Similarities between chocoholics and heroin addicts?

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A study has found that the natural brain chemical enkephalin surged as rats ate chocolate.

The study used rats to investigate the effect of the brain chemical enkephalin on the urge to consume, using specifically M and M chocolates. Enkephalin is part of the brain chemical endorphins a natural mild form of opium, an active ingredient in heroin.

They also found that injecting a synthetic opiate, similar to enkephalin, into the dorsal neostriatum area of the brain  triggered a feeding frenzy in the rats. An effect that study leader Dr ALexandra DiFeliceantonio says is similar to that of drug addicts and those who are obese.

‘The same brain area tested here is active when obese people see foods and when drug addicts see drug scenes. It seems likely that our enkephalin findings  in rats mean that this neurotransmitter may drive some forms of overconsumption  and addiction in people,’ says Dr Alexandra DiFeliceantonio.

The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Michigan and was funded by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and  published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal: Current Biology.

Click here to view the full article on the Daily Mail.

Click here for more information from the NHS website.

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