Choosing the kind of fat to avoid obesity

December 02, 2004

The type of fat ingested may create the conditions for or, on the other hand, prevent the development of obesity. This is the conclusion drawn by Patricia Pérez Matute, PhD student at the Department of Physiology and Nutrition at the University of Navarre in her research which has received an international award from the medical journal, Clinical Science.

The work was presented at the 6th Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL, 2004) held in Brighton (Great Britain). The research was undertaken at the Department of Physiology and Nutrition at the Faculty of Pharmacy.

The study forms part of the project entitled: 'Regulation of the expression and secretion of leptin and of other genes related to obesity through nutrients: the molecular mechanisms involved'.

Consumption of fish to allay obesity

The study, explains the author, arose from the observation that the ingestion of saturated fats appeared to lead to the development of obesity, while the polyunsaturated fatty acids, from fish oils, would appear to prevent and correct both la obesity and insulinic resistance. "In this sense, for example, eskimos who ingest greater quantities of fish in their diet have lower rates of mortality from heart diseases frequently associated with obesity", she pointed out.

This is why, the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) - one of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids - on leptin, a gene involved in regulating body weight. "It was observed that EPA was capable of stimulating the secretion of leptin in primary cell cultures of fat from rats ", explained Ms Pérez.

This stimulating effect, in her view, is of great interest, "given that any strategy favouring the increase of leptin levels may well be beneficial for maintaining body weight during treatment for obesity and, thus, also obtain an improvement in those pathologies associated with obesity such as diabetes, artherosclerosis, etc." Moreover, the research provides information on the mechanisms involved in the regulation of the leptin gene, specifically in the role of glucose metabolism. The awarded research is entitled, 'Increase in oxidation of glucose is involved in the stimulant effect of EPA on leptin secretion primary cultures of adipocites from the rat'.
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Elhuyar Fundazioa

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