Chinese plant may reverse obesity

Tripterygium_Wilfordii_LRThe battle against obesity has spawned a multibillion-dollar fat-fighting industry, but the most promising treatment may come from a plant used in ancient Chinese medicine.

The ‘thundergod vine,’ (Tripterygium wilfordii), used for thousands of years to treat an array of health issues, including fever and inflammation, may produce more dramatic effects on food intake and weight than bariatric surgery.

A study involving mice found that an extract from the plant, called celastrol, had resulted in an 80 percent reduction in food intake after just one week.

After three weeks, obese mice treated with celastrol had lost a stunning 45 percent of their initial body weight. The key to the compound’s success may be its effects on leptin—the “satiety hormone” made from fat cells that helps the body recognize when the stomach is full.

Celastrol also decreased cholesterol levels, improved liver function and glucose metabolism, which collectively may translate into lower risk of heart disease, fatty liver and Type 2 diabetes.

Humans and mice that lack leptin eat voraciously and often become morbidly obese. Celastrol improves leptin sensitivity and produces weight loss.

However, we can do much to ensure that our natural  leptin levels are adequate by:

*Eating quality food
*Not snacking between meals
*Reducing carbohydrate intake
*Not eating overly large meals and
*Eat protein for breakfast.

But for many who have been hijacked by the corporate agriculture and food system that produced the Standard American Diet  ,the ancient Chinese plant, ‘thunderbird vine’ and its extract celastrol may be a promising solution to the obesity epidemic.

More research is needed to determine if this potential weight loss aid is safe and effective for people. “If celastrol works in humans, like it does in mice,” said study author Omut Ozcan, “it could be a powerful way to treat obesity and improve the health of many patients.”

In the future Ozcan and his team will investigate the molecular mechanisms by which celastrol improves leptin sensitivity and produces weight loss.

“In the end, the main goal is to see research leading to a novel and powerful treatment for obesity in humans,” he said.

Sources: The Week, Sciencedaily.com, Wellnessresources.com

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