A hormone naturally produced in the intestines after a meal has been found to reduce people's appetites and cut their food intake when given in drug form before eating.
The study of 12 healthy volunteers found that those who received infusions of the hormone shortly before an all-you-can-eat buffet ate one third less than those given only a dummy treatment.
The hormone, known as PYY3-36, is normally released into the blood from the intestines after a meal and in proportion to calorie intake. The new research suggests that PYY3-36 sends signals to specific receptors in the brain that in turn curb the appetite.
It also points to PYY3-36 as a new target in fighting obesity, according to the UK researchers. The scientists used rat experiments to first show that injections of PYY3-36 cut food intake and lead to weight loss. They also found evidence that the hormone acts via specific receptors in the area of the brain that regulates food intake. Rats genetically engineered to lack these receptors were unaffected by injections of PYY3-36.
If the hormone turns out to be a viable weight-loss agent, the best way to give it would be via injection. And much more research needs to be done. The research team from London plans to test the hormone among obese study participants and also try to hunt for foods that naturally trigger a greater release of PPY3-36 into the blood.
Some experts believe that such medications may be most effective for preventing weight rebound in people who have already shed pounds, rather than spurring weight loss on their own.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.