A fascinating new study, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, is shedding light on a previously unknown mechanism by which a hormone released from the gut in the hours after eating effectively switches off the body’s fat production processes. The research also found this regulatory mechanism is defective in obese mice and human patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
After we eat a meal our body gets down to serious metabolic business. One key process triggered by eating is called lipogenesis, which is when our liver begins converting food into fats for storage across the body.
Lipogenesis is stimulated by insulin, a well-known hormone released by the pancreas, and this particular metabolic pathway has been well-studied. However, it is still unknown exactly what happens a few hours after eating when the liver begins to slow fat production.
It had previously been hypothesized that lipogenesis eventually slows as insulin stimuli decreases in the hours after eating a meal. This new research suggests lipogenesis is not passively suppressed by decreasing insulin levels but instead it is actively repressed by a hormone released from the gut.