New research finds a way to improve how the body burns fat
In what is being touted as a major discovery, researchers appear to have found a way to manipulate a 'switch' in an enzyme, causing it to burn fat three times faster. While that in itself has wide-reaching implications in terms of preventing or curing diseases associated with being overweight or obese, the research suggests that other enzymes might also be manipulable in the same way. "If many enzymes turn out to be switched on in the same way as the ones we've studied, this opens a door to understanding - and maybe curing, a wide range of diseases," says lead study author Professor Dimitrios Stamou, of the University of Copenhagen.
Prior to this study scientists believed that enzymes worked non-stop at varying levels of efficiency. But studying enzymes is extremely problematic as they are so small. There are trillions of enzymes in just one drop of water, for example. So trying to follow the process of only one enzyme is, say the researchers, like looking down from the moon to note each time a carpenter on earth swings his hammer. The researchers were successful because they studied a fat-degrading enzyme along with a type of 'fat' that emitted a light each time the enzyme took a 'bite.' That way they could monitor the enzyme's activity.
The researchers found that the enzymes 'work' for a certain period of time and then 'rest.' By manipulating the enzymes to make them 'work' when they would usually rest, the researchers were able to increase their efficiency by up to 300% - from 15% to 45%. This has wide-reaching implications. Excess fat - being overweight or obese - is the cause or contributing factor for so many modern-day diseases, so being able to ramp up the body's ability to burn fat could help prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths.
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