Exercise stimulates the production of N-lactoyl-phenylalanine (Lac-Phe), suppressing hunger, found researchers at Stanford University. The study found that about 25 percent of the anti-obesity effects of exercise can be attributed to the Lac-Phe molecule. The discovery is expected to contribute to treatments of obesity and metabolic diseases.
Humans, racehorses and mice were studied in this research. In mice, increasing Lac-Phe showed a 30 percent reduction of food intake, reduction of body weight and fat and an improvement of glucose tolerance. “Large activity-inducible increases in circulating Lac-Phe are also observed in humans and racehorses, establishing this metabolite as a molecular effector associated with physical activity across multiple activity modalities and mammalian species,” according to the study.
The study also found that mammals that lacked the molecule, produced by the CNDP2 protein, ate more and stored more fat than those with a normal CNDP2 activity.
As the administration of Lac-Phe proved to decrease adiposity and improve glucose homeostasis, raising hope that in upcoming years a drug can be developed to boost weight loss. “This is just the beginning of a series of studies that will dig even deeper into the mechanism of exactly how Lac-Phe inhibits the hunger signal. That also means zeroing in on which receptors in the brain Lac-Phe targets,” said Jonathan Long, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Stanford.
Obesity is the true pandemic of the century, according to José Córdoba, Former Mexican Minister of Health. Mexico has undergone a demographic and epidemiological transformation that was followed by a higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and dyslipidemia, he added. The chronic diseases linked to obesity also negatively impact the country’s economy. In 2019, obesity cut 2.1 percent of Mexico’s GDP amid chronic diseases and its impact is expected to increase. The OECD forecasts that by 2050, obesity and its related diseases will represent 8.9 percent of health spending, as reported by MBN.
Obesity can be caused by multiple factors aside from unhealthy diets and a sedentary life. Genetics can increase the risk of suffering from obesity. Weight gain during childhood increases the risk of obesity in adulthood, as reported by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The global economic system that relies on free trade and cooperation has also been linked to obesity. For example, the fast-food boom in Mexico that started after the NAFTA was first signed played a role in the country’s obesity epidemic.