A team of researchers at the University of Southampton have discovered and claimed that their Compound 14 could be the diet pill that mimics exercise to help the battle against obesity and type 2 diabetes. They are one of the issues of grave concern in United States, where one third of Americans are considered obese and type 2 diabetes makes up for 95% of the cases.
Chemical biology professor, Dr. Ali Tavassoli, and his team have developed a drug that inhibits the activity of ATIC, a cellular enzyme with a vital role in metabolism. How it works is that when the ATIC’s function is blocked, another molecule ZMP gathers in the cell and triggers the energy sensor known as AMPK, thus tricking them into thinking the body is low on energy.
In order to make up for it, the cells then instantly power up and try to increase the energy by accelerating the body’s metabolism and heightening glucose intake. That is a process commonly occurring during exercise and is widely attributed to weight loss.
To test out the new Compound 14, the team of scientists have gathered two separates groups of mice. One group consisted of rodents on a normal diet, with normal weight and glucose levels. The other group included mice who were on a diet rich in fat, reaching the status of obese, and who were also glucose intolerant, which is the sign of pre-diabetes.
After just one appliance of the drug, it was noticed that while normal mice held steady in their glucose levels, obese mice showed reduced levels that lowered them to the standard number. It is presumed that this could see the same effects in humans suffering from type 2 diabetes or, at the very least, prevent early signs from developing into the full condition.
Furthermore, the normal mice recorded no weight loss, but the obese mice lost 5% of their body weight after a seven day course of Compound 14.
By accelerating the metabolism and forcing the cells into overdrive, the molecule is able to trick the body into thinking it’s exercising, thus lowering glucose levels and resulting in weight loss. Researchers believe this could pave the way for new medication that will battle against widely-spread obesity and diabetes alike.
However, before anyone tosses their workout gear and packs up their exercise mats, it is to be noted that the drug only functions on those suffering from obesity, so the normal way of losing weight is still applicable to them and should not rush into pharmacies just yet.
So far, it has not been proven to be harmless to humans, but trials are expected to be underway soon enough and Compound 14 could be integrated into innovative drugs sometime in the near future.
Image source: healthydietbase.com
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