Dieting and weight loss are two of the most controversial topics on the planet. Man’s tempestuous relationship with food has cost both his health and his sanity. But scientists may have found a solution to this ever-present turmoil. The Chinese Thunder God Plant may prove to be an obesity cure-all.
A recent study, published in Thursday’s issue of Cell highlighted the nigh-miraculous effects of the Thunder God Plant. A specific extract obtained from the plant contributed to a 45 percent decrease in the study mice’s body weight.
The extract is named celastrol and acts as an appetite suppressor by modulating the activity of leptine, a hormone involved in satiety.
Leptin acts by signaling the body when it has had enough to eat. But in humans, leptin levels are often inconsistent and voracious eaters have been shown to have decreased levels of the hormone. Leptin resistance is another issue which scientists have been tackling for over two decades, but most of these efforts have failed.
fter administering the extract to laboratory mice, researchers noted that the animals ate as much as 80 percent less and experienced dramatic weight loss in approximately three weeks.
But rarely are men and mice all the same.
Researchers aren’t yet convinced that the extract would work similarly if administered to humans.
“The message from this study is that there is still hope for making leptin work, and there is still hope for treating obesity,” Umut Ozcan, study author explains.
Celastrol’s weight loss effects significantly outweighed those of bariatric surgery performed in mice. Consequently, if the extract proves as effective in humans as it was in mice, it could be the harbinger of a revolution in obesity treatment.
Obesity-related complications such as type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease could also be reduced.
Apart from the dramatic weight loss that the compound induced, the lab mice also experienced other positive effects from consuming the extract. Their cholesterol levels decrease, glucose metabolism normalized and their liver functions had improved by the end of the study.
There are, of course, limitations to the study’s mice models. But further human trials could confirm the result and finally bring a revolutionary drug to the public capable of efficiently treating obesity.
Throughout the study, the research team did not identify any toxic effects of the thunder god plant extract. In spite of this, Ozcan warns against consuming the plant “as is” because of the many other compounds it contains.
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