A new diet pill is being dubbed the “Imaginary Meal Pill” may be the answer some overweight people are looking for. In a study, published on January 5 in the Nature Medicine journal, Ronald Evans makes the startling claim that a certain drug can help the fight against obesity. The drug is known as fexaramine and helped suppress weight gain and boost the metabolism of mice. The pill works allegedly make you feel like you have just eaten a meal, hence the name “Imaginary meal pill.”
Ronald Evans is the senior author of the paper and director of the gene expression laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Evans states that the pill works as if you had just eaten food, including inducing bile acids needed for digestion.
“This pill is like an imaginary meal. It sends out the same signals that normally happen when you eat a lot of food.”
This diet pill, or suppressant is different than its predecessors. Older known diet pills work in the blood stream, preventing your body from absorbing some of the fat you consume. For example, Orlistat, one of the most prescribed diet suppressants, stops your body from absorbing about a third of the fat that you eat. Fexaramine works differently, staying in the digestive system.
Michael Dowes, co-author on the study, told The Guardian that the drug essentially take over the natural digestive processes.
“It turns out that when we administer this orally, it only acts in the gut. We are hijacking the natural food signal in the body to trick it into burning calories and lower systemic glucose levels.”
Fexaramine targets a a specific section of the gut, the farnesoid X receptor (FXR). FXR can also be found in other parts of the body. The FXR receptors, when activated produces bile, digests food, and stores sugars and fats. Previous attempts have been made to activate the receptors, however, in those attempts the drug went into the blood stream causing concern. Since the meal pill works only in the intestines researchers hope that it will be safer as well as more effective.
So far, the researchers have only tried their method out on mice. The “imaginary meal” pill could be ready for human clinical testing in two to three years. Though, Evans worries that the weight will come back once a patient stops taking the pills.
Still, there will be many waiting in line to test out the pills if they make it to market, even with the recent “Healthy Obesity” studies.
Would you consider taking the “imaginary meal” pill to lose weight?
[Image via commons.wikipedia.org]