Who would have thought that being overweight and obese can be prevented using a vaccine? We all have various vaccines to protect us from certain diseases and infection, but a new research has revealed that being overweight is indeed preventable using a vaccine.
This study was published in the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, an open access journal of BioMed Central. This new research could well be the answer to the weight loss problems people encounter especially those who have a genetically-rooted obesity in which dieting and exercise may not be the solution.
The research involved taking a look at the effectiveness of two somatostatin vaccines. These include JH17 and JH18, which are thought to reduce weight gain while promoting weight loss. The study involved mice that responded to these two vaccines.
Since obesity has been growing worldwide, there are a lot of people experiencing obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. In line with this, the researchers aimed at discovering a tool to prevent obesity and this involved somatostatin vaccines. Somatostatin is a peptide hormone that acts by inhibiting the action of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH). Growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor act by increasing the metabolism in order to promote weight loss. In short, the somatostatin hormone induces weight gain because of the inhibition of the two growth factors.
In line with losing weight, the somatostatin vaccines are given to allow the body to produce antibodies to somatostatin. As a result, the antibodies will inhibit the somatostatin hormone from inhibiting growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor. When the growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor are not inhibited, they function effectively in producing energy and promoting weight loss.
The study involved two groups of ten mice. One group of mice was diet-induced to become obese, while the other group only received saline injections (control injections). Both groups of mice were fed with a high-fat diet prior to the study for eight weeks. The modified somatostatin was then injected to obese mice. After four days of injections, the mice who received the modified somatostatin had a drop in body weight of 10%, which was not seen in the control group.
At the end of the research, the researchers found that both the JH17 and JH18 vaccines produced antibodies to somatostatin; thereby promoting the action of GH and insulin-like growth factor in metabolism. The results also did not see any changes in the growth hormone and IGF-1 levels as well as the insulin levels of mice who received the injections.
The results of the study further demonstrate the possibility of using the somatostatin vaccines to help prevent and treat obesity. Although the study only involved mice, larger studies can be made to assess the efficacy of the vaccine for human beings. The researchers recommend having a broader study including studying the long-term implications of the vaccine in humans.
This research leads to the further development of possible management treatments for obesity. With the approval of this vaccine for human use in the future, people may well have a surgery-free as well as drug-free approach to managing obesity.
The author, Dr. Amarendra, is an aspiring endocrinologist (obesity and obesity-related diseases). He promotes the use of prescription medication for weight loss for an effective and safe weight loss plan.