Thursday, November 10, 2005

Will Obestatin Obliterate Obesity?

This Washington Post story about a new hormone discovery that has been found to help people resist the temptation to overeat is being hailed as the possible answer to the world's obesity problem.

Published in the November 11th issue of the Science journal, the study reveals a brand new substance called obestatin that has been found to act as an effective appetite suppressant in laboratory rats. Scientists are rejoicing that this new breakthrough is what millions of overweight and obese people need at last to shed those extra pounds that have plagued most of them their entire lives.

Funding for this intriguing new study was provided by Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC.

Of course, more research will need to be conducted on obestatin in the months and years ahead to ensure it does in humans what it is apparently doing in the lab rats. But with nearly two-thirds of the American population either overweight or obese, medical researchers and patients alike are desperately looking for some signs of hope in the battle of the bulge.

Some are concerned that obestatin didn't actually suppress the appetite of the rats, but rather made them so sick that they didn't want to eat. But others say it really works to control hunger and even the Latin root words that comprise the term obestatin are translated as "devour" and "suppression."

Obestatin is a sibling hormone to the hunger hormone known as ghrelin, which is an appetite-booster made in the stomach. However, scientists are calling obestatin the "anti-ghrelin" because it works exactly the opposite of ghrelin.

In looking at the genetic makeup of ghrelin, the researchers discovered it had an extra protein in it called obestatin that has been found to exist in humans and at least 10 other mammals.

A man-made version of obestatin was then created in a lab to see how it would react in rats. Normal-sized rats were given obestatin shots and it immediately cut their appetite in half and helped them lose 20 percent of their weight in just eight days. Keep in mind that the rats used in the research were not overweight or obese when given the obestatin injections.

Another interesting finding in the study showed that the obestatin literally kept food in the rat's stomachs longer and slowed down the process of the food navigating through the intestines, which led to longer satiety in the rats involved.

Researchers are now looking at how obestatin could be transformed into an obesity-fighting drug as well as observing other ways to get those same appetite-suppressing effects.

What should be made of the discovery of obestatin?

Let me begin by saying I am all for anything that will help people deal with their obesity. Ever since I lost 180+ pounds and have kept it off for nearly a year, my heartfelt desire is to help people find a way that works for them to get rid of all that fat that quite literally weighs them down physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Getting that proverbial monkey off your back is not impossible and my story proves that.

But at the same time I am very concerned that the world is waiting on pins and needles for a weight loss pill that will help them lose weight. Anyone expecting a drug to lose weight for them is in for a rude awakening when it comes time to implement the necessary changes to make weight loss permanent. Not until you decide to make appropriate lifestyle changes will you be able to not only lose weight, but have sustainable and measurable results that will last you for the rest of your life. That's what livin' la vida low-carb did for me and I didn't have an appetite-suppressing pill to help me do it either!

Will obestatin obliterate obesity? Not likely. As much attention as this new discovery is going to receive, I wouldn't count on it being the end-all answer to the continually-growing obesity problem that shows no sign of letting up.

People are desperate to lose weight these days. They'll try anything and everything except what they know they need to do. Eat right, exercise, and decide that today is the first day of your renewed decision to make the low-carb lifestyle your permanent way of eating for the rest of your life. It's a lifestyle change that will control your hunger and leave you much more satisfied than those failed low-fat/low-calorie diets we've been forced to endure for far too long! Nevermore!


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