Guilt-free sugary treats may sound like an oxymoron, but researchers from the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre beg to differ. According to their research, there’s a newly discovered enzyme that can stop the toxic effects of sugar as it hits various organs in your body.
Sweet, sweet science.
The enzyme is called glycerol 3-phosphate phosphatase (G3PP), and its main role in the body is controlling glucose and utilizing fat. But that’s not all. The researchers discovered G3PP can detoxify excess sugar from our cells.
The Science Behind It
We’re fueled by glucose and fatty acids. How these two things are utilized in our cells dictates tons of physiological processes like the regulation of insulin in the bloodstream (by beta cells in the pancreas), the production of glucose in the liver, the storage of fat, and the breakdown of nutrients for energy. When something is off kilter—for example, when insulin levels are low, it’ll cause blood sugar to skyrocket and more fat to flow into your bloodstream—obesity, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease can arise.
Real World Application
When you pound through a hunk of seven-layer cake, levels of glucose are going to rise abnormally. Your beta cells sense this imbalance and, as a result, produce insulin to meet your body’s demand. Now, insulin is good and vital in controlling glucose and utilizing fat (like G3PP), but when there’s too much glucose and fatty acids, these nutrients become toxic and begin to damage cells, leading to dysfunction and diabetes. But G3PP has the ability to break down a significant portion of this excess glucose and divert it outside your cells, protecting your pancreas and other organs from the poisonous effect of high glucose, and lowering the production of glucose in the liver.
This glucose detoxifying enzyme can provide therapies for people suffering from obesity, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. The research team is in the process of discovering "small molecule activators of G3PP" to treat cardiometabolic disorders. These drugs will be unique in their mode of action and first of their kind in this class of drugs.
What It All Means
“This is the very first report on this enzyme and its physiological importance and possible applications,” says study author Murthy Madiraju. “We are currently embarking on the development of drugs that can activate this enzyme; the idea is to identify and develop such drugs, which can be taken orally, but this is further down the lane and may take a few years.” This is because the treatment will have to be confirmed in several animal models before drugs for humans use can be developed.
How it Can Impact YOUR Life (and Health)
We also asked Madiraju if there will be any service for your average Joe looking for help knocking off the last 10 pounds. He said: "When we did the experiments on normal (not obese) rats, by increasing the enzyme level, we could see a small but noticeable decrease in body weight gain (by 5-6 percent). It is possible that this observation can translate to humans—BUT only further studies can verify this."
So, stay keyed in; the future of weight loss and health is advancing—rapidly.