A delicious discovery could let you indulge your sweet tooth more often in the future without worrying so much about the negative effects on the body.
Scientists identified an enzyme — a hormone called G3PP — that allows the body to destroy excess sugar, meaning your body doesn’t store it as fat. It may also be able to control the toxic effects of that excess sugar on vital organs.
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Normally, too much sugar in the body creates an organ-damaging chemical called glycerol-3-phosphate, which affects the inner workings of cells and alters the body’s metabolism. Those changes send glucose levels rising, threatening the insulin-producing pancreas, liver, and other organs.
G3PP can break down that chemical and flush it out of cells, reining in glucose levels, which would protect organs from harm.
“It is extremely rare since the 1960s that a novel enzyme is discovered at the heart of metabolism of nutrients in all mammalian tissues, and likely this enzyme will be incorporated in biochemistry textbook,” said Dr. Marc Prentki, one of the researchers leading the study at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center.
This is largely still theoretical science, additional animal and human trials are still needed to see how the process works outside the lab, but the researchers believe their discovery could lead to drug therapy for obesity and diabetes. They are already expanding their research to find out if G3PP could be used to control metabolism disorders like metabolic syndrome.
Any practical use of the discovery is still several years away at best.
The researchers published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Learn more at the Montreal Hospital Research Center. (Photo: la-fontaine, CC)
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