It can be said that the brain, which controls each function in the body by calculating one by one, like a biological computer system, is actually a universe scaled to the human body in terms of what we know about it. In short, we can say that what we know about the full capacity and functions of the brain is rather limited.
However, with each scientific research done on this issue, the end of what we know continues to develop a little more. Now, a new study published in Nature Metabolism sheds light on the mystery of which part of the brain controls the eating urges during pregnancy, known as ‘craving’.
Craving takes place in the brain’s reward circuits and areas responsible for taste, sensory and motor systems
Craving, which pregnant women generally feel during the first 4 months of their pregnancy, keeps from ordinary food. and sometimes it can include a lot of things, from food combinations that can be quite strange. So how do these cravings start and in what part of the brain do they start?
In tests on pregnant mice, where the research team discovered that just like humans, they crave during pregnancy, changes were discovered in the brain’s reward circuits and brain areas responsible for taste, sensory, and motor systems. The team detected higher dopamine levels and increased activity from the dopamine receptor D2R in a region of the brain’s reward system within the mesolimbic pathway, which is responsible for providing dopamine hits during pregnancy in female mice and rewarding the brain for actions.
“This finding shows that pregnancy causes a complete reorganization of mesolimbic neural circuits through D2R neurons,” said neurobiologist Roberta Haddad-Tóvolli of the August Pii Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute in Spain. — and their exchange — will be responsible for the cravings, as the food cravings that are typical during pregnancy have disappeared after inhibiting their activity.” He uses his words. Don’t be misled by the fact that this study is about rats. If anything, the mouse brain, and the human brain have enough in common for scientists to think that human mothers-to-be go through a similar process.
Eating anything craving may negatively affect a baby’s development
However, craving is thought to support embryonic growth in various ways; However, the fact that high-calorie foods that pregnant women crave have potentially negative effects on babies and their mothers poses a problem. Then, examining the offspring of pregnant mice that ate whatever they wanted as a result of craving, the researchers observed that there were differences in metabolism and neural circuits in the new generation.
Neurobiologist Marc Claret from the University of Barcelona, who mentioned that the results they obtained were shocking, stated that many of the previous studies in this field focused on how the mother’s persistent habits such as obesity, malnutrition, or chronic tension affect the health of the baby. This study shows that brief but repetitive behaviors such as craving are sufficient to increase the mental and metabolic vulnerability of the offspring.” saves as.
In follow-up tests on rat pups, the researchers state that they identified potential problems with weight gain, anxiety, and eating disorders in the offspring. Although it is not known for certain whether these data are valid for humans as well, it can be said that the results of the research do not indicate very well.
However, the team behind the study hopes that the research can help contribute to nutritional guidelines for expectant mothers and therefore to the well-being of both mother and baby. Researchers also draw attention to the importance of conducting as much scientific research as possible on the underlying causes of craving during pregnancy. On the matter, Claret states, “Although there are many myths and well-known beliefs about these cravings, the neuronal mechanisms that cause them are not widely known.”