Dieters may be driven to overeat because of low amounts of a key chemical in the brain that suppresses appetite, a study suggests.
Serotonin is made in the brain with a building block called tryptophan, which the brain gets from the bloodstream.
The new study suggests that dieting shortchanges the brain on tryptophan delivery, reducing the production of serotonin.
The shortfall in serotonin could give dieters the urge to overeat, said researchers at Littlemore Hospital in Oxford, England. The researchers describe their study in today’s issue of the journal Nature.
Drugs that suppress appetite by acting on the receptors are already in use, but scientists say they may be able to find better ones.