Insulin Releases 'Happy' Chemicals, Study Finds

To diabetics, insulin is normally a hormone to be reckoned with.

Yet it plays a larger role than just blood sugar control, a recent study reveals.

Researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center found that the more insulin that is in the brain, the more dopamine is released - the latter of which is the brain's "pleasure" chemical.

The study, according to lead investigator Dr. Margaret Rice, affirms that increased insulin levels can lead to higher dopamine levels, and also explains why food choices may be influenced when these chemicals are working in tandem.

Low-calorie vs. high-calorie diets

Rice and her team conducted a series of experiments on rats, one of which found a 20- to 55-percent increase in dopamine in conjunction with a rise in insulin activity after eating.

Another experiment involved feeding the rats either a low-calorie or a high-calorie diet. Rats on the low-calorie diet had a 10-fold greater sensitivity to rising insulin levels - meaning dopamine was released more quickly than in rats eating a normal diet.

Rats eating a high-calorie diet, in contrast, had no such responsiveness.

"Our work establishes what we believe is a new role for insulin as part of the brain's reward system and suggests that rodents, and presumably people, may choose to consume high-carb or low-fat meals that release more insulin - all to heighten dopamine release," Rice said.

Rice next plans to study how insulin can influence motivation and control around food, and whether insulin sensitivity changes due to weight gain or obesity can be reversed or prevented.

"If our future experiments prove successful, it could confirm our hypothesis that when people refer to an insulin-glucose rush, they may really be referring to a dopamine reward rush. And there are healthy ways to get that by making smart food choices."

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...