Aerobic Exercise as an Appetite Suppressant
In a small study of overweight and obese adults, 3 months of aerobic exercise, with no change in diet, led to a significant decrease in body fat and a spontaneous decrease in caloric intake. The percentage of weight loss and the reduction in caloric intake correlated positively and significantly with concentrations of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a role in appetite regulation. Increases of this compound may possibly suppress appetite.
In the study, researchers evaluated blood levels of BDNF before and after 3 months of aerobic exercise in 15 overweight or obese men and women. The participants ages 26-51 years exercised on a treadmill and bicycle.
At the end of the 3-month exercise period, study subjects experienced a significant decrease in BMI (from 30.6-30.1), waist circumference (from 108.1 to 105.1cm) and percentage body fat (35.2 to 33.3%). They also experienced a fall in systolic blood pressure (128.7 to 122.6 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (82.3 to 72.6 mmHg) and spontaneously consumed fewer calories each day.
Serum BDNF rose from 2.4 ng/mL before exercise to 7.8 ng/mL after exercise, and the concentration of BDNF was correlated positively with the percentage of weight loss to a fairly high degree.
This is great news for patients who struggle with appetite control, and may be an option to take the place of appetite suppressant medications.