Potential Treatment for Obesity Discovered: Drug Prevents Weight Gain and Reduces Blood Sugar

Potential Treatment for Obesity

A new study offers the first evidence that a protein named BAM15 acts as an energy uncoupler and could be an effective drug for treating obesity and related diseases.

Obesity affects more than 650 million people worldwide and drives a number of dangerous health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more than a dozen deadly cancers. Global spending to treat obesity and obesity-related illnesses amounts to well above $150 billion a year.

“Despite this, only a handful of medications are currently FDA-approved for obesity treatment, and the people who take these drugs rarely achieve long-term weight loss,” said John Kirwan, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“Halting the obesity epidemic requires new, more effective medications. This research represents a very promising step in the discovery process. We hope that in the not-too-distant future, BAM15 or related compounds will advance to clinical drug development and become a viable treatment option for patients with obesity.”

BAM15 Graphical Abstract

BAM15 prevents weight gain, fat buildup and reduces blood sugar. Credit: Graphic by Kathryn Pergola

BAM15 differs from the existing weight-management medications, which largely work by reducing the amount of food a person eats or the calories their bodies absorb. BAM15 works by making the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, less efficient. The result is that the mitochondria burn more energy.

Researchers believe BAM15 could be used to treat a number of health conditions including diabetes, fatty liver disease, and some forms of cancer.

In the new study, Pennington Biomedical scientists show for the first time that mice given BAM15 are resistant to weight gain by burning more calories than their untreated counterparts. Other benefits of BAM15 include:

  • Reducing blood sugar and insulin levels, regardless of weight loss.
  • Improving sensitivity of skeletal muscle to the effects of insulin. Skeletal muscle insulin resistance is a primary risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Reducing fat accumulation overall by restricting fat from building up in the liver, kidney, and blood. Accumulating too much fat in one’s liver, kidneys, or blood can damage the organs and lead to heart disease.

The study “BAM15 Mediated Mitochondrial Uncoupling Protects Against Obesity and Improves Glycemic Control” was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Reference: “BAM15‐mediated mitochondrial uncoupling protects against obesity and improves glycemic control” by Christopher L Axelrod, William T King, Gangarao Davuluri, Robert C Noland, Jacob Hall, Michaela Hull, Wagner S Dantas, Elizabeth RM Zunica, Stephanie J Alexopoulos, Kyle L Hoehn, Ingeborg Langohr, Krisztian Stadler, Haylee Doyle, Eva Schmidt, Stephan Nieuwoudt, Kelly Fitzgerald, Kathryn Pergola, Hisashi Fujioka, Jacob T Mey, Ciaran Fealy, Anny Mulya, Robbie Beyl, Charles L Hoppel and John P Kirwan, 10 June 2020, EMBO Molecular Medicine.
DOI: 10.15252/emmm.202012088

20 Comments on "Potential Treatment for Obesity Discovered: Drug Prevents Weight Gain and Reduces Blood Sugar"

  1. There is a super secret to treat obesity that i learned when i was like 9 years old, i call it “calorie deficit”

  2. @Niggamaniac – ah yes the tried and true, highly effective calorie deficit method – it’s free and works. I’m a 42 y/o mama of 6 including a twin pregnancy late in life (38) with a size 2 body. Friends and strangers always ask how I do it and they HATE my answer. Clean diet, calorie deficit, and excerise. Nobody wants to task themselves. God forbid people might have to fight a craving or move their bodies – opening the fridge doesn’t count. Weak in mind = weak of body

  3. That is not necessarily true for some people unfortunately. Many people take medications, which effects weight. I am a kidney transplant survivor and I have to watch out for post transplant diabetes. I also have a friend who has Lupus and on steroids, eats well, but is heavy unfortunately.
    1/3 of obese people in the US are on some medication that effects their weight.
    It has nothing to do with a weak mind. I have survived an organ transplant. I am a very strong person. : )

  4. Mama of 6, it is very fortunate you are healthy and normal. But not all are that fortunate. About 10% of adult women have PCOS. They can run 24/7 and not eat for months and one morning, they think of food and immediately gain 200 lbs. This is not because they are lazy, its the way God intended them to be. These women cannot even eat leafy vegetables without getting fat. Add hypothyroidism to the mix and you get fat just because you rested a minute a week. And think of the number of women who get gestational diabetes.

    Besides there are many other factors – diabetes and other hereditary factors that contribute to obesity. Yes, there are fat people who eat a lot and do not workout, but there is a large number that has no control on their weight whatsoever.

    Please be considerate of others before labelling every fat person as lazy and gluttonous.

  5. Amen to Sandy. I have PCOS and my weight issues have no logic. I drink 100 ounces of water a day. I exercise and muscle train a few times a week. I’m not running marathons but I stay active.

    I don’t eat chips, McDonald’s, candy bars, etc. I love fruits, vegetables, and protein. No matter my healthy lifestyle or short term successes, PCOS always wins.

    PCOS causes unexplainable, rapid weight gain all the time. The Lord is the only doctor I trust and will help me gain control of my condition. The medical community and the general public are so judgemental when it comes to weight. I battled with anorexia because people constantly challenge you to try harder.

    Please tell me what else I can cut out of my diet.

  6. First, I’ve been talking, Pyruvate, anticipating the same results – nope.
    Second, does that photo at the top of the piece seem a bit risque?
    Third, for a science oriented website, some of these comments are retarded besides being unscientific.

  7. Clayton Lemaire | June 10, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Reply

    For anyone who has PCOS Or has hypothyroidism i highly recommend the ketogenic diet don’t listen to the doctors it is the only diet for you no pills for information on how to get started dr. Berg on YouTube will show you the way hopefully this will help somebody

  8. Oh my goodness
    I have PCOS as well. I know it is an endless cycle. Most doctors don’t know anything of this condition.

  9. I feel I am doomed actually with PCOS as well, I developed in late 20’s. I am thinking of adding more protein to my diet like chicken. I have a girlfriend of mine who has PCOS and eat tons of meat. Are we supposed to be doing this? No, doctors don’t help. They blame. Don’t take metformin though. I was constantly throwing up.

  10. . I am thinking of adding more protein to my diet like chicken. I have a girlfriend of mine who has PCOS and eat tons of meat. Are we supposed to be doing this? No, doctors don’t help. They blame. Don’t take metformin though. I was constantly throwing up.

  11. Just search for Dr. Eric Berg DC and watch some of his content, good pratical advice

  12. Plz mention the “Side effects” too.

  13. @mel g – the way you think is very lazy.

  14. You know if everyone in the world had the same body and metabolism as yourself, then you’d have a valid argument. But there are a myriad of reasons why people can’t lose weight or it is very difficult. Many have diseases that affect their metabolisms, like thyroid diseases. Genetics plays a huge role in how a person’s body reacts to exercise and weight loss or gain. As we’re get older, regardless of culture or race or economic status, it becomes harder and harder to drop excess weight. Finally, behavior plays a significant role in weight loss or gain throughout our lifetime. If a person was taught good or bad behaviors in childhood then they carry those behaviors into adulthood. But those behaviors can change from good to bad or bad to good. Circumstances can change how a person uses nutrition. Poor people are less concerned with nutrition than with getting a fever but meal. Homeless people have concern or give even a moment’s thought to nutrition or exercise. Their concerns focus on basic survival. What about single parents struggling to feed their children? What about people sacrificing their nutritional needs to pay their bills? Saving for college or buy a home or some other vital need? There’s also traumatic events that happen. Accidents or being a victim of violence or a natural event like a hurricane or tornado? It sounds like you have a good decent life. Consider yourself very fortunate and be thankful. Just please, don’t let your arrogance cloud your empathy for other humans. That’s the quickest way to bad karma.

    • Please forgive the word errors. I use that predictive typing and it many times chooses words not meant.

  15. Nice you’re a size 2 and have no qualms about bragging about it. Now work on your judgmental attitude and empathy, of which you have none. Personally I’d rather be an overweight person with a strong sense of how to address people with empathy, love and caring. Must suck to be you, skinny and heartless.

  16. KATHELENE CRISWELL | June 11, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Reply

    I’m fat. 2 years ago i finally figured out how to lose weight after 30 years of trying every diet. No fat. No carbs. No sugar. 500 calories a day walk/jog at least 3 miles per day. I lost 40lbs & kept it off. Slowly introduced healthy carbs back at advice of doctor. Then quarantine & i stress ate everything. Gained 20lbs in 3 months. Hate myself. Skinny size 2 lady… you are a hag.

  17. Or just stop eating carbs, that is sugars and starches, and “magically” the weight just drops away…. Oh, wait – theres no money to be made in that !!!

  18. Not eat carbs? That is quite a flawed generalization. Carbs provide energy to the cells. Many people react differently regarding nutritional compounds. Personally, having a vegetarian diet while enjoying a bag of chips and bread (in moderation) has never caused weight gain. Listen to your body. Some factors that have caused slight gains for me were eating breakfast, stress, bingeing on high caloric “healthy foods” like hummus, and skipping exercise for a month. Plus, hormone changes play a role in weight fluctuations. Anyway, be kind to each other.

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