Scientist Now Know How ‘Obesity Gene’ Makes People Fat

Obesity-EpidemicYour obesity may be in your genes, and science now has something to support that claim.

In a recent published study, scientists have unraveled how a gene that has long been associated with obesity makes people fat by triggering increased hunger, which could open up new ways to fight a growing global health problem.

The gene in question is the FTO gene, where one common variation of it affects one in six of the population, making them 70% more likely to become obese. Until now, however, scientists are still puzzled as to how it actually works.

Using a series of tests, a research team led by British scientists said they have found that people with the variation not only had higher levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin in their blood system, but also had increased sensitivity to the chemicals in their brains.

“It’s a double hit,” said Rachel Batterham of the University College London. Batterham led the study, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on Monday.

Batterham said the research provided new insights and possible new leads for treating and combating obesity, since some experimental drugs are known to suppress ghrelin and could be specifically effective if targeted at patients with the obesity-risk variant of the gene.