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Study Finds Nicotine Can Reduce Weight-Gain from High-Fat Diet, Belly Fat

Filed in News & Politics by on March 28, 2012

A new study published March 6 in the Journal of Endocrinology concludes that nicotine is effective in preventing high-fat diet-induced weight gain and abdominal fat accumulation.  The study was led by Michael Mangubat of the Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences-UCLA School of Medicine.

Mangubat and the other authors of the study examined the effect of nicotine vs saline on body weight and fat composition in mice fed with either an a high-fat diet or a standard normal chow diet .They observed that nicotine exposure reduced high-fat diet-induced weight gain and also led to lower amounts of body fat and a more favorable distribution of body fat (subcutaneous vs less visceral fat).

Subcutaneous fat is that found underneath the skin and it is considered potentially less dangerous than visceral fat. Visceral fat, which is also known as organ fat, is considered more dangerous and is connected to which may contribute insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and coronary artery disease (NIH). Several studies have linked visceral fat to elevated triglycerides levels (Wirth et al, 1996).

This is not the first time that a study has come to a similar conclusion. V2 Cigs doesn’t claim nicotine or its products can be used for weight-loss but we have written about this before. A study led by Dr. Marina Picciotto, a professor of neurobiology and pharmacology at Yale School of Medicine, showed that nicotine could lead to the discovery of new weight –loss drugs.

In the Yale study, scientists discovered that low doses of nicotine or cystisine, a drug that binds to nicotine receptors, reduced body fat in mice by 15% to 20% and food intake by up to 50%. The researchers also found that these receptors are independent from those known to trigger tobacco cravings in smokers.

Researchers found that nicotine or cystisine targeted a brain pathway involved in the regulation of appetite called the hypothalamic melanocortin system. The nicotine drugs worked by activating receptors located on pro-opiomelanocortin or POMC cells, which are a subset of neurons in the hypothalamus. Research ultimately demonstrated that drugs that target the POMC pathway could limit the weight gain that followed when quitting smoking.

The effects of such drugs, as well as their potential side effects are still unknown on humans. “Whether it works for weight loss in humans hasn’t been studied,” Dr. Marina Picciotto said in a telephone interview. “It does work in mice.”

The latest study led looked at the effect nicotine had on mice that were on a high-fat diet vs a regular diet.


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