Researchers have developed a pill that tricks the body into thinking it has consumed calories, causing it to burn fat.
After being tested on mice, scientists have found “Fexaramine” to be effective in preventing weight gain, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar and minimising inflammation.
Ronald Evans, director of Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and senior author of the study says the pill is like an “imaginary meal”.
“It sends out the same signals that normally happen when you eat a lot of food, so the body starts clearing out space to store it. But there are no calories and no change in appetite,” he said.
“The body’s response to a meal is like a relay race, and if you tell all the runners to go at the same time, you’ll never pass the baton.
“We’ve learned how to trigger the first runner so that the rest of the events happen in a natural order.”
In 2013, figures from the National Health Reporting Authority for the Council of Australian Governments found that 10.8 million Australians are now classified as overweight or obese – that’s 63% of Australians.
Not only could the pill lead to an effective treatment for obesity but also help those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which affects 85-90% of all people with diabetes.
Scientists are now working to set up human clinical trials to test the effectiveness of Fexaramine to treat obesity and metabolic disease, but have not said when it would be released as a pharmaceutical.
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