Most of us will chew gum after meals to freshen our breath, but what if you could lose weight from chewing gum?
The act of chewing sends signals to the brain to release appetite hormones into the bloodstream that tell the body when it is full. That is why you should chew your food slowly to stimulate this hormone so you feel fuller on less food.
Exercise has a similar effect. When you exercise, hormones are released into the bloodstream that affect our appetites in a positive manner.
Tapping into this known piece of science, chemist Robert Doyle from the Syracuse University set out to experiment on this hormone to find ways to combat obesity and stimulate weight loss.
Published online in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, this study talks about the hormone Human PYY, which regulates appetite and energy. The amount of PYY that is released increases with the number of calories consumed. Someone who is obese will have lower levels of PYY than their non-obese counterparts. The higher the levels of PYY in the bloodstream, the less food you’ll consume.
“PYY is an appetite-suppressing hormone,” Doyle says. “But, when taken orally, the hormone is destroyed in the stomach and that which isn’t destroyed has difficulty crossing into the bloodstream through the intestines.”
The challenge Doyle faces is finding a pathway for PYY to enter the body unharmed so it can do its job. Doyle has used B12 in the past as a method of delivering another appetite hormone – insulin.
“Phase one of this study was to show that we could deliver a clinically relevant amount of PYY into the bloodstream,” Doyle says. “We did that, and we are very excited by the results.”
Doyle plans to try this B12-PYY system in chewing gum as a nutritional supplement to help people lose weight.
“If we are successful, PYY-laced gum would be a natural way to help people lose weight,” he says. “They could eat a balanced meal, then chew a stick of gum. The PYY supplement would begin to kick in about three to four hours later, decreasing their appetite as they approach their next meal.”
Syracuse University. “Chew gum, lose weight? Hormone that helps people feel ‘full’ after eating can be delivered into bloodstream orally.” ScienceDaily, 21 Nov. 2011. Web. 24 Nov. 2011.