Obese Woman Runs for exercise on Beach

New research, published online in The FASEB Journal, suggests that activation of a chemical in the body through an estrogen receptor reduces obesity and metabolic diseases in mice by converting bad fat (white fat) to good fat (brown fat), which increases metabolism and may facilitate weight loss.

“Obesity is the underlying cause for several diseases that could result in mortality,” said Ramesh Narayanan, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “Safe and effective treatment for obesity is highly needed, and (this type of) targeting might be one of the strategies to safely combat obesity.”

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To make their discovery, Narayanan and colleagues used three groups of mice. One group was fed with normal rodent diet, while two groups were fed with a high-fat diet (HFD) to make them obese. One of the obese groups was treated with the chemical, beta-LGND2, which made them significantly leaner than the other mice fed a HFD. The beta-LGND2-treated mice had higher body temperature and oxygen consumption, indicating higher metabolism rate.

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“As both the pre-diabetes condition of metabolic syndrome as well as obesity itself continue to threaten the health of millions of people in many parts of the world, we need all the new findings dedicated researchers can give us,” said Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “The notion that the fat in our bodies comes in two physiological forms has long been known, but here we have the intriguing prospect of a beneficial pharmacological switch.”

Especially since most hunger-reducing therapies, despite their modest efficacy, have safety concerns that underscore the need for effective peripherally-acting drugs, if mortality is to be reduced.

(Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology)

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