According to research, angry drunks may be shielded from conditions associated with obesity.
In previous research, investigators at the University of Helsinki established that a point mutation in a serotonin 2B receptor gene may render an individual prone to reckless behavior, especially while intoxicated.
"The results also indicate that persons with this mutation are more impulsive by nature even when sober, and they are more likely to struggle with self-control or mood disorders," explained psychiatrist and the study's lead researcher Dr. Roope Tikkanen, as reported by a University of Helsinki press release.
However, the research team also discovered that the same gene point mutation may protect these individuals from insulin resistance and obesity, conditions associated with type 2 diabetes.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, consisted of 98 Finnish men aged 25 to 50 with antisocial personality disorder diagnoses. Their BMI, insulin sensitivity, and beta cell activity were examined throughout the process.
According to the study’s results, carriers of the serotonin 2B gene point mutation had lower BMIs and higher insulin sensitivity than individuals without the point mutation. Although men with low levels of testosterone are generally more prone to metabolic disorders, this trend was reversed among men with the point mutation, as low levels of testosterone were correlated with an increased level of insulin sensitivity.
"It is fascinating to think that this receptor mutation which has been passed through the chain of evolution would impact both the brain as impulsive behavior and energy metabolism," said Tikkanen, according to EurekAlert.
Tikkanen theorized that the effect of high levels of testosterone plus the mutation may have been essential for survival during prehistoric times.
"We could speculate that the compound effect the mutation and testosterone have on energy metabolism may have been beneficial in the cool, nutrition-poor environment after the Ice Age, particularly for men with a high physiological level of testosterone -- they would have survived with a lower calorie intake," Tikkanen theorized. "Simultaneously, the aggression associated with high levels of testosterone may have helped them compete for food."
Although this study did not focus on women, researchers believe female carriers of the mutation would be similarly protected.
"One would assume that the effect would be particularly pronounced in women, who naturally have lower levels of testosterone than men," Tikkanen said.