Scientists at Indiana University have found a way to combine two hormones to produce an effective weight-loss therapy with few side effects that offers promise as a safe new treatment for obesity and related health conditions.
The research, published online in the journal Nature Medicine, involved laboratory mice. But researchers said the hormones have the same weight-loss effects in humans, too.
Richard DiMarchi, who helped conduct the study, said researchers combined a peptide hormone from the digestive system — known as GLP-1 — with the well-known female hormone estrogen and found the combo produced significant weight loss in obese mice, without negative side effects. Past research has found both hormones may promote weight loss, but the new study found combining the two was much more effective.SPECIAL: These 5 Things Flush 40 lbs. of Fat Out of Your Body — Read More.
"We find that combining the hormones as a single molecule dramatically enhanced their efficacy and their safety," DiMarchi said. "The combination improves the ability to lower body weight and the ability to manage glucose, and it does so without showing the hallmark toxicities associated with estrogen."
The researchers believe the combined effects of the hormones affect metabolic processes associated with weight management. The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 20 percent of the adult population has some form of metabolic syndrome, which includes such obesity-related health risks as high blood pressure, high triglycerides, hyperglycemia, belly fat, and low HDL cholesterol. People with the condition are three times as likely to have a heart attack or stroke and five times as likely to develop diabetes as those without the syndrome.