Imagine a world with plastic free oceans, world peace, and the ability to eat all the peanut butter humanly possible, without gaining weight. The former two ideals may be pipe dreams at this stage, but the third pillar to eternal happiness may just be a step close, thanks to an incredible (albeit accidental) discovery by our mates in lab coats.
According to scientists at Yale University, it may be possible to prevent fat from entering the guy, and therefore halting the absorption of fat into body tissue.
The scientists made the discovery while testing glaucoma drugs on mice, and found that the drugs they were using for the eye disease actually blocked a protein, named vascular endothelial growth factor A (or VEGF-A for short), that keeps pores in the gut open. By blocking the protein with the drug, the pores stayed closed, shutting out fat from entering the blood stream.
Once the correlations were identified, the team of scientists reportedly fed two groups of mice a high-fat diet for eight weeks, with the control group doubling their weight and the mice taking the VEGF-A suppressing drug reporting zero weight gain.
So where did all the ingested fat go for the drugged mice? Straight out in their feces, according to researchers.
And while pooping out excess fat seems like an ideal solution, as with all of these early-stage studies, it’s important to note that there’s a while to go until we roll this drug out on humans.
One side effect noted on the mice that took the drug was increased swelling thanks to fluid retention. However blocking VEGF-A could potentially have another health benefit, if a similar drug ever hits the mass market.
VEGF-A is reportedly “upregulated in many known tumors and its expression is correlated with tumor stage and progression,” according to researchers, meaning blocking it could potentially decrease incidence of tumors.
Stay tuned, and in the meantime, just exercise and eat well to keep the kilos at bay. And take it easy on the peanut butter… sorry.