The metabolome: A way to measure obesity and health beyond BMI

ScienceDaily | 10/11/2018 | Staff
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The current standard for determining obesity is body mass index (BMI), a simple mathematical formula that uses weight and height. Now a paper appearing October 11 in the journal Cell Metabolism is reporting a large study of new ways to measure obesity. The study looked at both the metabolome and the genome, and their relationship to BMI.

"We are attempting to identify the heterogeneity in what we currently call obesity. There's a need for more precise ways of measuring," says senior author Amalio Telenti (@atelentia), a genomics professor at Scripps Research. "Although it's clear that obesity is linked to certain diseases, not everybody who is obese will have these consequences. Also surprising, you may not look obese but still have the problems of someone who is."

Metabolome - Sum - Chemicals - Sample - Blood

The metabolome is the sum of all the small-molecule chemicals found in a biological sample, often the blood plasma. These chemicals include fatty acids, amino acids, sugars, and vitamins, to name a few. The metabolome changes in response to interactions between the genome and the environment. Those who study metabolomics say it's poised to become an important part of personalized medicine, along with genomics, proteomics, and analysis of the microbiome.

In the current study, the investigators used data from TwinsUK, a multiyear study examining the genetic and environmental influences on human health and aging. They analyzed body and metabolic measures from nearly 2,000 adult twins that had been collected at three time points over an average of 13 years. They also used data from a single time point for 427 volunteers. They found that about one-third of the metabolites included in the study were associated with changes in BMI.

People - Metabolome - Weight - BMI - Telenti

"For most people, we found the metabolome is tied very closely to weight and BMI," Telenti explains. "Every time someone gains or loses a pound, their metabolome changes. It's...
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