The hormone leptin, thought to be key to weight loss, might also improve your mood even if you're not overweight. Leptin, which is believed to control feelings of hunger, also helps prevent stressed-out mice from falling into despair, a condition comparable to depression in people, a new study suggests.
Leptin appears to be like other hormones that play more than one role in the brain, says Richard Simerly, director of the Neuroscience Program at the Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "They alter the way brain circuits function, and they do this not in just the areas that you'd expect." It's too early to know if leptin would help people recover from depression. But it's good news for a hormone that was unknown until its discovery about a decade ago, Simerly says.
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