A new drug has been found by French scientists to trick the body into burning off fat even if the patient is on a high-fat diet. Researchers over at the University of Louis Pasteur found that the lab mice that ingested the drug were protected against weight gain and insulin resistance, a health problem that could trigger diabetes.
What is resveratrol?
The drug SRT1720, which is a chemical cousin of resveratrol found in red wine, targets the SIRT1 protein that has been thought to combat aging.
Although resveratrol enables to counter some effects of a high-calorie diet, researchers have found out that one needs to drink gallons of red wine in order to get resveratrol’s optimum benefits. This has prompted scientists over at University of Louis Pasteur to create a more potent drug that would specifically target SIRT1.
Their experiment on lab mice has shown that a low dose of SRT1720 over a period of 10 weeks partially protected mice from gaining weight on a high-fat diet. The drug works by shifting the metabolism to a fat-burning mode that normally takes over only when energy levels are low.
Meanwhile, higher doses of the drug completely prevented weight gain. The lab mice also had improved blood sugar tolerance and insulin sensitivity, which are important in order to ward off diabetes.
Although the mice showed no signs of side effects, scientists say further studies should be conducted to test its safety and efficacy before it could be used in humans.
The fight against obesity in a single pill
Current obesity treatments have involved surgical procedures, most often involving the stomach. The effect may be immediately felt within weeks after the operation, but it does not mean that patients would keep from gaining weight if they eat more on a much smaller stomach.
Treatment for obesity by drug usage has been in experimentation stage. A similar anti-obesity drug rimonabant, known for its brand name
Acomplia, has been removed from the market amid safety concerns. Despite the welcoming news about SRT1720 that aims to activate SRT1 protein, doctors and other health experts still recommend a lifestyle change in dieting and exercising in order to effectively counter the obesity problem.