Insulin signaling in the brain is modulated by peripheral organs and therefore whole-body metabolism has to be taken into account. In line, a dietary intervention which improves peripheral metabolism can have a beneficial effect on brain function and central insulin action. Increased food intake of long-chain saturated fatty acids is a crucial inductor for the development of obesity, reduction in insulin sensitivity and augmentation of inflammation. Clinical studies have shown that established nutritional and intensive life-style interventions are successful in improving metabolism, yet often fail in the long-term due to insufficient patient compliance. Our research strategy of nutritional interventions in animal models aims at identifying novel nutrients and modulators, which improve insulin action and allow for almost unaltered dietary patterns. Recently, we demonstrated that sole dietary supplementation of selenite improved insulin sensitivity during obesity development in mice and that obese, insulin resistant patients exhibited reduced expression of crucial selenoproteins, which are instrumental for proper insulin action.
The aim of this project is to investigate effects of specific nutrients on insulin action and obesity development, which might protect against diet-induced insulin resistance and support overall metabolic health and brain function.