Fasting curbs production of fat, cholesterol

London: Researchers have found that fasting causes an enzyme to stop generating fats and cholesterol.

The study describes how SIRT1, one of a group of enzymes called sirtuins, suppresses the activity of a family of proteins called SREBPs, which control the body’s synthesis and handling of fats and cholesterol.

The research by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) could lead to therapies for metabolic disorders.

"These findings point to SIRT1 as a master regulator of physiologic energy stability that controls the synthesis and storage of fat, as well as its usage as fuel," said Amy Walker, PhD, of the MGH Cancer Center, the study’s lead author.

Although the body produces appropriate amount of fat and cholesterol, a high-fat diet can disturb this balance and cause cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, hypertension and other serious disorders.

"This study is significant because it explains the signals that tell the body to burn fat in response to fasting or dieting," says David Sinclair, PhD, a professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

"Our results suggest these agents may be able to ‘trick’ the body into responding as though it was experiencing fasting, with beneficial metabolic consequences, but that hypothesis needs to be tested in future studies," explains Anders Näär, PhD, of the MGH Center for Cancer Research , senior author of the current study.