Can Botox Also Help Fight Fat?
Each year, the beauty industry makes the dreams of thousands of women come true by means of plastic surgery or even Botox injections. Although this treatment is usually associated more with reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face or enhancing the appearance of breasts, recent research regarding its use in helping obese people to lose weight is beginning to look rather promising.
Initially Tested on Rats
Helene Johannessen, who is a PhD candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), is currently involved in a study that is researching the possibility of using Botox injections in place of gastric surgery. A number of rats have received Botox injections into the vagus nerve in their stomachs, which is responsible for sending hunger signals through to the brain. After receiving these injections, the rats consumed less food and were able to lose between 20% and 30% of their body weight.
Less Risky than Gastric Bypass Surgery
While many patients have enjoyed successful weight loss after having gastric bypass surgery, it does come with its own set of health risks. As a result of the patient’s stomach being reduced in size, there is the possibility of them not being able to absorb as many nutrients from their food as they need to. The surgery can also result in a bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal passages which can cause serious health complications. Although the effects of Botox injections may not be permanent, the research is showing that they can be very effective when used for weight loss.
Clinical Trial Could Take Place Soon
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) has been informed that human clinical studies regarding the use of Botox for weight loss will begin as soon as medical ethics authorities in Norway grant the necessary permission to do so. Initially the study will include obese candidates who are not able to undergo the traditional gastric bypass surgery for any reason. Whether the trials will be opened to other candidates after the initial testing stage is yet to be determined.
Obesity Becoming a Global Epidemic
As much as 40% of the adult population in developed countries can be classified as being overweight or even obese. This has led to the significant increase in the diagnosis of diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol and various heart conditions. If the Botox injection treatment proves to be successful in the clinical trials, it would offer a glimmer of hope to those who have been clinically obese and who have not been successful in losing weight through more traditional means such as diet and exercise.
When it comes to losing weight, many people seek a quick fix to the problem. However, in order to lose weight and ensure that it stays off, a change in lifestyle and mindset needs to be achieved. Should this treatment be approved as a means of weight loss, it will be imperative that you discuss it with your healthcare provider. They will be able to advise whether it will be suitable for you or not.
Image Source: Flickr/CreativeCommons/davidd
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