Guilt is an enzyme: why men over 30 often get fat
Many people who were slim and slim in younger years often gain weight quickly in the middle years from 30. Especially in men, an unattractive “place” quickly forms. However, this is not (only) due to extensive meals and little exercise. Researchers have found that a particular enzyme plays an important role here.
Losing weight is more difficult in old age
There are studies that show that women prefer men with a belly, but these are usually exceptions. The "place" is usually considered unattractive. However, it is usually difficult for those affected to get rid of their fat belly. This also has to do with the years of life. Because in old age, it is harder to lose excess weight. A certain enzyme is also responsible for this.
Genes are responsible for being overweight
In the past, people who put their overweight on the "bad genes" were mostly not taken seriously. Other factors also play a role, but genes are actually a major cause of who is fat or not.
In recent years, researchers around the world have gained new insights. For example, an international team of researchers found a gene responsible for obesity, and Japanese scientists reported that they discovered a gene that burns fat.
And US researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have now "identified an enzyme that could help fight obesity and fitness loss in middle years," says a post on the Science Daily portal.
An overactive enzyme
According to the scientists, an average American between the ages of 20 and 50 pounds around 15 pounds, although food intake usually decreases during this period.
In their study, they wanted to find out why this weight gain occurs in the middle years.
"In our society, weight gain in middle years (approx. 30 - 60 years) is mainly attributed to a poor lifestyle and a lack of willpower," said study author Dr. Jay H. Chung of the NIH.
But her study shows that "there is a genetic program that is driven by an overactive enzyme" that "promotes weight gain in the middle of life". The activity of the enzyme increases in both sexes.
Mitochondrial reduction promotes obesity
The research team used mice to test the potential key role this enzyme plays in obesity.
When they blocked the enzyme called “DNA-dependent protein kinase”, or DNA-PK for short, it was shown that this led to a 40 percent decrease in weight gain, the experts report.
Further work showed that DNA-PK promotes the conversion of nutrients into fat and reduces the number of mitochondria that convert fat into energy.
Mitochondria are abundant in young people, but they decrease significantly in older people. It has long been known that mitochondrial reduction can promote obesity.
Reducing obesity reduces health risks
The results, published in the journal "Cell Metabolism", could be important for numerous chronic diseases.
Because with lower rates of obesity, the number of diseases, the rates of which increase in old age, such as heart disease or diabetes as well as cancer and Alzheimer's, could decrease.
Scientists believe that reducing DNA-PK activity can decrease fat deposition, increase mitochondrial counts, and promote fat burning.
Weight loss medication
"The study opens the door to the development of a new type of weight loss medication that could work by inhibiting DNA-PK activity," said Chung. However, he found that so far only insights into the effects on mice are available.
So until such medicines are available, middle-aged people struggling with obesity should continue to rely on traditional recommendations, the researchers said.
Calorie intake should be reduced and physical activity intensified. Patience is also required: such a belly did not develop overnight, nor does it disappear at a rapid pace. (ad)