A group of researchers has identified the chemical markers found in urine that are linked with a person’s body mass, thus providing new insight into how overweight or obese people are at an increased risk of developing various health conditions.
According to the experts, being obese or overweight is associated with a higher risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even cancers, but it’s not really clear how body fat can lead to these diseases.
The newest study, conducted by a team of scientists from Imperial College London, suggests that obesity has a special “metabolic signature” that can be detected in urine samples. This helps the scientists find the processes that can be targeted to reduce the harmful effects on human health.
The researchers explain that human urine contains a group of chemicals that are called metabolites, which come from a vast diversity of biochemical processes in the human body.
The methods used by the scientists to analyze the metabolic makeup of a urine sample can provide a lot relevant information, which can reveal both the person’s lifestyle factors and the genetic construction of one’s body.
For this new study, the researchers collected and analyzed urine samples from more than 2,000 volunteers in the United States and UK.
After thorough examination, the experts discovered 29 different metabolic products, which correlated with the individual’s body mass index. The urine sample also showed how these metabolic compounds fit together in a very complex network, which are responsible for linking many different parts of the human body.
The scientists explain that some of these metabolites found in urine are produced by special bacteria that live inside the gut. They highlight the potential role of these organisms in the development of obesity.
The scientists also identified altered patterns of metabolites that are related to energy and are produced in the muscles and were found to being associated with obesity.
Jeremy Nicholson, one of the lead authors of the study, said that it is very important to find what causes obesity and scientists need first of all to better understand of how body fat is related and can influence other aspects of human biology.
These findings could help the experts find new approaches to preventing and treating overweight and obese people, as well as all the disease associated with obesity.
The researchers published the findings of their study in the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine.
Image Source: cam.ac.uk