Stress Can Make Us Fat!
You have likely figured out that stress can cause us to overeat leading to weight gain. But that is not the only reason we can pack on the pounds according to a new study.
Stress triggers a hormone called Adamts1 that causes fat cells in the body to mature, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Not only does the hormone create fat, it is the type that creates a “beer belly” and encases your internal organs in fat and increases your risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“Intuitively, people understand that when you eat more, you get fatter,” said the study’s senior author Brian Feldman, MD, PhD. “You are ingesting food, and some signal has to tell your body to make more fat.”
There are “fat depots” scattered around the body that contain many mature fat cells and small numbers of stem cells. The stem cells can differentiate into any type of cell in the body, including fat cells, but until now, no one has known how the process was triggered.
They discovered that the trigger was the Adamts1 hormone, which turns the stem cells into more fat cells ready to store fat.
High-fat diets as well as glucocorticoid medications, such as prednisone, cause increased production of Adamts1 and signal nearby stem cells to begin maturing.
“We didn’t know what was gating or triggering that process in vivo,” said Dr. Feldman. “This new research goes a long way to fill in the in-between steps.”
Whether Adamts1 is triggered by stress hormones or by stress eating, the result is the same: weight gain.
The results, which were published in Science Signaling, suggest how both high-fat diets and synthetic and natural stress hormones are tied to greater obesity. Basically, stress hormones send a message via Adamts1 to make more fat cells mature.
“We think it is a signal that there may be hard times ahead, a trigger to store as much available energy as you can,” Dr. Feldman said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 33% of all American adults are obese. Obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and liver disease, due to oxidative stress and inflammation.
Being overweight increases the risk of 10 of the most common forms of cancer, according to a British study of more than 5-M adults. Risk can amount to an increase of more than 60%, depending on the type of cancer.
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