Are researchers on the trail of a big weight control breakthrough? Or should I say tail? That’s because scientists have come up with two new ways to control weight and blood sugar levels in obese mice… without diet or exercise!
Now, that doesn’t mean there will be a magic pill tomorrow that will let us all be healthy couch potatoes. But the findings are definitely intriguing.
Researchers inserted a molecular shunt into the liver cells of 94 mice. The shunt contained an enzyme normally found in bacteria and plants, but not in mammals.
The effects were promising. Despite the fact that the mice in the study ate high-fat foods that mimicked a fast-food diet, the mice stayed skinny. This was compared to mice without shunts fed the same food.
Experts say that the shunt acted like an artificial engine that enabled the mice’s liver cells to burn more fat.
“Exercise is always a good way to burn fat, but we found you can increase the metabolic channels for burning fat even without exercising more,” says the study’s author James Liao, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Liao says that an anti-obesity treatment using molecular shunts is years away.
In a related study, researchers added leptin receptors into the brains of mice, and found that not only did it restore their blood glucose levels to normal, it also made them more active. They also ate 30 percent less calories and lost some weight. The implication is that it could lead to a way to entice people to be more active.