How Stress Can Sabotage Your Metabolism

Being under constant stress triggers a biological mechanism that reduces fat metabolism, according to a new study from the University of Florida.

Betatrophin, a protein that scientists once hoped could cure diabetes, also inhibits an enzyme responsible for breaking down fat cells, the researchers discovered.

The findings suggest a "link between chronic stress and weight gain," said Dr. Li-Jun Yang, study author.

Using mouse models, Dr. Yang and colleagues discovered that rodents who experienced metabolic stress produced more betatrophin, which slowed down their normal rate of fat burning.

Stress and body fat

In 2013, researchers from Harvard reported that betatrophin can increase the presence of insulin-producing beta cells, a breakthrough that could have had lasting implications for the treatment of diabetes. However, later research suggested that betatrophin did not actually cause this effect.

The protein's role in fat metabolism and stress may be more important, the current study revealed.

While hormones like cortisol and estrogen have long been associated with the stress-metabolism connection, testing the role batatrophin plays in human studies could explain more about this relationship.

"Stress causes you to accumulate more fat, or at least slows down fat metabolism. This is yet another reason why it's best to resolve stressful situations and to pursue a balanced life," Yang said.

Source: University of Florida Health

Image courtesy of tuelekza/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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