When we are eating, we reach a stage where a little “voice” tells us that we’ve had enough and that we should stop eating. That “voice” is, in fact, a hormone that “tells” our body to stop eating.
Scientists have now identified a compound that imitates that hormone and are hoping to use it to treat obesity – which should be good news for one-third of the US population considered obese.
After years of painstaking research, Keqiang Ye, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University, and his team have identified what they call a “magical compound” when studying a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
These hormones are released in the body after a person eats and tell the body to stop eating. During drug screening the researchers found a compound, which can mimic the physiological function of these hormones.
So excited are Prof Ye and his team with the findings, that they have secured a patent for the “magical compound”, according to a report.
The compound tested on mice bore positive results. For a few months, a group of mice fed high fat diets with the “magical compound” were found to be 30 to 40 per cent lighter than a group fed a high fat die without the compound.
Interestingly, the research was successful only in female mice – it had no positive impact on the male lot!
However, Prof Ye cautions that the findings of his research will not translate into a magical cure overnight. But it will not take many years, either.
The compound is non-toxic and found in tree leaves from Central and South America and in small quantities in celery, parsley and even citrus peels.