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Man, don't you have an appetite? go out in the sun

A study found that men who are in the sun eat more

Prof. Carmit Levy. Photo: Tel Aviv University spokesperson
Prof. Carmit Levy. Photo: Tel Aviv University spokesperson

Did you go out for fun in the sun and the boys in the group destroyed the side you brought? A new study by Tel Aviv University reveals that exposure to the sun stimulates appetite in men, but not in women.

The skin is appetizing

The groundbreaking research was conducted under the leadership of Prof. Carmit Levy and doctoral student Shivong Perik from the department of human molecular genetics and biochemistry at the medical school andIn collaboration with a long list of researchers from Israel and the world, including researchers from the Ichilov, Assuta, Meir and Tel Hashomer medical centers, as well as Dr. Yiftach Gefner and Dr. Lior Bikovsky from the Faculty of Medicine and Prof. Aharon Waller from Bar Ilan University. The study was published in the prestigious journal Nature Metabolism.

The study was conducted using epidemiological data collected over a whole year on the eating habits of approximately 3,000 Israeli women and men, through self-reporting by students who went out into the sun, and through a corresponding genetic study in model animals. The results of the study identify the skin as a primary regulator of energy and simple appetite (metabolism) in both model animals and humans.

Attention women: estrogen prevents the feeling of hunger

The research conducted on the model animals deciphers the differences in the activation of the metabolic mechanism between males and females. According to the researchers, both among male model animals and among human males, exposure to the sun activates a protein called p53 whose purpose is to repair DNA damage to the skin that ends due to exposure. The activation of p53 signals the body to secrete a hormone called ghrelin - which encourages appetite. On the other hand, among females, the estrogen hormone inhibits the interaction between p53 and ghrelin, so they do not feel the need to eat after exposure to the sun.

The researchers explain that there are dramatic metabolic differences between the sexes, which affect their health and behavior, but until now it was not clear whether males and females also respond differently to environmental triggers, such as exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

"We examined the differences between women and men after exposure to the sun and found that men eat more than women, because their appetite increases. This is the first time that the molecular connection between UV exposure and appetite has been deciphered, and of course the first time that a sex-based medical study has been conducted on the topic of UV exposure. Sex-based medical studies are much more complex, and require twice as many subjects to find statistically significant differences," explains Prof. Levy.

"We humans have shed our fur, which means that our skin, which is considered the largest tissue in the body, is exposed to receive signals from the environment. The protein p53 in the skin, which is designed to deal with the genetic damage of sun exposure, not only repairs the damage, but also signals to us that winter is over and we have gone out into the sun, perhaps even in order to prepare for the breeding season (but that is a topic for another study). The results form an encouraging basis for further research, both regarding metabolism in humans and for finding UV-based treatment methods for diseases and disorders of appetite and metabolism," she concludes.

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