Hormone Gum May Cause Weight Loss

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Weight loss through chewing gum laced with the gut hormone peptide YY (PYY) may become the most popular, effective and easy weight loss method to date in the near future. PYY is a hormone that has been shown to regulate appetite and energy in both human and animal studies. The difficulty in taking PYY orally as a supplement is due to stomach acids destroying the hormone before it can reach the bloodstream. Researchers, however, believe that by linking Vitamin B12 with PYY that the hormone can then travel through the digestive system unharmed and make its way to the bloodstream where it will act as an appetite suppressant.

Last year, scientific studies indicated that eating meals high in protein resulted in people with a more “full” feeling in their stomach than eating meals that were higher in carbohydrates. One of the reasons given for this feeling of satiation was attributed to a gut hormone peptide YY referred to as “PYY” that is produced in the lower intestines and colon and released into the bloodstream during eating. PYY became known as the ”hunger-fighting hormone” after a study comparing obese individuals with normal weight individuals found that obese individuals have less of the PYY hormone in their blood than normal weight individuals do.

Furthermore, animal studies also showed that genetically modified mice that were unable to produce PYY ate more food and became obese in spite of a diet that was high in protein. The inability to benefit from a high protein diet in the genetically modified mice in comparison to non-genetically modified mice that benefited from a high protein diet showed a connection between PYY and appetite suppression.

Researchers from Syracuse University in collaboration with researchers from Murdoch University in Australia have recently published a paper in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry their findings that it is possible to deliver the PYY hormone to people orally and avoid damage by stomach acids as the hormone makes its way to the bloodstream.

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According to Robert Doyle, a Syracuse University chemist and lead author of the study, “PYY is an appetite-suppressing hormone. But, when taken orally, the hormone is destroyed in the stomach and that which isn’t destroyed has difficulty crossing into the bloodstream through the intestines,” says Doyle.

To overcome the problem of stomach acids eating away at the PYY hormone before it can make it to the bloodstream, Doyle and colleagues used a novel method they had developed previously that protected insulin when taken orally, by linking the insulin molecules with Vitamin B12. You can think of Vitamin B12 as being an armored vehicle that protects linked molecules as they journey through the stomach to the lower intestine and colon where absorption to the blood stream takes place.

Doyle and colleagues used their Vitamin B12 method to deliver the PYY hormone and found success. “Phase one of this study was to show that we could deliver a clinically relevant amount of PYY into the bloodstream,” Doyle says. “We did that, and we are very excited by the results.”

The next phase of their research is to place the linked Vitamin B12-PYY hormone into a tablet form as a nutritional weight loss supplement or possibly as a hormone gum delivery system that individuals can chew and thereby increase their levels of the PYY hormone to suppress appetite and achieve weight loss—not unlike using nicotine gum to suppress the urge to smoke.

“If we are successful, PYY-laced gum would be a natural way to help people lose weight,” he says. “They could eat a balanced meal, then chew a stick of gum. The PYY supplement would begin to kick in about three to four hours later, decreasing their appetite as they approach their next meal,” says Doyle.

Reference: “Oral Delivery of the Appetite Suppressing Peptide hPYY(3–36) through the Vitamin B12 Uptake Pathway” J. Med. Chem., Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/jm2012547

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