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Narcoleptic Drug, the Next Best Weight-Loss Pill to Curb Food Addiction, Research Says

Dec 15, 2016 05:20 AM EST
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Research shows food addicts lack a certain type of dopamine in their body, leading them to eat more than they need to in order to feel pleasure.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A solution that will once and for all end the worldwide obesity crisis may be on the horizon. While there are numerous factors that contribute to the rise in obesity, a significant amount of scientific evidence shows that aside from the lack of self-control, which is considered as a behavioral disorder, it's also an issue of addiction to foods packed with fat and sugar.

Our body is programmed to release dopamine in the pleasure/reward part of our brain whenever we get a bite of great-tasting foods. On the contrary, research shows that food addicts lack a certain type of dopamine in their body, leading them to eat more than they need to in order to feel pleasure.

Impulsive behavior was also cited as another trigger of food addiction.

Researchers - Ivo Vlaev (The University of Warwick) and Myutan Kulendran, Laura Wingfield, Colin Sugden, and Ara Darzi, (Imperial College London) - discovered that Modafinil (a treatment drug used for narcolepsy, shift work disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness) can decrease impulsivity and in turn food addiction, Eureka Alert reported.

"We found Modafinil, which is already on the market, did reduce people's impulsive behavior. It has been shown to reduce impulsiveness in a variety of disorders such as alcohol dependence, schizophrenia and ADHD. Food addicts suffer from the same neurobiological conditions so we believe it will help food addicts as well and our initial tests have backed up that theory," Professor Leav stated, Science Daily wrote.

The study entitled "Pharmacological manipulation of impulsivity: A randomized controlled trial" looked into 60 men aged between 19 and 32, with 20 taking a placebo, 20 Atomoxetine and 20 Modafinil.

"Modafinil was found to have an effect on impulsivity in healthy individuals and so would be able to have an even bigger effect on food addicts, who are lacking in certain types of dopamine," said Professor Vlaev.

"This drug could be a real help to those people struggling to control their desire for food even though they know they should lose weight.

"The drug improves self-control, which is a key factor in determining obesity, so our hypothesis is that this drug should help in treating the disease," he explained further.

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