Weight control could be more genetic than previously thought.New studies confirm a genetic mutation that makes people feel full all the time, which may explain why some people are less interested in food and naturally thin. The first study included half a million participants between the ages of 40 and 69. Through DNA samples, medical records, and years of health tracking, scientists identified a genetic alteration in about 6% of the population that mutes appetite and protects against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The single gene, MC4R, plays a key role in hunger and satiety (the feeling of fullness). During a meal, the gene is turned on to send signals of fullness, and then turns off. The mutation involved in this study occurs when the gene is turned on all the time, therefore the person always feels full. The gene can also play a role in obesity in those who have the opposite mutation where the gene is always turned off, sending continuous signals of hunger. Cell
Takeaway:Scientists who conducted the study hope to shed light on the fact that weight control is much more than self-control – those who are thin often have less feelings of hunger, while those who are overweight or obese may have more intense and lasting feelings of hunger. These new findings may also lead to the development of medications that could target obesity more effectively.