July 30, 2016
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 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.
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,
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.
vaccine which stops what ghrelin makes our bodies do could have a significant
impact on obesity rates.
scientists say the vaccine, if research progresses well, will most likely be
more effective in preventing obesity rather than making obese people slim
on this vaccine progresses, the following questions will be able to be
- 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?