Reduced circulating monoamines may have a role in the development of the metabolic syndrome (MetS), which is becoming a major health problem worldwide. Moreover, an association between anxiety disorder and MetS has been reported; however, it is not clear whether weight loss can diminish anxiety. This investigation is aimed to examine the effects of a weight loss intervention on peripheral monoamines levels and anxiety symptoms in subjects with metabolic syndrome (MetS). The study population encompassed subjects with MetS (age: 50±10 y.o. and BMI: 35.8±4.3 kg/m2) selected from the RESMENA study after they had completed the 6-month weight loss intervention (-30% energy). Anthropometric measurements, dietary records, anxiety symptoms, and blood monoamines levels were analysed before and after the intervention. Dopamine (DA) (+18.2%; 95% confidence interval (CI): -51.2 to -0.5) and serotonin (5-HT) (+16.1%; 95% CI: -26.3 to -2.2) blood levels were significantly increased after the intervention. Higher DA blood concentrations at the end of the study were inversely related with the carbohydrate intake during the study (B=-3.3; 95% CI: -8.4 to -0.4) and basal DA levels predicted a greater decrease in body weight and anthropometric parameters. Subjects with higher 5-HT concentrations after the weight loss intervention also showed a lower energy intake during the intervention (B=-0.04; 95% CI: -0.07 to -0.01). Additionally, anxiety symptoms decreased after the weight loss treatment (-28.3%; 95% CI: 6.2-20.4), which was parallel to a greater decrease in body weight and anthropometric markers, being related to lower 5-HT basal levels. Dietary restriction in patients with MetS may help in reducing anxiety symptoms, and also in increasing 5-HT and DA blood levels. These results provide further insights regarding emotional and neurological factors behind weight loss.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





98 - 106


Anxiety symptoms, Diet, Dopamine, Metabolic syndrome, Peripheral monoamines, Serotonin, Weight loss, Anxiety, Biogenic Monoamines, Caloric Restriction, Diet, Reducing, Dopamine, Female, Humans, Male, Metabolic Syndrome X, Middle Aged, Obesity, Serotonin, Weight Loss, Weight Reduction Programs