Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have identified a new molecule that may help fight obesity and other metabolic diseases by converting ‘bad’ fat to ‘good’ fat.
Research suggests that activating the oestrogen -- the primary female sex hormone -- receptor-beta protein with a chemical has the potential to increase metabolism as well as help reduce obesity.
The findings showed that the activation of a chemical called beta-LGND2 by the oestrogen receptor-beta can help reduce obesity and metabolic diseases in mice by converting bad fat (white fat) into good fat (brown fat).
This is significant as brown fat increases metabolism and may facilitate weight loss, the researchers said.
"Although there is a general misperception that obesity is not a life-threatening condition, obesity is the underlying cause for several diseases that could result in mortality," said Ramesh Narayanan, a researcher at the University of Tennessee in the US.
"Safe and effective treatment for obesity is highly needed, and targeting oestrogen receptor-beta might be one of the strategies to safely combat obesity," Narayanan added.
To make their discovery, Narayanan and colleagues used three groups of mice.
One group was fed with normal rodent diet, while two groups were fed with high-fat diet to make them obese. One of the two high-fat diet-fed groups was treated with beta-LGND2.
The beta-LGND2-treated mice were significantly leaner than the other mice fed on high-fat diet and they also had higher body temperature and oxygen consumption, indicating higher metabolism rate.
(With agency inputs)