Feeling Full? It May Be Your Intestines Telling You To Stop Eating

The researchers discovered that intestinal stretch sensors could tell when the stomach is full.

Edited by Neha Grover (with inputs from IANS)  |  Updated: November 16, 2019 18:49 IST

Feeling Full? It May Be Your Intestines Telling You To Stop Eating

Intestines send a signal to the brain when stomach is full.

Did you know what makes your brain give a signal when you are stated during a meal and tell you to stop eating any further? There can be many things inside the body producing the feeling of satiation. One of them might be your intestines! Coming as a surprise to many, a new study reveals that when we eat to the optimal level, our intestines stretch out and tells the brain that we have eaten enough. As per the findings of the research, our gut has an extensive web of nerve endings lining the intestines. The hormone-sensitive nerve endings monitor and calculate the contents of the stomach and intestine and connect with the brain to tell it when the stomach is full. However, it had not been clear till recently, what type of neurons play the role in the process.

Neuroscientist Zachary Knight, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and associate professor in the Department of Physiology at University of California San Francisco, said, "Given how central eating is to our lives, it is remarkable that we still don't understand how our bodies know to stop being hungry when we eat food."

(Also Read: Weight Loss: Eating This Way Can Trick Your Brain Into Feeling Full!)


Gut has a network of nerve endings that monitors the content of intestines and stomach. 

Since, there are thousands of sensory nerves involved in collecting sensory information from the stomach and intestines; it was difficult to determine the exact neuron into play. In order to find it, a team of researchers led by postdoctoral researcher Ling Bai studied the molecular and anatomical identities of the vagal sensory cell type neurons innervating the stomach and intestine.

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The researchers stimulated different types of vagal neurons in mice, which led them on to discover that intestinal stretch sensors could tell even hungry mice when their stomachs were full. The findings were published in the journal Cell.

"The vagus nerve is the major neural pathway that transmits information from gut to brain, but the identities and functions of the specific neurons that are sending these signals were still poorly understood," Bai added.


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