Researchers claim to have discovered a process by which a small protein acts directly within muscles to increase the body's metabolism to burn fat while simultaneously suppressing appetite. This discovery could potentially become a promising new weight loss treatment.
The new study by a team led by a Canadian researcher, Dr. Greg Steinberg reveals how a small protein acts directly within muscles to increase the body's metabolism to burn fat while at the same time suppressing appetite. The protein is knows as the ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF). The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Canadian Diabetes Association are funding the research.
They believe that the protein activates an enzyme, skeletal muscle AMP kinase, which increases the ability of the body to metabolise fat and sugar. This study they hope may lead to new strategies to reduce the risk of metabolic abnormalities associated with excess weight.
Steinberg's research shows how CNTF activates similar pathways to those stimulated by exercise. He said that earlier most obesity research has focused on the regulation of appetite by hormones such as leptin. But it is now found that leptin is ineffective in obesity due to the presence of proteins which inhibit their ability to stimulate fat metabolism, he said. He explained that fortunately, CNTF's effects on fat burning are being maintained.
Dr. Diane Finegood, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Nutrition, stated, this research is an important step for unravelling the complex biological systems controlling body weight, including mechanisms regulating blood sugar levels, food intake, and satiety meaning the feeling of fullness which are crucial to tackling the worldwide epidemic of obesity.
Researchers are working on the pill. But health experts feel it's still a long shot. Actually though Dr.Steinberg is not the first to come to this conclusion, an American pharmaceutical company Regeneron already owns the rights to recombinant CNTF and had completed phase 3 clinical trials of its CNTF medication Axokine. But the trails were discontinued when patients developed antibodies to CNTF that neutralized the effect of the drug.