Adenovirus-36 is a fairly obscure micro-organism, as these things go. It was just one of several viruses being studied as part of a decades-long look into its epidemiology.
So, the researchers checked in after a decade and found two very surprising results.
The first was that those who had adenovirus-36 had a higher BMI and a higher body fat percentage than those who didn’t, and that the connection between the virus and the porkiness was quite clear.
The second, and paradoxical, result was that those with adenovirus-36 also had healthier insulin and blood sugar levels.
Why? It’s a mechanic of why the virus makes you fat, actually. And it may offer more insight into just how type 2 diabetes strikes the overweight.
As we all know, obesity tends to be a predictor for type 2 diabetes, so much so that 85% of those suffering from the disease are overweight.
What you won’t hear from media coverage is that scientists have, at best, guesses as to exactly why this is. Many believe that the excess weight creates some form of resistance to insulin. But the research is ongoing.
Adenovirus-36 increases both the amount of fat storage cells you have and the size of those cells. Fat storage cells are generally consistent through adulthood and don’t change in number. The theory is, having more places to cram fat and sugar means that it’s safely put out of the way and that said sugar can’t instead drift through your system, causing trouble.
In other words, it’s not how fat you are. It’s the quality of your fat. It is worth noting that you still need to do things like exercise and eat vegetables and healthy meals. But this discovery may help us figure out one of the mechanisms of diabetes… and how to prevent it.