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08 августа 2017, 20:47

What Really Causes Weight Gain As We Age/New Hormone Implicated In Age-Related Weight Gain


Scientists have discovered a possible connection between the body fat of menopausal women and some men and a hormone known as FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone. Dr. Mone Zaidi, a professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan, was investigating whether the hormone could affect bone density. And while it does have a stark effect, the hormone may be one of the most powerful dials on the biological systems that control how these women’s bodies store fat and burn calories.

It’s long been known that it can be stupendously difficult to manage weight as we age. There’s a lot of contributing factors in developed countries for why our older folks are generally more overweight than in other countries, but research has turned up few answers. There’s a strong set of studies, for example, that shows that your level of physical activity rarely affects weight, though it can dramatically improve your health in others ways. In essence, while it might seem like it’s a cultural thing — and to some degree, it is — that’s definitely not the whole story.

Once women hit menopause, they tend to lose a lot of bone mass. That has a dramatic effect on overall health, because duh, your bones are important. Not to mention the obvious uptick in fractures and complications that they can cause.

Zaidi’s team suspected that if they could block FSH with an antibody, that they might see an improvement. And that’s just what they did. The paper detailed Dr. Zaidi’s experiment. The team produced antibodies that would mess with FSH levels; then they removed the ovaries of mice to simulate menopause. Ovaries produce estrogen throughout life, but when levels drop, bone tissue will store fat inside the marrow instead of producing new bone cells — that’s what causes osteoporosis in older women. When mice have their ovaries removed, they have the same problem. The mice in Dr. Zaidi’s lab, however, did not. Instead, they were far healthier and lost tons of fat.

According to the New York Times, Zaidi himself was confused, noting that it was “a weird, weird finding.” Now he and his colleague Dr. Clifford J. Rosen have replicated the results — avoiding one of the most significant and pernicious issues in science right now: reproducibility. The question remains, though, whether this technique will work in humans.

We know that these hormones have significant effects — medically reversible menopause and specialized drugs that change hormone levels in men — often cause dramatic abdominal weight gain and a stalling of resting metabolism. These studies would seem to suggest that Zaidi and Rosen have stumbled across a drug that could solve obesity in mice, but not humans. Still, Zaidi and Rosen believe that they have a hypothesis about how FSH levels will affect the body composition of humans and are preparing to test a human version of his drug. If it works, we may have an answer for many middle-aged and elderly women trying to stay healthy in their later years. At the very least, the team believes they can prevent bone loss. Whether it affects weight, though, remains to be seen.

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Source: https://www.geek.com/science/what-really-causes-weight-gain-as-we-agenew-hormone-implicated-in-age-related-weight-gain-1711080/?source=science