By Amy Morris

Being Overweight due to ‘Slow Metabolism’ No Longer Just an Excuse


No longer can people be mocked for saying the reason they are overweight is due to ‘bad genes’, because researchers have found the first piece of evidence showing that when specific DNA is mutated it can slow down a person’s metabolism.

The research came about when the scientists from the Institute of Metabolic Science in Cambridge had discovered that mice genetically engineered to be born without a gene they call ‘KSR2’ , went on to gain weight more easily. So, researchers then felt the need to find out if the same applied to human genes too.

Prof Sadaf Farooqi, who headed the research study on humans, discovered once analyzing the DNA of 2,101 severely obese human test subjects, that some also had mutated versions of the KSR2 gene. What Farooqi also noticed was when this gene was missing, it had two direct effects on their metabolism; one was an increase in appetite, and the other was slowing down the metabolism.

From Farooqi’s study, she concluded that this ‘missing’ gene affects fewer than 1 in 100 people. But those that do not have this KSR2 gene are often very obese in childhood which is extremely relevant to parents whose child may currently have the same problem.

The results of the study were published in the Journal Cell, where it has stated the mutated KSR2 gene, if present, can go onto affect ERK signaling which can then cause impairment to the oxidation of glucose and fatty acids. The common symptoms Farooqi discovered patients could display would be hyperphagia, insulin resistance, with a reduced basal metabolic rate.

Farooqi is reported to have told BBC News,

“You would be hungry and wanting to eat a lot, you would not want to move because of a slower metabolism and would probably also develop type 2 diabetes at a young age. It slows the ability to burn calories and that’s important as it’s a new explanation for obesity.”

Whilst I am all for scientists trying to find new ways to get to the root cause of the obesity epidemic plaguing many countries around the world, in the meantime perhaps we should not overlook the old classic bits of health advice that have often worked very well for many individuals wanting to lose weight.

Like those such as eat more whole fruit and organic vegetables, and less junk food such as cakes and chocolates and premade meals rich in sugar, salt and trans-fats. As I believe no one is immune to becoming overweight, mutated KSR2 gene or not, whilst eating constantly from the junk food list.

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About the Author

Amy Morris