As most of you know, the Genetix Program has made a science out of losing weight and keeping it off by manipulating a person’s metabolism to match their lifestyles and stress levels. Well, now science has made great leaps in manipulating a person’s metabolism biochemically.
Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have made a discovery that could change the way we look at obesity and diabetes forever. A paper published in the April 10 issue of Nature, reveals new findings that show reducing the amount of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT)— a protein found in fat and liver—dramatically reduces the development of obesity and diabetes in mice.
‘With this discovery, we now have a means of metabolic manipulation that could help speed energy production and lead to weight loss,” explains senior author Barbara Kahn, MD, Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at BIDMC and George Richards Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Our findings are particularly exciting because the antisense oligonucleotide [ASO] technology we used to inhibit the NNMT gene in our study is already being used to treat other diseases in humans.”
Basically NNMT is an enzyme in our bodies that helps in the metabolism of Vitamin B3 (Niacin). This enzyme has been linked to big “no-no’s” in the body like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. They have now identified this new role for the enzyme NNMT in fat tissue, which is to regulate energy metabolism. Imagine speeding up your metabolism to the same level as, “that skinny girl that can eat anything she wants and not gain a pound…hate her.” We jest.
The researchers first confirmed that levels of NNMT were increased in obese and diabetic mice. “In a comparison of genetic profiles of fat from mice that were either prone to or protected from developing diabetes, we discovered that the animals that were prone to develop diabetes had a lot of NNMT in the fat and liver,” explains Kahn.
Together with co-first author Daniel Kraus, MD, Kahn hypothesized that reducing NNMT levels in these tissues would accelerate a series of metabolic reactions involving molecules called polyamines, thereby leading to increased energy expenditure, increased leanness and reduced risk of diabetes and its complications. So manipulating the levels of NNMT in a person’s body can speed up or slow down his or her metabolism. Great news for everyone!
This is, of course, preliminary information. However, the ASO (antisense oligonucletotide) technology that researchers used to reduce the NNMT gene in rats has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA] for the treatment of genetic causes of elevated cholesterol as well as for the treatment of a viral eye infection, which makes it highly possible that clinical trials to test an ASO anti-obesity therapy in humans could move forward soon.1
Check back occasionally for updates on NNMT reduction as it pertains to weight loss. And for more information on how to manipulate your metabolism in your favor talk to your Genetix Program Coach.
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