You may have a friend who’s said to you, “Just focus on being happy and weight-loss will follow.” And while this can seem like lofty self-help pep talk, science is officially in agreement.
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Biologists have long argued that serotonin levels are linked to how your body burns fat. But they never knew exactly how; let’s just say it was a strong hunch. In fact, you may have made the same generalization when observing that fit people tend to have more energy, be more social and look at the world through rosier-colored glasses.
But researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have uncovered the specific brain hormone that triggers your body to burn fat, finally solving the unsolved mystery of how higher serotonin levels equals fat loss. “This was basic science that unlocked an interesting mystery,” the senior author of the study, professor Supriya Srinivasan, tells Science Daily.
The biologists call the hormone FLP-7 (pronounced “flip 7”). According to the report, here’s what the fat-burning pathway looks like: First your brain produces serotonin in response to sensory cues, this signals another set of neurons to begin producing flip 7. Flip 7 then activates a receptor in intestinal cells, and the intestines begin turning fat into energy.
So there you have it.
Interestingly, the study also found that food intake doesn’t have an affect on this process. So the same pattern will ensue regardless of what or when you’ve eaten.
With this breaking new information, you’re now empowered to guide your body’s fat-burning ability. Just cook up some serotonin — and voila!
Some ways to boost your serotonin levels are through meditation, healthy relationships, laughter, exercise, sex and creative arts. Essentially, doing more of what makes you feel good will in turn reward you with looking your best. Sounds like a win-win to us.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you believe that your happiness level is linked to your weight? Will you make any changes now that you know the science behind the fat-burning pathway? What changes would you make?