By: Jan Chait
Identifying foods that cause the release of a naturally occurring gut hormone known as PYY3-36—or creating a pill that contains the hormone—may help in obesity control, say researchers who studied the effects of PYY3-36 in both rodents and human volunteers.
In a randomized, double-blind, crossover trial, 12 human subjects were infused with either PYY3-36 or saline for 90 minutes. They were then offered an unlimited buffet meal two hours later.
Those who received infusions of the hormone ate 36 percent fewer calories, and perceived hunger levels declined by up to 40 percent over the next 12 hours.
“Rather than using extreme diet measures such as dieting pills, or even surgery, PYY3-36 should be able to provide a far safer and effective alternative,” says lead author Rachel Batterham from the Imperial College of London at the Hammersmith Hospital.
PYY3-36 suppresses appetite by acting as a neurotransmitter on the hypothalamus area of the brain.
—Nature, August 8, 2002