Is obesity linked to addiction?

In 2009, an analysis of eight different research projects that investigated more than 31,000 obese individuals found an association between waist circumference and a variant of neurexin 3 (NRXN3), a protein found in the brain. The findings of the study indicated that the variant influences overall adiposity, that is the deposition of fatty tissue throughout the body, not just in the abdominal region. This indicates a more complex and generalized role of the protein in fat storage.

NRXN3 is known to be present in the central nervous system, and it is associated with alcohol dependence, cocaine addiction, and illegal drug abuse. The area of the brain in which the addiction pathway travels also takes part in the learning and reward responses. The addition of fat deposition to the roles of the protein raises the question of obesity as a byproduct of addiction. To what extent does food addiction or desire contribute to increased fat deposits and, consequently, weight gain and obesity?

Read more about the work on the association of neurexin-3 waist circumference and the link between obesity and addiction.

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