Obesity May Speed Aging of the Liver

The goal of the new study was to “understand why we age,” Horvath said. “One way of tackling this question it to understand which factors relate to the epigenetic age of different human tissues. Although many people probably suspected that excessive weight ages the body, there was no objective way of demonstrating such an effect,” he said.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Heavier people might be more prone to liver cancer, insulin problems, researchers say

Extra pounds cause the liver to age faster, potentially explaining why obesity is linked to diseases like liver cancer and insulin resistance, new research suggests.

It’s not clear if this aging directly translates to higher risks of certain diseases. Still, it’s possible that “people whose liver is much older than expected need to be screened more carefully for various diseases even if they managed to lose a lot of weight,” said study author Steve Horvath, a professor of human genetics and biostatistics at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health.

Epigenetic aging is the aging rates of various tissues in the body. “According to the epigenetic aging clock, the vast majority of tissues, cell types and organs age at the same rate,” Horvath said. But these aging rates may differ from person to person.

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