Revolutionizing Weight Loss: Scientists Uncover New Secrets to Natural Appetite Control

Obese Man Tape Measure Fat

A new study unveils that Metformin and solid foods raise a natural appetite suppressant, Lac-Phe, offering promising strategies against obesity and type-2 diabetes. This insight into Metformin’s role and the impact of food choices on hunger control opens avenues for novel anti-obesity treatments and dietary guidelines.

In a ground-breaking study, just published in leading international journal Nature Metabolism, scientists from Trinity College Dublin and Princeton and Harvard Medical School share newly uncovered secrets to natural appetite control, which offers promise in the battle against obesity and type-2 diabetes.

The new research shows the diabetes drug Metformin and solid foods elevate a hunger-reducing factor (Lac-Phe) in the body, while sugary drinks have minimal effects.

Obesity is a key driver of type-2 diabetes, and the 2022 Eurostat report revealed that 1 in 5 Irish adults are obese. Indeed, global diabetes cases have more than tripled in the last 20 years alongside the rise in obesity. The cost of managing diabetes represents approximately 9% of EU Member States’ healthcare budgets – totaling €149 billion in 2019.

There is no cure for diabetes and every year in Europe 114,000 people lose their lives from diabetes-related complications.

Metformin’s Role in Appetite Suppression

The scientists now report new insights into how the widely used diabetes drug metformin benefits patients with type-2 diabetes. Metformin is described by some as a “wonder drug” even though we still do not know exactly how it works.

This study shows that metformin increases the amount of an appetite-suppressing factor called Lactoyl-Phenylalanine (Lac-Phe), identified in 2022 as a natural appetite suppressant, and which is known to be raised by vigorous exercise.

The scientists probed data from other studies involving large numbers of patients, to conclusively demonstrate that Lac-Phe levels rise after individuals take metformin. This work opens a new avenue for developing targeted anti-obesity treatments.

Insights from Researchers

Barry Scott, first author of the research, is a former stock market trader and now a Ph.D. Candidate in Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology, based in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI). He said: “I’m hopeful our research can have a big impact. Metformin is the most prescribed drug for type-2 diabetes, and it’s very safe and well-tolerated. How metformin affects appetite was not known, but this work shows that its influence on Lac-Phe is a key part of its hunger-suppressing impact.”

The team also discovered that Lac-Phe increases after eating, and so contributes to the feeling of fullness after a meal.

David Finlay, Associate Professor in Immunometabolism, Trinity, who co-supervised the work with Professor Lydia Lynch, Princeton and Harvard Medical Schools, said: “Our study shows that the type of food you eat matters. For instance, eating sugar-rich date fruits caused an immediate and large surge in Lac-Phe, for example, whereas drinking a sugar-rich drink did not. This could help explain why liquid calories can drive obesity.”

Professor Lydia Lynch said: “Identifying the factors that control appetite and satiety after a meal is important to help us to understand and ultimately treat the current obesity epidemic. Further understanding Lac-Phe’s actions may lead to a new class of safe and effective anti-obesity drugs.”

Reference: “Metformin and feeding increase levels of the appetite-suppressing metabolite Lac-Phe in humans” by Barry Scott, Emily A. Day, Katie L. O’Brien, John Scanlan, Grace Cromwell, Aine Ni Scannail, Marie E. McDonnell, David K. Finlay and Lydia Lynch, 18 March 2024, Nature Metabolism.
DOI: 10.1038/s42255-024-01018-7

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Science Foundation Ireland.

4 Comments on "Revolutionizing Weight Loss: Scientists Uncover New Secrets to Natural Appetite Control"

  1. Janice Stewart | March 30, 2024 at 5:05 am | Reply

    I love Science, it will be great to find out if the Scientists use Metaformin. More to stop type 2 diabetes, I exercise its great to know that exercise stops it so more exercise it helps to kill the pain of osteo- arthritis for an hour or so as our endorphins kick in it really helps but you have to exercise on a daily basis.

  2. Concerned Reader | March 30, 2024 at 7:23 pm | Reply

    There is a cure for diabetes type II, there are many quality studies that have shown a whole food plant based diet will reverse it. To say there is No cure is simply False!

  3. Denise Sochia | March 30, 2024 at 7:29 pm | Reply

    Natural. What a wonderful thought.
    I have 30lbs and 69 of years
    I am going through so much pain to loose this weight.
    Mataformin. Should I go to my doctors for it Or
    Keep killing myself and get nowhere

  4. do your own dialyses! eat soups for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! no cakes or other food that does not belong to soup!

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