She and Jensen were able to examine the activity of certain enzymes and proteins that regulate fat storage in post-menopausal women's abdomens and thighs. By considering these factors together rather than in isolation, the researchers determined conclusively that the overall fat storage "machinery" is more active in post-menopausal women. In other words, these cells now store more fat than they did before menopause.
In addition, post-menopausal women burned less fat than their pre-menopausal colleagues. These changes mean that their cells are not only storing more fat, but are also less willing to part with it. This combination is a recipe for rapid weight gain. "Taken together, these changes in bodily processes may be more than a little surprising and upsetting for women who previously had little trouble managing their weight," comments Santosa.
Though the increased cellular activity revealed by this study was not specific to the abdominal region, more fat stored overall means more abdominal fat. Evidence of changes in the fat storage pathways after menopause is an important contribution to understanding why post-menopausal women begin to put on more visceral fat.
Says Santosa, "the information revealed by our study is valuable not only to post-menopausal women and their doctors, but to obesity studies more generally. A clearer picture of which proteins and enzymes increase fat storage makes those productive targets for future medical advances in the fight against obesity."
|Contact: Clea Desjardins|