Increased food intake due to sun exposure?
In a recent study, sun exposure was found to alter eating-related behaviors. Men appear to consume more food due to UVB exposure, which is associated with increased weight gain. Women, on the other hand, are not affected.
The study, involving experts from Tel Aviv University, looked at how UVB exposure affects foraging behavior and food intake. The results can be read in the English-language journal "Nature Metabolism".
What is sexual dimorphism?
The so-called sexual dimorphism describes not only different primary sex characteristics, but also different secondary sex characteristics between males and females. Thus, sexual dimorphisms are responsible for profound metabolic differences in health and behavior.
Do women and men react in the same way to environmental stimuli?
According to experts, it was previously unknown whether sexual dimorphisms in males and females also lead to different responses to environmental stimuli such as sun exposure. The new research should now clarify that.
Men more affected by sun exposure
To do this, the team analyzed epidemiological data from around 3,000 people over an entire year. It has been found that men are more affected by solar radiation and its seasonal fluctuations than women. In men, summer was associated with increased energy intake.
Change in eating behavior due to low UVB radiation
Additionally, in an animal study, experts found that daily exposure to low levels of UVB increased food intake and affected foraging behavior in male mice. These effects were not observed in female animals.
Role of ghrelin and p53 in increased appetite
In both male and male mice, increased appetite is correlated with increased blood ghrelin concentrations. Skin adipocytes produce and release ghrelin after UVB exposure, triggered by the DNA-damaging activity of p53, the team said.
Estrogen protects against increased ghrelin levels
In contrast, estrogen inhibited p53 activity in adipocytes in female animals. This prevented the increase in ghrelin levels in the females.
P53 seems to play a key role
When the animals completely lacked p53 in their fat cells, it was not associated with an increase in ghrelin levels in response to UVB radiation. In addition, the behavior of the mice during the search for food did not change, explain the researchers.
The results show that the skin is an important mediator of energy homeostasis. And the research team hopes that the study results could also lead to new therapeutic options for gender-specific treatments for endocrine diseases in the future. (as)
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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Sources:Shivang Parikh, Roma Parikh, Keren Michael, Lior Bikovski, Georgina Barnabas, et al. : Foraging Behavior Is Triggered by Dermal Ultraviolet Exposure in Humans; in: Nature Metabolism (published 07/11/2022), Nature Metabolism
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.