Breaking down fat byproducts could lead to healthier aging − researchers identify a key enzyme that does just that

The journey of aging brings with it an unavoidable reality for many: an increased accumulation of body fat. Though much of society seems mostly focused on the aesthetics of being overweight, doctors look past any cosmetic concerns to focus on the health implications of fat byproducts in the body.

Fatty acids are one of the molecular building blocks that make up fats. Though essential for various bodily functions, excessive amounts of fatty acids in the body can be harmful, shortening a person’s health span and life span by increasing their risk of chronic disease, disrupting metabolic processes and promoting inflammation.

Fatty acids are routinely checked during medical examinations, such as blood tests measuring your lipid profile. But clinicians and researchers often overlook the other key component of fat despite its potentially harmful effects: glycerol, a compound that links fatty acids to make a fat molecule.

Both of these fat byproducts disrupt cellular and organ function, mirroring the effects of aging. In fact, researchers are increasingly seeing obesity as a catalyst for accelerated aging.

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