It seems like a no brainer to assume that there is a biological link between stress & obesity, but until recently there has not been any concrete scientific research to back up those thoughts.
Perhaps you know from personal experience, from observing friends and family, or from the media, but it has long been suspected that being stressed or strained can lead to over eating, and recently a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (headed by Professor Hermona Soreq from the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences and the Department of Biological Chemistry at the Faculty of Mathematics and Sciences) have finally uncovered the link between the two.
Now for the complicated bit: at a molecular level, a type of microRNA has been revealed that influences inflammation in the brain and the gut. When we are in stressful situations this inflammatory response is generated as well as the development of processes that lead to metabolic syndrome, which can include obesity and high blood pressure. MicroRNA is a relatively new finding itself, only being discovered in the 1990s, it was originally considered “junk DNA” before scientists found that it plays an important role in regulating protein production. First published in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine, these findings allow for new possibilities for both detecting and treating anxiety and obesity, which could have a huge impact on how both obesity and anxiety are treated.
In relation to metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes, and anxiety disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias, these new findings pave the way for groundbreaking diagnoses and treatments, as DNA-based drugs will be able to manipulate these microRNAs.
Since these discoveries are so new, only time will tell how this impacts the health and fitness landscape, as well as the world of science, but no matter what, the more we know, and the better our understanding of our own bodies, the closer we are to curing or preventing obesity and anxiety based disorders altogether.