The sun gives appetite to men, but not to women

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DiscoveryThe sun gives appetite to men, but not to women

Scientists surprisingly found that UV rays release a hormone that stimulates food intake, but that the female hormone estrogen turns it off.

Ultraviolet rays cause fat cells in men's skin to secrete the appetite hormone.

Ultraviolet rays cause fat cells in men’s skin to secrete the appetite hormone.

Getty Images / istockphoto

Scientists never expected to find a link between skin and appetite. Coincidentally, they did. While studying the mechanisms of skin cancer, researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel discovered that males exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays ate more in mice.

To find out if the same phenomenon occurs in humans, the scientists went to look at data from the regular national survey of the eating habits of the Israeli population, in which about 3,000 people participated. They found that between March and September, men consumed 17% more calories per day than the rest of the year, while this number remained constant among women, he writes. new world.

Investigating the cause, and back in mice, the scientists discovered that UV rays increase the secretion of a hormone called ghrelin in the skin’s fat cells. This was also observed in skin samples from men exposed to UV rays. Until now, it was believed that the hormone ghrelin is only secreted by our bodies when our stomachs are empty. We find that ultraviolet rays play a role, too.

fueling excessive activity

Women do not have this effect because estrogen blocks ghrelin, the female hormone. Now it remains to find the link between the sun and appetite. Carmit Levy, author of the study published in nature metabolism. The skin is the largest organ in the body, so it makes sense that this huge organ can sense the environment, sense the presence of UV rays simultaneously and now it’s time to get out. As stated in the article, researchers have not studied whether this increased appetite for the sun is accompanied by weight gain in men.

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