Stress Makes Losing Weight Harder

Stress Makes Losing Weight HarderStress Makes Losing Weight Harder

Many people struggle with stress on a daily basis while juggling work and family, and losing sleep worrying about relationships and friends.  

But, in addition to sleepless nights, chronic stress has now been found to hamper a person’s ability to lose weight.

Chronic stress stimulates production of a protein that reduces the body’s ability to break down fat, scientists from University of Florida said, reports

Co-study author Dr. Li-Jun Yang, a professor at the UF College of Medicine, said, “Stress causes you to accumulate more fat, or at least slows down fat metabolism; this is yet another reason why it’s best to resolve stressful situations and to pursue a balanced life.”

The protein, called betatrophin, was previously thought to be a breakthrough therapy for diabetes.

In 2013, a Harvard University study suggested it could increase the number of insulin-producing beta cells in people with the disease. However, the protein was later determined to have no such effect. And so, in the current study, scientists used mouse models to further examine the properties of betatrophin.

Experiments on cells taken from mice and humans were first used to establish betatrophin’s role in body fat regulation, according to the study. The scientists then found that mice experiencing metabolic stress produced significantly more betatrophin.

Furthermore, their normal fat-burning processes were found to have slowed down markedly. Also, mice experiencing environmental stress were also found to have increased betatrophin production in fat tissue and the liver.

That finding established that betatrophin is a stress-related protein, Dr. Yang said. The study found betatrophin suppresses adipose triglyceride lipase - the enzyme that breaks down stored fat.

Specifically, the results provide experimental evidence that stress makes it harder for the body to break down fat, the scientists said.

Researchers haven’t tested betatrophin’s effect on fat metabolism in humans yet, but, Yang said the results prove that reducing stress is beneficial.

Short-term mild stress can help people perform better and get through difficult situations, the scientist said, while long-term stress “can be far more detrimental.”

The study was published in the journal BBA Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids.