New Study Reveals How Cocaine Stops the Body From Storing Fat | The Fix
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New Study Reveals How Cocaine Stops the Body From Storing Fat

The study also revealed how weight gain in recovering addicts can result in unhappiness and potential relapse.

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By John Lavitt

03/04/14

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In a new study reported on by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it turns out cocaine does a lot more than just suppress appetites. According to the latest research, cocaine also stops the body from storing fat. Such conclusions undermine the long-believed supposition that cocaine addicts were thin because the illegal drug diminished their desire to eat. The frightening implications of these conclusions is the possibility that they will give cocaine abusers one more ugly excuse to use the drug.

Based in the Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at the University of Cambridge, Researcher Dr. Karen Ersche and her team compared 30 cocaine-dependent men to 30 healthy men. The researchers evaluated body composition, diets, and eating behaviors for each patient. They also measured leptin levels of the study participants because this hormone plays a crucial role in regulating appetite. Despite the loss of weight in the men using the cocaine, the leptin levels were strangely reduced.

As a result of these findings, the researchers discovered that getting sober from cocaine naturally results in dramatic weight gain. Faced with a sudden gain in weight, their subsequent unhappiness results in a profound craving to use the drug again.

Not surprisingly, the Cambridge study revealed that cocaine users had worse diets than healthy people, choosing to eat fatty foods, carbohydrates, and lots of sugary snacks. What proved dumbfounding was the cocaine abusers still experienced significant weight loss despite such unhealthy diets. Their overall body fat was significantly reduced when compared to the control group on the placebo. Once they stopped using cocaine, given their lower levels of leptin, they were more likely to overeat and gain weight.

Expressing her worry in regards to the possible negative implications of the study, Ersche underscored a frightening reality made much more apparent by the study results.

“The stress caused by this conspicuous body change can also contribute to relapse. It is therefore important that we better understand the effects of cocaine on eating behavior and body weight to best support drug users on their road to recovery," Ersche said. "Notable weight gain following cocaine abstinence is not only a source of major personal suffering but also has profound implications for health and recovery.”

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