Gene that clears fat from body identified

December 7th, 2011 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 7 (IANS) Scientists have identified a “cream gene” that allows people to clear fat from their systems.

For the study, researcher Jan Albert Kuivenhoven focused on two families with unusually high HDL cholesterol and low triglycerides.

In one family, seven members had a mutation in a gene called GALNT2 that allowed them to rapidly break down bad fats. In the other family, just one person had the “cream gene”, Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

When family members were given pure cream to drink, those with the gene were much better at breaking down the bad fats, it said quoting the journal Cell Metabolism.

It is thought that normally GALNT2 hinders the breakdown of triglycerides. The mutation stops this from happening, and they are broken down and flushed out of the body more rapidly.

Kuivenhoven, of Groningen University medical centre in the Netherlands, said the finding shows that the study of genes can shed important light on bodily processes.

However, he said it is too early to say whether having the “cream gene” benefits health, perhaps by lowering the risk of heart disease.

Cream is not the only “forbidden fruit” to lose some of its dangers depending on a person’s genetics.

A previous study found that smoking, drinking and fast food will not do you any harm - if you have the right genes.

Some of those who lived to a ripe old age had smoked for 85 years, others got through more than two packets of cigarettes a day. They also exercised less than their shorter-lived counterparts but were less likely to become obese, the newspaper said.

The bad news is that it is almost impossible to be sure if you are one of the lucky few blessed with the longevity genes. American researchers said that this means there is no excuse for not taking care of your health.

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