Switching on lipase fires up metabolism

Here's some good news for anyone looking to rev up their metabolism, the fire that burns calories. Scientists announced this week that they'd discovered a way to manipulate lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fat, tripling it's power. Lipase in one of most powerful enzymes in my Digestive Detox.

The secret is a molecular "switch" that turns the enzyme on and off. It turns out that enzymes are fairly lazy, and only work a set number of hours during the day. By flipping the on switch, the researchers succeeded in making lipase enzymes work three times harder, upping their fat digestion from 15 percent to 45 percent of the time.

Making lipase burn fat more efficiently would have huge implications for those who are overweight and obese but whose metabolisms make it difficult to lose weight with diet and exercise. Being overweight puts you at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, so there's a public health mandate to support any breakthrough in obesity research.

The news, which was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, has the scientific community buzzing. The reason? The enzymatic "ignition switch" appears likely to work for all enzymes, not just lipase. If scientists can learn to turn enzymes on and off, it could have much wider implications for those looking to cure an array of other conditions in which enzymes play a role. In their announcement, the University of Copenhagen, said this could possibly be the most important discovery in enzymology" in a long time, and while that sounds grandiose, it may not be far off.

The highly sophisticated nano research involved collaborating with the Danish industrial enzyme producer Novozymes to create a fat degrading lipase enzyme model system to study the teensy tiny lipase molecules. In order to to monitor every catalytic cycle, they used specially prepared fat that emitted light every time an enzyme took a "bite" of fat.