes. The more oxidative stress a cell experiences on a routine basis, the more peroxisomes it produces, to prevent damage, so exposure to excess calories on a regular basis creates an efficient mopping up operation.
In obese mice, these organelles efficiently clear away the free radicals, so they fail to get the full message. The unfortunate consequence of this, is they keep eating long past what was needed.
Full signal defective
So, if you’re struggling with weight, you can’t always rely on your brain to let you know when to stop.
Help it out by limiting how much food you load on your plate and don’t be tempted to go for seconds. You’re NOT REALLY hungry.
And stay away from buffets – you won’t have a clue when to STOP !Peroxisome proliferation–associated control of reactive oxygen species sets melanocortin tone and feeding in diet-induced obesity. Nature Medicine (2011) 17 : 1121-1127. Sabrina Diano, Zhong-Wu Liu, Jin Kwon Jeong, Marcelo O Dietrich, Hai-Bin Ruan, Esther Kim, Shigetomo Suyama, Kaitlin Kelly, Erika Gyengesi, Jack L Arbiser, Denise D Belsham, David A Sarruf, Michael W Schwartz, Anton M Bennett, Marya Shanabrough, Charles V Mobbs, Xiaoyong Yang, Xiao-Bing Gao, Tamas L Horvath.
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