That nasty ole belly fat

Here's an excerpt from a science journal that is kinda interesting. Apparently just having extra fat around your middle is enough to make you hungrier--which of course triggers eating and more fat. Fat wants company? It would appear to be so. Weird.

Can your belly fat be making you hungrier?

According to a recent issue of The FASEB Journal, the extra fat we carry around our middle could be making us hungrier, so we eat more, which in turn leads to even more belly fat.

Dr. Yaiping Yang and his colleagues at the Lawson Health Research Institute, which is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario, found that abdominal fat tissue can produce a hormone that stimulates fat cell production. Yang calls the hormone Neuropeptide Y or NPY. Discovring that this hormone is produced by abdominal fat tissue was a surprise since previously NPY was believed to be produced only by the brain. Yang believes this novel finding may lead to new therapeutic targets for combating obesity.

The traditional view is that one of the main reasons why overweight people eat more food is because their brains produce the hormone NPY in excessive amounts. NPY is the most potent appetite stimulating hormone known, sending signals to the individual that they are constantly hungry.

While a fat cell cannot replicate itself, the researchers found that NPY does increase fat cell number by stimulating the replication of fat cell precursor cells, which then change into fat cells. According to Yang, "this may lead to a vicious cycle where NPY produced in the brain causes you to eat more and therefore gain more fat around your middle, and then that fat produces more NYP hormone which leads to even more fat cells."

Next, the researchers will be investigating whether NPY produced by fat is released into the body's circulatory system. "We want to know if NPY could potentially be transported in the blood to the brain where it in turn has an impact on the brain to stimulate feelings of hunger," says Yang. If the researchers find that NPY is in fact transported in the blood circulation then it may be possible to develop a simple blood test to detect increased levels of NPY. "If you can detect NPY early and identify those at risk for abdominal obesity we can then target therapy to turn off NPY. It would be much easier to use drugs to prevent obesity than to treat the diseases caused by obesity."


kenju said…
Oh, joy! so that's why I am ravenous lately. I did start an exercise program this week, which I hope to keep up, so maybe I can tackle my belly that way!
kenju said…
Back again. Thanks for the visit and yes, I do have a new header. Hope you like it. I couldn't get the photo to fit perfectly, but I don't care....LOL

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