A protein discovery could pave way to better treatments for obesity
"The effect on fat mass we found, from this short experiment, exceeded what's usually observed after various forms of physical training. But we weren't able to determine whether the reduction was in subcutaneous fat (just under the skin) or the dangerous visceral kind (belly fat) in the abdominal cavity that's most strongly associated with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes," says Professor John-Olov Jansson of Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
In previous animal studies published in 2018, the scientists showed that there is an energy balance system that endeavors to keep body weight constant: the "gravitostat," as they have dubbed it. In mice, this regulation takes place partly by influencing appetite. To work, the system must contain a kind of personal weighing machine. The researchers' new clinical study shows that similar built-in scales exists in humans as well.
If people do a lot of sitting, what seems to happen is that the reading on our personal scales falls too low. This may explain why sitting is so clearly associated with obesity and ill-health. Weighted vests can raise the reading on the scales, resulting in weight loss.
Many questions about how the gravitostat works remain for the researchers to answer. Aspects they want to study include whether, in wearers of weighted vests, changed energy expenditure, appetite and mobility help them to lose weight. The scientists also want to see whether the weight reduction continues for the vest wearers over periods longer than three weeks, and whether the dangerous visceral fat is reduced by the treatment. Source:
University of Gothenburg Journal reference:
Ohlsson, C., et al. (2020) Increased weight loading reduces body weight and body fat in obese subjects. A proof of concept randomized clinical trial. EClinical Medicine . doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100338 .
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