If I asked you to list all the hormones that you can think of, I bet some of the first to come to mind would be estrogen and testosterone. You might be able to list a few more. But I bet very few of you, if any, would name adropin. This peptide hormone isn't very well-known. In fact, it was discovered only a few years ago by a professor at Saint Louis University. But that doesn't mean it isn't important. In fact, it may play a key role in lipid metabolism and metabolic diseases.
The professor who discovered adropin, Dr. Andrew Butler, has been studying it ever since. He began by investigating its role in metabolic disease in mice. But he's recently moved on to identifying connections between diet and adropin levels in humans, publishing his findings in the journal Obesity. Right now, all he's identified are correlations, not causes, but they are noteworthy.
In particular, he found that carbohydrate intake and adropin levels are inversely related. The more carbs you eat, the lower your adropin levels drop. In contrast, higher fat intake seems to be linked to higher adropin levels. Interestingly, the lower your adropin levels, the higher your fat content in the blood, and low adropin was also linked to high LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. While Butler doesn't yet know why these connections occur, he does think that measuring adropin levels could prove to be an important tool in assessing metabolic function and heart disease risk.
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I'm not surprised by these findings. I've written before about how detrimental a high-carb diet can be to your health. In fact, I think we could prevent the vast majority of diseases just by putting everyone on a low-carb diet. A high-carb diet is linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to dementia, not to mention obesity.
You can lose weight and reduce your risk of almost every health problem just by reducing the number of carbohydrates you consume. In fact, you might even sleep better — and not just because you'll be less worried about dying young from a heart attack. Plus, you'll protect your brain. You might even be able to remember that adropin is a hormone next time!
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD