Fasting hormone increases motivation for sport

Fasting hormone increases motivation for sport

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Limiting eating can increase motivation for exercise

According to a new study, restricting access to food can increase motivation for sports. This was found in experiments with mice. The researchers now want to carry out further tests to confirm these findings in humans.

Japanese researchers have found that restricting access to food in mice increases the level of the hormone ghrelin, which can also increase motivation for exercise. The study, published in the journal "Journal of Endocrinology", suggests that an increase in the appetizing hormone ghrelin after a period of fasting prompted the mice to do sports voluntarily. These new findings suggest that better dietary controls, such as restricting meals at mealtimes or temporarily fasting, could help overweight people maintain a more effective workout, lose weight, and avoid complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

Eat less and move more

According to a statement published in the EurekAlert! Magazine, obesity is an expensive and growing global health epidemic that requires more effective intervention strategies to prevent serious complications such as heart disease and diabetes.

Limiting food intake and regular exercise are the two main strategies for preventing and treating obesity. However, the condition is often associated with a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits such as snacking and binge eating. Because of lack of motivation, it can be difficult for those affected to maintain a regular training program over a longer period of time.

Ghrelin, which is often referred to as the "hunger hormone", stimulates appetite and motivation to eat. It has also been reported to be essential for endurance training by increasing metabolism to meet the energy needs of longer training sessions. Previous studies have suggested a connection between ghrelin and training, but it is not known whether the ghrelin level has a direct influence on the motivation for training.

Restricted food intake led to more exercise

In this study, Dr. Yuji Tajiri and colleagues from the medical school at Kurume University in Japan investigated the relationship between movement and ghrelin levels in mice. The researchers compared feed intake and running activity in mice with free access to feed to those that were only fed twice a day for a limited time.

Although both groups consumed a similar amount of food, the restricted mice ran significantly more. Genetically modified mice that did not have ghrelin ran less with restricted feeding than the mice that were given free access to food. However, this could be remedied by the administration of ghrelin. In addition, mice that were given free access to food and ghrelin also ran significantly more.

New knowledge should be confirmed in humans

Dr. Tajiri commented: “Our results suggest that hunger that promotes ghrelin production can also increase motivation for voluntary training if feeding is limited. Therefore, maintaining a healthy eating routine with regular meals or fasting can also motivate people who are overweight to exercise. ”

Dr. However, Tajiri warned, “These results and previous reports are based on animal studies. Much more work is required to confirm that this ghrelin reaction also occurs in humans. If it can be proven in clinical practice, this not only opens up new, cost-effective nutritional and exercise strategies, but could also indicate a new therapeutic application for ghrelin-mimicking drugs. "

Dr. Tajiri and his team are now planning to conduct further experiments to confirm this finding in humans. They want to investigate more closely how ghrelin affects the motivation to eat or exercise in the brain in order to explore possible clinical benefits for the treatment and prevention of obesity. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • EurekAlert !: Limiting mealtimes may increase your motivation for exercise, (accessed: October 19, 2019), EurekAlert!

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