March 12, 2018

Losing weight? This might be DENGEROUS

Some people find it harder to lose weight than others, but why is this? A new study has identified a molecule in fat cells that could be to blame.
Woman standing on scales with a measuring tape
Researchers have uncovered one reason why some people may find it hard to lose weight.
Researchers found that the fat cells of people who are obese show higher expression of a molecule called lysyl oxidase (LOX).

LOX is associated with fibrosis, or "scarring," of fat tissue, which, as previous research has shown, can hamper weight loss efforts.

Study co-author Dr. Katarina Kos, who works in the Diabetes and Obesity Research Group at the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Metabolism.

It is thought that around 1 in 3 adults in the United States are obese, which puts them at increased risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.

A lack of exercise and a poor diet are the primary causes of obesity, so it's no surprise that eating a healthful diet and increasing physical activity are the first strategies we try in an attempt to shed the pounds.

But these interventions can produce mixed results: some individuals see the pounds fall off, while others find it much more challenging. The new study may have uncovered one explanation for the latter.

Higher LOX levels in people who are obese
For their study, Dr. Kos and colleagues analyzed samples of abdominal fat tissue that had been taken from obese individuals before they underwent weight loss surgery.

Compared with abdominal fat tissue samples of leaner subjects, the analysis revealed that the fat tissue of obese people had greater expression of the LOX molecule, which is a cause of fat tissue fibrosis.

On further investigation, the researchers found that the increase in LOX expression was driven by an increase in oxygen deprivation and inflammation in fat cells, which occurs when fat cells become larger.
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