Researchers Discover How to Speed Metabolism

Posted April 9th, 2014 at 6:42 pm (UTC+0)
7 comments

obese-mainHave you ever wondered why some people can eat and eat but never gain weight while others easily put on pounds?

Scientists say that the body’s natural ability to control weight is tied to the body’s natural rate of burning energy, something called basal cellular metabolism. One of the reasons some people can eat without gaining weight is because they have higher metabolism rates.

A research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston has discovered that altering the biochemical process that underlies a cell’s ability to burn energy could help speed a person’s metabolism possibly leading to new therapies in the worldwide fight against obesity and diabetes.

“With this discovery, we now have a means of metabolic manipulation that could help speed energy production and lead to weight loss,” said senior author Barbara Kahn from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard Medical School.

Writing in Nature, the Boston researchers’ said reducing the amount of the protein nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) in the fat and liver cells of mice slowed the development of obesity and diabetes in mice. At the same time, they also confirmed that obese and diabetic mice had higher levels of NNMT in their liver and fat.

Structure of the NNMT protein (EMW via Wikimedia Commons)

Structure of the NNMT protein (EMW via Wikimedia Commons)

From this key piece of information, the researchers speculated that cutting down the levels of NNMT in these cells would speed up a series of metabolic reactions involving an organic compound called polyamines.

“Polyamines are a group of biological molecules that are found throughout the body, which have fundamental functions, including regulating cell growth,” said Daniel Kraus, a co-author of the study.

The accelerated metabolic reactions would increase the amount of calories the body burns as energy while at the same time would reduce the number of calories transformed into fat.

“While diet and exercise are important in controlling weight, anti-obesity therapies could be of tremendous help, and NNMT looks to be a promising target for future therapeutic development,” said Kahn.

7 Responses to “Researchers Discover How to Speed Metabolism”

  1. John L says:

    A wonderful news about a plausible solution for an epidemic out of control in the first world.

    • Harborseal says:

      Naah, increasing polyamines will lead to increased cancer. The best hope from this is to figure out how these polyamines increase metabolism and try to influence the process further down the line. It will be difficult to increase metabolism without increasing aging.

  2. jimlowe7 says:

    We who are obese face a “never ending” circle of needing to exercise in order to lose weight WHILE needing to lost weight in order to exercise. I lost 50 lbs over16 months and gained back 12 over the next 8 months. Part of the loss was through changing from a diabetes med that CAUSED weight gain to one that ASSISTED in weight loss. I was able to exercise a little more for awhile, but the 12 extra pounds has made that harder again. I am 5’9″ and weigh 345 lbs now after getting down to 333. Being able to lose down to maybe 320 without much exercise would make it MUCH MORE LIKELY that I would FEEL LIKE exercising enough to finally push my weight below 300 (last time was 17 years ago!) and keep it there the rest of my life (I’m almost 63). So I hope research like this produces something like I and many others need to have more QUALITY in our lives!

  3. […] Researchers Discover How to Speed Metabolism From this key piece of information, the researchers speculated that cutting down the levels of NNMT in these cells would speed up a series of metabolic reactions involving an organic compound called polyamines. “Polyamines are a group of biological … Read more on Voice of America (blog) […]

About Science World

Science World

Science World is VOA’s on-air and online magazine covering science, health, technology and the environment.

Hosted by Rick Pantaleo, Science World‘s informative, entertaining and easy-to-understand presentation offers the latest news, features and one-on-one interviews with researchers, scientists, innovators and other news makers.

Listen to a Recent Program

Listen Sidebar

Broadcast Schedule

Broadcast Schedule

Science World begins after the newscast on Friday at 2200, Saturday at 0300, 1100 and 1900 and Sunday at 0100, 0400, 0900, 1100 and 1200.

Science World may also be heard on some VOA affiliates after the news on Saturday at 0900 and 1100. (All times UTC).

Contact Us

E-Mail
science@voanews.com

Postal Mail
Science World
Voice of America
330 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20237
USA