Digital News Report – A study found that having less body fat doesn’t always protect against heart disease or diabetes. The study’s findings will be reported online in the journal, Nature Genetics, on June 26, 2011.
Douglas P. Kiel, M.D., M.P.H., and David Karasik, Ph.D. reported finding a gene that would allow for a person to have less body fat but at the same time have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They say that these would be considered “metabolic diseases.”
The gene that is associated with reduced body fat is called IRS1. They found that this gene also had prevalence for people to have unhealthy levels of cholesterol and blood glucose levels. They looked at over 75,000 peoples DNA genome data to determine this association. The researchers said that men tended to have the gene that would have less body fat and increased risk for diabetes and heart disease. The researchers say that these “metabolic diseases” are not just for the overweight individuals, but thin people could be at risk too.
The researchers suspect that the gene does not store fat easily directly under the subcutaneous skin, but instead ends up storing visceral fat around the organs. Visceral fat can be harmful to the surrounding organs and could create metabolic diseases. Fat storage around the mid-section tends to occur more often in men than in women. Even if the man is slim, they tend to have more fat located in the belly area.
By: Jason Chang