Biology

Scientists pinpoint protein that makes it harder to lose weight the fatter we get

Scientists pinpoint protein th...
Measuring sLR11 levels in humans showed that the levels of the protein in the blood were linked with total fat mass
Measuring sLR11 levels in humans showed that the levels of the protein in the blood were linked with total fat mass
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Measuring sLR11 levels in humans showed that the levels of the protein in the blood were linked with total fat mass
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Measuring sLR11 levels in humans showed that the levels of the protein in the blood were linked with total fat mass

The notion that the more weight people carry, the more difficulty they'll have slimming down isn't a surprising one, but an element of mystery still surrounds the exact mechanism that makes it increasingly difficult to shed that extra baggage. Scientists are now claiming to have zeroed in on a key factor, identifying a protein that stops fat cells from burning energy, a molecule they say could become a key target in treating obesity and other metabolic conditions.

The human body contains two types of fat. White fat stores excess energy, releasing it if it is needed or resulting in flabby love handles if it is not. The other type, brown fat, mostly performs the role of burning fat to generate heat and keep the body warm, a process known as thermogenesis. As our understanding of this has improved over recent years, research has uncovered proteins that may promote thermogenesis when targeted with diabetes drugs and chemical compounds, potentially creating more "good fat". But little is known about the proteins that inhibit it.

Now an international team of scientists has found a protein called sLR11 that suppresses thermogenesis. It was found that mice lacking the gene for the production of sLR11 were less capable of gaining weight, had higher amounts of energy and burned through calories faster, especially after feasting on high fat foods. A closer look revealed that sLR11 sticks to certain receptors on fat cells, like a key sliding into a keyhole, preventing thermogenesis being triggered.

Measuring sLR11 levels in humans showed that the protein's levels in the blood were linked with total fat mass. Observations of obese patients following bariatric surgery showed that the amount of resulting weight loss was proportional to reduced sLR11 levels, suggesting to the researchers that fat cells are responsible for generating sLR11.

So the more overweight a person is the more likely it is that they'll be carrying higher levels of sLR11, which in turn hinders the crucial thermogenesis process. The researchers say that the identification of the protein could lead to drugs designed to block its activity. Conversely, its effect on the body could be mimicked to encourage weight gain or save energy for treating conditions like anorexia nervosa.

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: University of Cambridge

5 comments
DonnaMcissac
It can be very hard to lose weight and keep it off for good. It takes constant motivation, dedication and a willingness to quickly pick yourself back up after you fall.
habakak
This makes sense. Obviously some people have a harder time losing weight or keeping it off, and as we get older it also gets harder (for most people). However most of it is still a choice. People in general are way too inactive and consume way too much calories. Maybe 5% of people have the problem as described in the article. For most of us it's due to our lazy habits and weak will.
susannepleasants
these findings are bringing us closer to finding a safe way to control weight loss and gain with potential medications or agents that can either block the protein “key” from fitting into its lock or mimic its effects with more fat cells becoming locked and prevented from releasing its stored energy. read more about healthy diet method here: http://evelyn-fit.com/vdiet.html
darkstar01
The solution to releasing stored fat is to decrease processed salts, and increase sea salt, using a diluted sea salt solution called SOLE (pronounced So-lay) made by pouring around 16 oz of Pink himalayan sea salt into a 64oz container which is all plastic, or all glass with no metal lids. Fill the container 90% full then shake it for 5-10 minutes to dissolve as much salt into the water as possible, then take 1tsp scoop off the top and add it to water or a bottle of water, shake or stir then drink 15 minutes before you eat, drink, take meds, etc... I've lost almost 100lbs in 4 months.
AGO
We solved this years ago! Fat accumulation and loss is a hormonal process in the body. No one "decides" to be lazy! If you eat the right foods, you will lose weight and be more active. If you eat the wrong foods, you will gain weight and therefore become sedentary (not the other way around!). The calorie hypothesis is rediculous and healthy carbs are a lie. If you are fat, then stop eating carbs, ketogenically adapt and lose weight and be healthy. It's that easy..... Carbs drive insulin which drives fat accumulation.