Brain Sensitivity to Insulin Impacts on Weight Loss and Body Fat Distribution

May 05, 2020 | Biotechnology

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Scientists in Germany have found that brain sensitivity to insulin can impact both on the degree of weight loss resulting from lifestyle intervention, and on where fat is distributed in the body. The long-term studies, carried out by researchers at the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), Helmholtz Zentrum München, and Tübingen University Hospital, found that if an individual’s brain responds sensitively to insulin, a significant amount of weight can be lost, unhealthy visceral fat reduced, and weight loss maintained over subsequent years. However, if the person’s brain responds only slightly or not at all to insulin, they are likely to lose relatively less weight at the beginning of the intervention, experience weight regain further down the line, and put on more visceral fat over time.

“Subjects with high insulin sensitivity in the brain benefited from the lifestyle intervention with a pronounced reduction in weight and visceral fat,” said Martin Heni, PhD, Tübingen University Hospital, who headed the study, which was reported in Nature Communications. “Even after the lifestyle intervention had ended, they only regained a small amount of fat during the nine-year follow-up.” In contrast, people with brain insulin resistance showed only a slight weight loss in the first nine months of the program. “Afterwards, their body weight and visceral fat increased again during the following months of lifestyle intervention,” added Institute for Diabetes Research first author Stephanie Kullmann, PhD. Describing their results in a paper titled, “Brain insulin sensitivity is linked to adiposity and body fat distribution,” the researchers suggested that since visceral fat is linked with diabetes, cardiovascular risk, and cancer, their findings have “implications beyond metabolic diseases and indicate the necessity of strategies to resolve brain insulin res... Read more at the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) Blog.

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