Although it seems impossible, new research shows how a person could lose weight without any exercise and without adopting any drastic diet. This discovery, tested on mice by Italian and UC Irvine Researchers, is based on limiting the brain production of a compound called endocannabinoid 2-AG. Dr. Daniele Piomelli, one of the world’s leading endocannabinoid researchers, thinks the endocannabinoid 2-AG production limitation can induce a state of hipercatabolism that would help people lose weight. So far the results of the study are very promising.
Researchers found that mice who consumed more fat and exercised less than their peers have not gained weight. In addition, despite a high calorie diet and a sedentary lifestyle, tested mice did not develop metabolic syndrome, a complication that generally occurs under these conditions.
The fact that mice have not gained weight has an explanation: tested mice burned fat quickly and more calories than normal mice. It is a well-known fact that endocannabinoids play a key role in energy dissipation, but only now scientists have discovered a target where this occurs. Mutant mice, whose production of 2-AG was limited, have kept their weight due to brown fat which became overactive. Brown fat has more mitochondria in contrast to normal adipose tissue. Up until recently, people thought that this type of fat was found only in young children in order to provide heat. Recently, researchers found that brown fat is also present in adults, but in smaller amounts. This type of fat has also been considered a new weapon against obesity as researchers found that obese persons have less brown fat than normal weight counterparts.
Endocannabinoids are compounds produced naturally in the body, which contain a chemical structure similar to that of marijuana, namely cannabis. Endocannabinoids linked to cell receptors, called cannabinoid receptors, which are involved in various processes, such as the body’s response to pain, appetite or mood. Also, endocannabinoids are responsible for unruly appetite from food, especially to those that contain fat. When fatty foods arrive in the gut, a group of cells in the digestive system releases endocannabinoids, a phenomenon which does not occur when eating proteins or sugars. Scientists believe that this mechanism involves the release of digestive compounds linked to hunger and satiety and therefore one feels the need to eat more.
However, according to Piomelli it is impossible to create a drug that blocks production of 2-AG in humans. At most, researchers will try to produce a drug that determines the brain to produce fewer endocannabinoids. Therefore, sports, diet and healthy lifestyle are still the key to success in the fight against obesity.