Scientists have found a major link between the heart, brain and stomach in a discovery that may open up new treatments for people with chronic heart failure or diabetes.
The study, published in the journal Diabetes, found that the hormone B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), which is generated by the heart, also has an appetite-inhibiting effect.
Austrian researchers from the Medical University of Vienna found that the heart not only reacts to hormones but it also produces some of these messenger substances itself.
They found increased release levels of the BNP hormone in patients with heart failure, and when produced in greater quantities, supports the heart's action resulting in the kidneys excreting more sodium and fluid and the vessels to dilate.
Researchers say that the latest findings hint to the reason behind why there is a relationship between chronic heart failure, the loss of appetite and dramatic weight loss, and suggest that the effect of the hormone BNP on the heart may directly suppress a patient's appetite.
Researchers said that up until now, all that was known was that there was a "brain-stomach link," a bi-directional relationship between the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, which is also one of the key triggers for the chronic conditions of irritable bowel syndrome and dyspepsia.
“The heart-brain-stomach link that has now been discovered apparently appears to exchange vital information with the brain and regulate key physical functions and, in patients with heart failure, clearly makes it easier for the heart to work effectively by reducing the patient's weight. This will open up interesting perspectives for new treatment concepts in chronic heart failure and diabetes," study author Luger Clodi said in a university release.