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A New Vaccine Might Someday be a Powerful Weapon against Obesity

Antonia 2016-07-30

July 30, 2016

Hasil gambar untuk photos of Ghrelin

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a vaccine which allowed a person to eat as much as they wanted while slowing down their weight gain?  This might someday be a reality. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute administered a series of injections of this vaccine to 17 rats and found the over-eaters put on weight at a significantly reduced rate. It is believed this vaccine could be used as an effective treatment for obesity in humans.

The way the vaccine worked in this study was to trick the bodies of the 17 rats into neutralizing the effects of ghrelin, a type of protein known to have an effect on weight gain, which is also found in the human body.

Kim Janda, one of the research scientists involved with the study said the vaccine looks like a serious workable solution to the growing problem of human obesity. In the developed world, and much of the developing world, obesity has become a serious public health issue. In the United States alone, 31% of all adults are obese and 65% are overweight. 

One of the groups of rats in the study received a placebo and the other group was given the vaccine with the active ingredient affecting the ghrelin. Both groups were then allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The rats given the placebo gained 1.6 grams per day, while the ones given the vaccine gained 0.8 grams per day. 

The vaccine was found to be the most effective when the rats were on a low-fat, low-energy diet. As most western diets are high-fat and not low energy, the question about the vaccine’s effectiveness on humans from developed countries remains to be answered. Most people who become obese were not eating a low-fat, low-energy diet. 

Scientists believe that the protein ghrelin was developed through the process of evolution as a method of storing energy in response to fluctuating food supplies. During times in human history when food sources were erratic, it was necessary for the bodies of humans to store as much as possible when supplies were good and to put on weight fast to survive. The problem is we still have ghrelin in our bodies. If we overeat regularly our bodies will do the same as thousands of years ago - store as much energy as possible to prepare for lean times. In developed countries and many parts of developing countries food supplies are plentiful. Ghrelin, instead of being an asset for survival as it once was, may now have become a liability. 

Any vaccine which stops what ghrelin makes our bodies do could have a significant impact on obesity rates. 

The scientists say the vaccine, if research progresses well, will most likely be more effective in preventing obesity rather than making obese people slim again. 

As research on this vaccine progresses, the following questions will be able to be answered:

- How effective is it for humans? 
- Can it completely prevent human obesity or will it just slow down the rate at which an over-eater puts on weight? 
- Are there any side-effects? 
- Will humans have to change their diets when taking the vaccine? 
- Who would receive the vaccine? If it probably won't reverse obesity, but prevent it - who gets it?




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