It is a known fact that the change in our body's fat storage is linked to our eating habits. In other words, promotion of weight loss and weight gain might depend much on how healthy our food habit is. But do you know, even our sense of smell may have a link with the change in body's fat storage? A new study has found the link while looking for an answer to - is it possible to change the body's fat storage sans changing eating habits? The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.
Dr. Ayse Sena Mutlu, a postdoctoral fellow at Baylor's Huffington Center On Aging, and her colleagues conducted a broad screen on laboratory worm C.elegans to find out whether neurons can send signals, which could alter lipid metabolism (without affecting feeding habits).
"When we found a connection with the sense of smell, we were very surprised. We expected a link with taste or related to eating," said Mutlu, adding that olfactory perception is complex and highly regulated.
The researchers tested several odours in lab worm C. elegans and discovered that only certain scents dynamically regulate fat mobilisation by interacting with specific olfactory neurons through specific receptors. Using a laboratory method called optogenetics, the researchers were able to find the link with promotion of loss or gain of fat storage, respectively. For the unversed, optogenetics is a laboratory method that uses light to activate or inhibit these neurons.
"Our findings bring a new perspective on how lipid metabolism is regulated and may help understand why some people may be more resistant to metabolic problems while others are more vulnerable," said Dr. Meng Wang, professor of molecular and human genetics, a member of the Huffington Center On Aging and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Baylor.
Wang added that although further research is needed, there can be a possibility that certain scents might trigger changes in fat metabolism resulting in weight loss.