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Chemical In Gut May Help Fight Obesity

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, December 01, 2008 10:31 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Major Medical, Obesity, FDA and Prescription Drugs, Overweight, Protecting Your Family

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IMAGE SOURCE:© Wikimedia Commons / waist circumference / author: Pharos, FDA Dietary Guidelines

Scientists have discovered a fatty substance made in the gut that signals the brain when it’s time to stop eating -- a discovery that could lead to new approaches in the fight against obesity.

For now, the signal may help individuals to feel full for a while, but researchers are hopeful that in the future variations of this group of hormones – known as N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines, or NAPEs – can be used to regulate appetite and in turn obesity.

“We are excited about the findings, but we have more work to do,” said Dr. Gerald Shulman, a professor of internal medicine and of cellular and molecular physiology at Yale University School of Medicine. “We would love to be able to study these findings in humans tomorrow, as effective obesity treatments are needed. But more research is needed.”

Shulman, lead study author and his team of researchers were in search of a new, fat-derived signal that might help to control food intake. They used a detailed blood-screening test – called LC tandem mass spectrometry – to find the NAPE group of molecules.

For the study, rats were given NAPE for five days and there was a continuous reduction in food intake and body weight. More precisely, they ate 30 percent less food and lost a quarter of their weight. “The findings suggests NAPE or long-acting NAPE analogs may help treat obesity,” Shulman said.

NAPEs also appeared to target the hypothalamus, a region of the brain which functions to stabilize appetite, thirst, energy, fatigue, body temperature and metabolic processes, according to researchers.

These findings could help lead the way to more effective drugs to suppress appetite and reduce obesity, said researchers.

“We are now doing studies in humans to see if we get a similar increase in NAPE concentrations following consumption of a fatty meal,” Shulman said.

Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for many diseases and health conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, and even some cancers.

The study is published in the November 26 issue of the journal Cell.

Research published in the October issue of the journal Cell suggests overeating activates a metabolic response usually inactive in hypothalamus - middle region of the brain - contributing to increased levels of caloric consumption. #


3 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Owen Gilpin
Monday, December 01, 2008 2:05 PM EST

It does seem like a great breakthrough in regulating obesity and health problems , but i would hope it does not filter to mainstream dieters as i fear it would turn into a lifestyle of pill popping to get down to model/superstar weight , when a good diet and exercise will keep your body in the condition it was meant to look.

Anonymous User
Posted by Hackweiser
Monday, December 01, 2008 2:40 PM EST

@Owen Gilpin

I understand your point about pill popping types. However, I take exception to your idea concerning what someone's physical form was 'meant' to look like.
Specifically, what is a good diet to you? You must realize that there are evolutionary/genetic differences that must be considered. It is not complicated. People eat what is available to them. Centuries pass. People have relocated to another part of the planet. Different food is available to them. Their metabolic inclinations have not changed, but the foodstuffs have. This is why people are more obese in the U.S. - coupled with the fact that the least expensive foods are also the highest in calories (i.e. Chef Boyardee)

Jane Akre Injury Board Community Member
Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, December 01, 2008 11:13 PM EST

Just a note- Hateful comments will be omitted from this Web site. Moronic comments are barely tolerated as we prefer to keep editing to a minimum. But when comments are hateful and moronic- they have to go!

- Your editor

Comments for this article are closed.

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