Obesity clues in urine
A person's urine contains chemical markers that can indicate if he or she is at a high risk of developing obesity, according to new research at the Imperial College of London.
Researchers there analyzed data collected from more than 2,000 people in the U.S. and U.K. That included urine samples collected on two different days, three weeks apart.
From that, the scientists were able to identify 25 chemical markers in the urine samples that were linked with the participants’ body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight and height that indicates levels of body fat. They called the markers a “metabolic signature” of obesity. Nine of the identified markers were related to gut bacteria produced during the digestion of food, one of which is a known biological pathway linked to heart disease. Other markers were linked to muscle metabolism, with lower levels indicating a higher BMI- a finding that supports the belief that exercise is related to controlling obesity.
The study also found that higher levels of blood sugar are linked to a higher BMI, and some participants’ blood-sugar levels indicated potentially undiagnosed diabetes.
One positive: The researchers also identified a compound linked to fruit intake that was associated with a lower BMI.
The scientists say their research suggests it could be possible to identify people who aren't yet obese, but have this "metabolic signature" in their urine, and that those people could begin taking preventative measures sooner.
Because the study was conducted at one point in time, it does not show that the markers are a direct cause or effect of obesity.