Researchers have created a new class of peptides that might offer gastric bypass surgery’s advantages without requiring intrusive procedures. According to recent research, these peptides helped obese rats lose a large amount of weight and lower their blood glucose levels.
The injectable substances minimise eating while also increasing calorie burn, and they do so without the side effects of nausea and vomiting that are frequently associated with modern weight reduction and diabetic medications.
Diabetes and obesity are both major public health issues, with the former being one of the main risk factors for the latter. A good therapeutic option is bariatric surgery, which includes the gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, and gastric band. It can lead to long-term weight loss and even the remission of diabetes.
These procedures, nevertheless, have significant risks, are not appropriate for everyone, and are not easily accessible to the majority of people. Therefore, some researchers propose that a different therapeutic choice would be to treat metabolic problems with medication that mimics the long-term benefits of surgery.
According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity and being overweight are chronic illnesses that are widespread in the United States.
These problems can worsen a variety of other medical conditions and are associated with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The following are some of the factors that contribute to obesity:
- eating habits, such as consuming meals and drinks that are high in calories but poor in nutrients
- sleep deprivation
- absence of exercise
- Many drugs, including those prescribed for diabetes, depression, or high blood pressure
- genealogy and genetics
Overweight or obesity affects over three-fourths of US adults over the age of 20. Obesity affects 20% of kids between the ages of 2 and 19 years.
Body mass index (BMI) is used by medical practitioners to check for overweight and obesity. The formula is: Height squared divided by weight (in kilos) (in meters.) Online BMI calculators abound, one of which is provided by the CDC.
Sood told that he would like future research on weight loss to evaluate both weight loss and body composition. “We just lack sufficient knowledge to determine whether patients taking gut hormone agonists for weight loss are mostly losing fat or a mixture of fat and muscle,” says the researcher (the latter is more likely). To age properly and retain a strong metabolism as we age, losing muscle would be counterproductive.
Some patients who have had gastric bypass surgery benefit from specific health advantages linked to adjustments in the gut’s hormone output.
The hormones in question, such as peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), signal fullness, curb hunger, and aid in blood sugar regulation.
Targeting GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas and brain, scientists have created medications that seek to mimic these effects.
These medications have been effective in managing type 2 diabetes and weight loss. There is a need for better solutions with fewer side effects because some people are unable to handle the negative effects of these medications, and studies show that roughly half of those who start taking them stop within a year.
To meet this demand, a group led by scientists from Syracuse University in New York has created a novel peptide. On March 26–30, they discussed their most current findings at the ACS Spring 2023 meeting.
The researchers suggest that an alternate treatment for those with metabolic issues would be a substance that matches the long-term advantages of gastric bypass surgery.
Several strategies have been devised by researchers to alleviate the negative effects of medications that only target one hormone receptor in the stomach. Designing medications to interact with several receptor types is one approach.
In a prior investigation, the group produced a peptide named GEP44 that activates two peptide YY receptors and one glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor.
When this substance was tested on obese rats, it was discovered that the animals that received it consumed up to 80% less food than usual and on average lost 12% of their body weight over the course of the 16-day experiment.
In a recent study, they compared the novel peptide GEP44’s efficacy in treating obesity to that of the medication liraglutide.
According to the study, rats given GEP44 lost more weight than rats given liraglutide. When tested on rats and shrews, GEP44, unlike liraglutide, did not exhibit any signs of nausea or vomiting.
According to the researchers, this might be as a result of GEP44 activating a number of receptors, which might stop the intracellular signalling cascade that results in these symptoms.
Weight loss and high energy expenditure
This study also suggests that the weight reduction brought on by GEP44 is a result of increased energy expenditure rather than just a decrease in food consumption. The manifestation of this rise in energy expenditure can take several forms, including an increase in heart rate, body temperature, or physical activity.
By directing glucose into muscle tissue to be used as fuel and by transforming specific pancreatic cells into cells that produce insulin, peptide treatments like GEP44 not only aid in weight reduction but also aid in lowering blood sugar levels.
GEP44 must be administered numerous times daily to maintain its effectiveness because it has a brief half-life in the body. The team has created a novel peptide, however, that requires only one or two injections per week and has a far longer lifespan.
The researchers discovered that rats treated with this novel molecule continue to lose weight even after the treatment has ceased, which is unusual for medications currently on the market that have been licenced to treat obesity.
“Obesity is obviously an increasing epidemic worldwide,” Dr. Becca Krukowski, professor of public health sciences at the University of Virginia and a non-participant in this study, told us.
What does it implies?
Although these are preliminary results in lab animals, Dr. Krukowski said that “over time, our research may lead to novel drugs that are safe and beneficial for patients.” But before being widely administered, this medication would need to go through the deliberate deliberate slow and thorough multi-stage and multi-year testing process, she warned.
However, if this treatment characteristic was verified in trials with humans, Krukowski continued, “the possible lack of weight regain after ceasing treatment would be extremely interesting.”
Both positive and negative impacts from this research, according to Bishoff, are possible. “The benefits being that patients can take lesser doses of medications that can deliver desired results while reducing nausea and vomiting side effects.
On the other hand, it’s possible that weight loss medications lower caloric intake to the point of malnutrition or deficiency. In the end, additional study will be required, which may take several years.
Although there may be some medical advantages to weight reduction medications, it’s crucial that patients understand they shouldn’t be used as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. They can be viewed as a tool as opposed to a fix. When controlling weight and diabetes, eating a variety of well-balanced meals, sticking to daily caloric goals, and exercising frequently should always be encouraged, according to Haley Bishoff.
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