Dr. Jonathan Graff says "skinny gene" needs to be turned on in obese
The head of the British Medical Association caught a lot of flack last month for suggesting overweight and obese people should stop looking for another pill to pop to do something about their weight problem. But his concerns have fallen on deaf ears from every obesity researcher in the world still trying to find the next great anti-obesity drug!
This Globe & Mail column highlights a new study on a gene researchers have found in the body that allegedly makes you skinny and reverses high blood sugar and insulin levels in the body. They are working feverishly on developing a prescription medication to stimulate this gene.
Lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Graff, associate professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and his fellow researchers observed the adipose (Adp) gene in obese mice, fruit flies, and worms over a 5-year period and found that less stimulation of this gene existed which led to fat formation and insulin resistance leading to Type 2 diabetes.
At the same time, when more stimulation of the Adp gene was present in the mice, flies, and worms, they were thinner and healthier.
This study was published in the September 5, 2007 issue of the scientific journal Cell Metabolism.
Dr. Graff said this proves anyone has the potential to be lean and healthy once this gene is properly regulated in the body.
"There's a 'skinny gene' out there, and when it's reduced in function, animals become fat," he explained. "It works in fat cells and not by changing appetite, and could account for what I would call this epidemic of obesity and diabetes."
Because human beings also have the Adp gene, Dr. Graff says further research will be needed to look into a possible new pharmaceutical treatment for obesity, diabetes, and other weight-related diseases.
"What we want to do now is to get a medicine to rev this thing up, to help you be skinny, to get your blood sugar down, to get your insulin down," he stated.
Bringing an oral medication to the market could take a decade.
I just have one thing to say about: OH BROTHER, NOT AGAIN!
You know, I see a regular trend happening here. Researchers find something in a study related to being fat, they justify continuing their research by claiming it can be turned into a drug for treating obesity, and then they keep pursuing it so the financial underwriting will continue. Is there no end to this hysteria?
Don't get me wrong, studying the culprits behind obesity and disease is wonderful, but the focus has all too often been on creating the next so-called "magic pill" for treating weight loss. Nevermind those outstanding researchers who are promoting natural and healthy dietary changes for reducing weight and improving health like livin' la vida low-carb (we even saw the researchers in this study published in Cell Metabolism last month regarding the TOR gene and the Atkins diet trying to push for a drug intervention--UGH!).
But there's no money in natural nutritional remedies, so those research studies are generally swept under the rug, ignored, and research dollars mysteriously shrivel up and disappear. Why? The cold hard reality is that obesity and disease have become BIG BUSINESS as Dr. William Davis so poignantly noted in my recent interview with him about heart healthcare.
Dr. Graff maintains the reduced Adp gene function, which was discovered a half century ago in obese fruit flies, just needs to be turned on and up in fat people.
"It's a volume control," he contended. "We can just keep making you skinnier by turning the volume of this up."
Um, with all due respect, Dr. Graff, I disagree that the overwhelming cases of obesity that exist in modern time is necessarily tied to the Adp gene. Instead, it's about what happens in the body metabolically when overconsumption of carbohydrate is combined with fat and protein to pack on the pounds and cause insulin resistance.
Instead of working on a pill which may or may not work even after years of testing, how about looking at and embracing the studies that HAVE come out about controlling metabolic syndrome with a naturally healthy diet? It's livin' la vida low-carb in case you missed it!
The low-carb lifestyle has a proven track record for reducing body fat, lowering triglycerides, raising HDL "good" cholesterol, improving blood sugars, and so many other health markers. Let's urge people to implore this kind of natural anti-obesity strategy rather than constantly looking for that next great miracle pill. Who in the research community has the guts to stand up and declare this truth?
You can e-mail Dr. Jonathan Graff about his study at email@example.com.