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Gut hormone GLP-1 could help battle heart disease, obesity

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Gut hormone may help battle obesity and heart disease.

A study reported in BMJ suggests a hormone normally manufactured by the gut, GLP-1 – could help battle obesity. The hormone is found in a study to help with weight loss and also lowered cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure among study participants.

GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide) is a type of glucagon, which is secreted in the pancreas to help raise blood sugars when they fall below normal.

The gut hormone has been used for Type2 diabetes treatment because it helps keep blood sugars normal.

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For this research, at University of Copenhagen team specifically wanted to find out if GLP-1R agonists would aid weight loss. An example of a GLP –1R agonist is the anti-diabetic drug Byetta.

When they compared the control group a study participants to people who received GLP-1R agonists for 20 weeks, they found more weight loss in the treated group. The finding included an analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials involving over 6,000 patients. The effect of the hormone on weight loss was greater for non-diabetics, but also provided benefits to patients with Type 2 diabetes.

The study authors suggest that treatment should be considered for people with Type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese. They also suggest more studies to find out if the gut hormone will help weight loss for people who are not diabetic. The researchers also emphasize the best intervention for managing diabetes, heart disease and obesity is through healthy lifestyle interventions.

BMJ 2012;344:d7771
"Gut hormone leads to weight loss in overweight or obese patients"
Tina Vilsbøll et al.
January 11, 2012

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