Moisture is one of the key components of beautiful skin. Dry skin is our enemy, and we always look for a product which gives perfect moisture for our skin. Then there is one skincare ingredient you need more of – Ceramides. Ceramides are lipids (fat molecules) that work to help our skin’s natural barrier retain moisture. Ceramides are naturally found in our skin’s uppermost layers and make up 50% of its composition. They play a crucial role in how the skin looks, and they act as a protective barrier that prevents dehydration. However, the same fat molecules could be a key piece of the diabetes puzzle.
You may have seen people who are not obese but have developed type 2 diabetes. At the same time, there are obese people who are surprisingly healthy. Although obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, new research suggests that ceramides may trigger the disease.
Ceramides are complex lipids that play a central role in cell membrane integrity, cellular stress response, inflammatory signaling and apoptosis. One of the benefits of ceramides is that they protect the cell. When food is plentiful and cells store lots of fat, the increase in ceramide levels strengthen the cells’ outer membrane, preventing ruptures. Ceramides evolved to become a nutritional sensor, helping the body to cope when the amount of fat that is coming into cells is exceeding its energetic needs and storage capacity.
Research led by Scott Summers, Ph.D., chairman of the University of Utah Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, demonstrated that a buildup of ceramides impaired the fat tissue from working normally in mice. Summers, the study’s senior author says “They impair the way the body responds to insulin, and also how it burns calories.”
Excess fat after eating can be stored in the body as triglycerides or burned for energy. However, in some people, those fats are transformed into ceramides.
Summer added that the problem with ceramides is not just how many there are, but also where they are. When a person is suffering from heart or metabolic disease, they tend to have ceramides build up in many tissues, including blood vessels and the heart. Ceramides can reduce the amount of insulin a body can produce or use, harming the way our cells make energy, creating fibrosis, and causing cell death.
When a person’s ceramide levels are too high, it can lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Importantly, researchers have seen in rodents that if we block ceramide production, it prevents the development of all these diseases.
Conversely, they also found that mice with fewer ceramides in their adipose tissue were protected from insulin resistance, a first sign of diabetes.
Summers notes that some Asian countries have a higher diabetes rate than the United States even though the obesity rate is relatively low. “Some people are just not made to deal with dietary fat,” says Summers. “It’s not just how much you eat, because some people can eat a lot and they just store all the fat effectively and remain healthy.”
So, this research and other related research shows that it is important what you eat and how you eat. Please pay attention to what type of fat and carbohydrates you eat and how much you eat them.