NIH study identifies protein that may prevent obesity-related inflammation
To discover more about the issue, National Institutes of Health (NIH) researcher Dr. Michael Sack led a study of 19 healthy volunteers who fasted for 24 hours. The research team also cultured cells from eight volunteers who did not fast.
The researchers' findings, recently published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, reported that the SIRT3 protein provides resistance to the inflammatory response. The study showed that the protein is activated by fasting and also by a vitamin B derivative, nicotinamide riboside.
“Previous research has shown that intermittent fasting or intermittent calorie restriction — by way of eating fewer calories for a few days a month — reduces inflammation,” Sack said. “We found through our study that this effect is mediated, in part, on a molecular level when SIRT3 blocks the activity of another molecule known as the NLRP3 inflammasome.”
Reducing the inflammatory response may help reduce the diseases linked to obesity, including asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and Type II diabetes. These conditions also hinder weight-loss efforts.
“It is a vicious cycle,” Sack said. “Take asthma, for example. An increase in obesity incidence has been associated with an increase in asthma incidence, but asthma makes it difficult for some to be physically active enough to lose weight.”
A follow-up study is being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center. Sack and his colleagues are investigating whether nicotinamide riboside reduces bronchial inflammation in asthmatic individuals.
A larger clinical trial could follow, if the first trial produces positive results.
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