Nutritional supplement uridine, a precursor to RNA, may be able to treat eating disorders by increasing feelings of hunger in those with eating disorders. The corresponding study was published in Cell Reports Medicine.
Recent studies in mice have found that blood levels of uridine are linked to feeding behaviors: uridine levels increase when fasting and quickly decrease when eating. These findings suggest that uridine may signal an organism's nutritional status and indicate a potential role in regulating energy balance.
In the present study, researchers investigated whether uridine has similar effects in humans. To find out, they recruited healthy normal-weight human participants to eat a personal ad-libitum buffet after ingesting either 0.5 g or 1 g of uridine or a placebo.
The buffet extended for several hours and was regularly refilled without the particpants' knowledge. Before and during the meal, the researchers measured their blood uridine levels, subjective hunger, and food intake.
In the end, they found that higher uridine levels were consistently linked to higher hunger ratings and larger food intakes. They also found that uridine supplementation significantly increases hunger ratings and total food intake among participants- especially those with higher lean body mass. They noted that optimum results were achieved with just 0.5 g.
The researchers noted that their current findings are limited due to their small sample size. They further wrote that their study did not shed light on the long-term effects of uridine supplementation, as they only monitored the effects of one dose.
“We now know that uridine can also control food intake in humans, " Dr. Lionel Rigoux of the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, not involved in the study, said in a press release.
"It may also be able to help increase the feeling of hunger in patients with eating disorders as a dietary supplement. However, we do not yet know whether the effect of uridine is strong enough to overcome the psychological causes. More clinical studies are needed for this," he noted.
Sources: Neuroscience News, Cell Reports Medicine