THE liver could hold the key to treating obesity, after Australian researchers found the organ plays a major role in regulating weight by communicating with the brain.
University of Melbourne researchers believe our bodies may have an innate system in place to limit excessive weight gain caused by eating fatty foods.
However, the system only works in response to saturated fat in a normal diet and would not stop obesity in people who ate fat and sugar-laden diets.
Researchers from the university’s Molecular Obesity Laboratory found that an enzyme in the liver increased when fatty foods were consumed and sent a signal to the brain to reduce appetite-stimulating genes.
The overall affect was that after fat was consumed the brain told the body to reduce its food intake, thereby limiting weight gain.
Melbourne University researcher Dr Barbara Fam said people who eat a fatty diet would still become overweight, but the system probably limited the amount of weight gained.
“We believe that this enzyme is really important in stopping the body from gaining any more weight,” she told AAP.
“Potentially, you could actually be a lot fatter if you don’t have this enzyme being active.”
She said the liver could in future be considered as a target for treating weight-related conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Continue reading at The Australian