Switching off the hormone that influences the desire to eat can also help control the urge to drink, a new study has shown.
According to Jerlhag et al. at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, hormone ghrelin, typically released by the stomach and known to promote appetite and therefore the intake of food, also influences the consumption of alcohol.
The researchers found that mice injected with ghrelin and then given the choice of alcohol or water to drink, were more likely to choose alcohol.
At the same time, mice treated with ghrelin antagonists, as well as mice with the hormone's receptor removed proved resistant to the effects of alcohol.
Faculty of 1000 Biology reviewer Kent Berridge of the University of Michigan said that the ghrelin-injected mice showed more than a typical appetite for calories in choosing alcohol.
The researchers hope that the findings might influence treatment strategies for alcoholism.
The results were published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.