The impact of music on metabolism

Nutrition. Nov-Dec 2012;28(11-12):1075-80. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2012.01.020. Epub 2012 Aug 2.


The study of music and medicine is a rapidly growing field that in the past, has been largely focused on the use of music as a complementary therapy. Increasing interest has been centered on understanding the physiologic mechanisms underlying the effects of music and, more recently, the suggested role of music in modulating metabolic responses. Research has established a role for music in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, the sympathetic nervous system, and the immune system, which have key functions in the regulation of metabolism and energy balance. More recent findings have shown a role for music in the metabolic recovery from stress, the regulation of gastric and intestinal motility, the moderation of cancer-related gastrointestinal symptoms, and the increase of lipid metabolism and lactic acid clearance during exercise and postexercise recovery. The purpose of this article is to summarize the most current understanding of the mechanisms by which music affects the metabolic responses in the context of potential applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
  • Immune System / metabolism
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Music*
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / metabolism
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology