Health & Wellbeing

Fat fighting drug could let you lose weight without dieting

The drug reportedly increases the metabolism of white fat cells
The drug reportedly increases the metabolism of white fat cells
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The drug reportedly increases the metabolism of white fat cells
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The drug reportedly increases the metabolism of white fat cells

You want to lose weight, but you don't want to eat less – right? Well, when and if a new drug makes it to market, you may get your wish. Scientists from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are developing a medication that has already lowered body weight in obese mice, even though they kept eating the same amount.

Fat cells begin to overexpress a protein known as nicotinamide-N-methyltransferase (NNMT), as they get larger. NNMT acts as a metabolic brake which slows down fat cell metabolism, so the more of it that's expressed, the harder it is for the cells to burn fat – it's a vicious circle.

That's where the experimental new drug comes in. It blocks NNMT from operating in obese white fat cells, allowing their fat-burning metabolism to increase.

The researchers tested it by placing mice on a high-fat diet until they became obese, after which the animals received either the drug or a placebo. After 10 days of treatment, the drugged mice experienced a 7 percent loss in total body weight, plus their white fat tissue mass and cell size decreased by 30 percent compared to the placebo group. Their blood cholesterol levels also returned to normal levels.

By contrast, mice in the placebo group continued to gain weight. Both they and the mice that received the actual drug continued to consume the same amount of food throughout the study.

"Blocking the action of the fat cell brake provides an innovative 'fat'-specific mechanism to increase cell metabolism and reduce the size of white fat deposits, thereby treating a root cause of obesity and related metabolic diseases," says Harshini Neelakantan, the study's senior author. "These initial results are encouraging and support further development of this technology as a new and more effective approach to combating metabolic diseases."

A paper on the research was recently published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology.

Source: The University of Texas Medical Branch

12 comments
usugo
fun fact activity of NNMT in liver has been associated with an increase in lifespan. So, you have to choose between being lean or live longer using this approach!
Asgard
Howabout using it just long enough to become lean so you can live longer?
Sisko
I thought the studies showed that being thin, supposedly correlated to living longer, and since this study seems to be saying that less NNMT means being thinner, it would seem that more NNMT, shortens a lifespan.
liui
What about taking Niacin (B3)? http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2016/08/11/niacin-weight-loss-or-gain-how-vitamin-b3-affects-body-weight/
AHan
@usugo -- association is not causation.
Username
usugo, fun fact, Obese people have a shorter life span.
Nik
This may be useful for people who have thyroid problems, where their system metabolism is already compromised, which causes weight gain. It will be interesting to see if it ever reaches the market, and, at what price.
CharlieSeattle
Science has come a long way then, from David Letterman's observation decades ago after he read a sign that said, "Lose Weight, No Exercise, No Diet Sure Fire Plan." Dave said to himself, "That pretty much just leaves disease!"
damon
I'm already fat, balding and have grey hair. I read stories like this daily, fat loss, hair growth, etc. solutions that are "promising" but will no doubt not be ready for 10 or 15 years. Wasn't there anyone around 10 or 15 years ago making discoveries that are available to help out today's fatties? Grrr!
Scottsdale Bob
No drugs required if you simply change what you eat! I know it to be true by curing my Type II diabetes and losing 60 lbs in 1 year. On track to lose 60 more and be under 200 lbs. I no longer take any meds and my now old Doctor was replaced because he refused to understand how a KETO diet cured me. I now have clarity of thought, no snoring, a happy wife, no foot pain, a stronger body and perfect blood sugars and fat levels. I eat 90% fats & proteins, 10% carbs, no grains and zero sugars. I'm never hungry and it's awesome to eat bacon, butter and steak!