A research team uncovered the specific molecular mechanism that is triggered by chronic administration of the hormone
The hormone melatonin tackles obesity on two levels, a new study finds.
Researchers from the University of Granada, University Hospital La Paz (Madrid) and the University of Texas investigated the effects of melatonin by administering the hormone to a group of diabetic fatty rats. They uncovered the specific molecular mechanism that is triggered by chronic administration of the hormone, News Medical reports.
The study recently published in the Journal of Pineal Research.
Firstly, melatonin increased the amount of brown adipose tissue (BAT), “good fat” that uses energy rather than storing it. In turn, this decreased the amount of dangerous white visceral fat in the abdominal region of the animals. The hormone also has a positive impact on thermogenesis, the process the body uses to burn calories and produce heat.
Seeing as thermogenesis is a process during which the body burns calories to produce heat and mitochondria are the organelles involved in this process, the study effectively demonstrates that melatonin does indeed help to curb weight gain.
These effects were observed in the rats, irrespective of other factors such as diet and physical exertion study author Professor Ahmad Agil Abdalla (University of Granada) explains.
Prof. Agil recommends melatonin treatment as a complementary weight loss strategy alongside an energy restricted diet and increased energy output in the form of physical activity. He also adds that we should do exercise in cold environments, as cold temperatures trigger thermogenesis, which in turn increases the calorie expenditure we can achieve.