Visceral fat (fat around your internal organs) is associated with insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk, but it’s hard to measure without using fancy imaging techniques.
Now researchers have found that blood levels of a molecule that moves Vitamin A around, called retinol-binding protein (RBP4), correlate positively with visceral fat and with insulin resistance.
Examination of 196 subjects found that RBP4 is far more abundant in visceral fat than in subcutaneous fat. RBP4 levels were not only an accurate indicator of visceral fat levels and insulin resistance, but were also simpler than the biochemical tests and imaging techniques usually required to measure visceral fat and insulin resistance.
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Sources: Medline Plus; Cell Metabolism, July 2007