For many considering weight loss, a healthy diet and exercise are often the only things they take into consideration. And this is with good cause.
Most weight issues are directly related to lack of exercise or bad food choices. However, as science and technology advances, so do approaches to weight loss.
A new advance in science is looking at how genes can be manipulated to help people combat weight gain and overeating.
This new treatment is called leptin gene therapy and may be more effective in helping people lose weight than any other method to date.
What is Leptin Gene Therapy?
To fully understand leptin gene therapy, a more complete understanding of weight gain is required. When people overeat or aren’t active enough, the body begins to store extra energy.
This energy is stored as fat, which will take in more and more energy, causing weight gain. However, this isn’t the only function fat has in the body. Fat also releases certain hormones that can cause a plethora of problems.
One of the hormones that fat releases is called leptin, which works to control appetite and how energy is used. The more fat the body has the more leptin it produces, which can cause the body to become resistant to the hormone.
And, since leptin tells the brain when it’s full, this can lead to overeating and even more weight gain.
What leptin gene therapy aims to do is to add recombinant leptin to the brain so that the body starts responding to it again.
The hope is that by doing so, people looking to lose weight will begin feeling full faster and, therefore, eat less and lose weight.
Benefits of Leptin Gene Therapy
While diet and exercise are a great way to lose weight, the majority of people who lose weight in this manner gain it back at some point.
This means that many people who turn to diet and exercise for a weight loss solution end up putting the weight back on permanently or fluctuate between weights.
Not only is this discouraging for those trying to lose weight, it’s also dangerous for the body.
When the body has to deal with fluctuating weight, it puts stress on the heart and on the bones. If the bones are used to carrying a heavier person, who then becomes lighter, but then becomes heavier again, they begin to weaken.
In many cases, people with fluctuating weight are diagnosed with osteoporosis, because their bones can’t deal with the stress.
The same is true for the heart, which has to work more or less to get blood through bodies of different sizes.
Proponents of leptin gene therapy claim that with it weight loss could be permanent, minimizing the damage done to the body and the emotions of the people trying to lose weight.
Leptin gene therapy would help people lose weight without thinking about it. Their bodies would tell them to stop eating and tell them to eat less, so weight loss would come naturally.
And, because the brain wouldn’t become resistant to this form of leptin, the results would be permanent.
Studies on Leptin Gene Therapy
To date, the only studies done on leptin gene therapy have been animal studies. While many researchers hope to move to human trials soon, there is still quite a bit of research that needs to be done before this will be possible.
However, the animal studies have been very encouraging.
In several studies, rats were divided into two groups, one group receiving the recombinant leptin and the other receiving nothing.
These rats were monitored for several months. Scientists kept track of their eating and their bone density.
At the end of the study, the rats that received the leptin lost weight, due to them eating less, and maintained their bone density.
This is a huge step forward for scientists hoping to treat the obesity epidemic through leptin gene therapy.
Does Leptin Gene Therapy Work for Weight Loss?
Whether leptin gene therapy works or not is a complex question. So far, in the studies that have been done, this therapy has proven that it can help with long-term weight loss.
However, because it isn’t available for human testing yet, how it works for people is still in question.
But, before they figure that out, you can still use a diet supplement to aid your weight loss.
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