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New Link Between Obesity and Insulin Resistance Uncovered
By Daniel H. Rasolt
Posted: Saturday, April 11, 2009
(Defeat Diabetes® News) -- The high BCAA
protein levels found in obese individuals, combined with high fat diets, could
significantly increase the incidence of pre-diabetic insulin resistance. Because
obesity and diabetes are so closely linked, this finding could go a long way in
explaining the cause and effect of the obesity-diabetes connection, as well as
lay the foundations for future preventative treatments for diabetes in obese
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a common dietary
protein, found most prominantly in meat. BCAAs have also been found in past
research to be in high abundance in obese individuals. While this observation
itself has not been proven to significantly impact the development of dangerous
conditions related to obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease, the potential
has been there that BCAA mechanisms may contribute to the development of these
Specifically, it was found by the current researchers that
high levels of BCAAs in obese individuals effect the "metabolic processing" of
the amino acids, which could be the connection that leads to insulin resistance.
Says senior author Dr. Christopher Newgard, "In the case of the amino acids, we
also are finding increased levels of their metabolic breakdown products, which
suggests the whole system for handling the amino acid metabolic process has been
This "overload" was shown to be directly linked to insulin
resistance in obese mice being fed high fat diets, in the current study.
"Insulin resistance occurred in animals with a diet high in the branched-chain
amino acids, but only if they were ingested along with a high level of fat in
the diet," says Dr. Newgard.
Since obese people very often ingest diets
high in fat, if the above findings are confirmed in future human studies, a
potential chemical explanation for why insulin resistance is so common in obese
individuals, could result.
Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Newgard, Christopher. Jane Gore, Mary. Duke University Medical Center news release. April 2009.
Daniel H. Rasolt writes for Defeat Diabetes® News. Read more of his original content articles.
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