Unfortunately, there is no single cause of obesity. Rather, it arises due to a range of different factors such as diet, physical activity, environment and feeding behaviour just to name a few. Because the cause of obesity is so multifactorial, it’s hard to pinpoint one all encompassing solution to managing and preventing it. One area of research regarding obesity is feeding behaviour, which is affected by both physiological and psychological factors. Taking away the psychology of how and why we eat, feeding behaviour is governed by circulating hormones, nutrients and other compounds.
It makes sense then, that disruptions to this neural circuitry is one of the major causes of obesity and also lack of success in trying to combat it. These physiological aspects of feeding behaviour is also the subject of intense fascination by the scientific community as it represents a somewhat easier solution to the problem of obesity. One of the more common research areas is analysing how different ingredients and supplements might affect the physiological aspects of feeding behaviour with the amino acid Taurine leading the charge.
One recent study by Camargo et al examined mice fed high fat diets of varying protein distributions and the effect of Taurine supplementation. They found that:
- Taurine was able to prevent fat gain if there was enough protein in the diet
- Taurine supplementation was able to help prevent leptin resistance (leptin being the hormone that inhibits hunger)
- Taurine supplementation helps to modulate food intake only when enough protein is present in the diet
Perhaps the biggest take away point from the study is that protein is vital if you want to manage and prevent obesity. Without adequate protein, your body will try to compensate by eating more as a way to obtain that protein. This is part of the protein leverage theory, which has gained traction in the last few years as a possible reason why obesity rates have been increasing. The other important take away point is that Taurine supplementation may represent a vital point of research as an ingredient that can help manage obesity, especially in an environment of food excess. While there haven’t been any dosing recommendations, 500 mg – 2000 mg are commonly used in human studies examining taurine supplementation that avoid any negative side effects.
1. Camargo RL, Batista TM, Ribeiro RA, Branco RC, Da Silva PM, Izumi C, Araujo TR, Greene LJ, Boschero AC, Carneiro EM. ‘Taurine supplementation preserves hypothalamic leptin action in normal and protein-restricted mice fed on a high-fat diet.’ Amino Acids. 2015 Jul 2.