According to a new study, researchers from Australia found that people who successfully lose weight have a significantly higher sympathetic nerve resting activity, compared to the people who tried to loss weight but have not succeeded. This study was accepted to be published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In this study were included obese volunteers who participated in a 12 week dietary weight loss program.
The peripheral nervous system consists of nerves and ganglia outside of the brain and spinal cord, which main role is to connect the central nervous system to the organs and to the limbs. A important part of peripheral nervous system is represented by the autonomic nervous system, a system of control, that is functioning below the level of consciousness and controls organ functions, like digestion, heart rate, salivation, breath rate, perspiration, urination, diameter of the pupils and sexual arousal. Most actions of autonomic nervous system are involuntary, but some actions like breathing can became conscious. The autonomic nervous system is divided into parasympathetic nervous system and sympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is regulating, below the level of consciousness, physiological functions which include the consumption of calories after a food intake and the resting metabolic rate. With this study, the scientist try to examine if exists a connection between weight loss and sympathetic nervous system in obese people who are on a low-calorie dietary program.
Lead author of the study, Nora Straznicky, PhD, at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia said that they were able to demonstrate for the first time that between weight loss and sympathetic nervous system there actually is a connection and the resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity is a independent predictor of weight loss. She also added that this findings can provide two opportunities. First is represented by the fact that physicians can now identify overweight or obese patients who can lose weight by changeing their lifestyle, such as dieting. The second opportunity is represented by the fact that in the near future the scientists can develop weight loss treatments which can stimulate this specific nervous activity.
The study included 42 obese individuals who participated in a 12 week dietary weight loss program that cut their daily caloric intake by 30 percent, for a period of 12 weeks. The researchers measured the resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity by microneurography, a procedure that introductes microelectrodes into nerve bundles. Measuring the activity of sympathetic nervous system, the scientists concluded that weight loss can be predicted by the resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity.