Most of us turn to diet or exercise when it comes to trying to lose weight. But now, scientists have revealed that we may have another option to help us shed pounds: Botox.
The cosmetic injection is typically used to smooth wrinkles or block sweat glands. Yet, in a small study, a team of Norwegian scientists injected Botox into the stomachs of 20 obese people — and found that 15 of them experienced an average 28% reduction in their excess weight.
The team of scientists theorised that Botox could block the vagus nerve — the connection between the brain and the stomach — which controls feelings of hunger and satiety, according to Live Science.
They injected Botox into the vagus nerve of rats — and found that the injection led to the rodents eating less and losing weight. Meanwhile, rats whose vagus nerves were cut did not lose any weight after receiving the injection.
The findings suggested that targeting the connecting nerve promotes weight loss. This inspired researchers to use Botox the same way on people.
“It really was a new technique, [using Botox] to block the feedback between the stomach and the brain,” study co-author Duan Chen, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said.
The patients were injected at the start of the study, with follow-up shots once every six months afterwards. Seventy per cent of them were found to have lost weight after the first year — shedding 17% of their excess body weight on average.
But, after 18 months and three injections, 75% of the patients had sized down, losing an average of 28% of their excess weight.
However, further research is needed before people start turning to Botox as “another new way to treat obesity,” Chen told Live Science.
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