Fasting in a Pill


A popular weight control method today is intermittent fasting. It varies from eating on alternative days to two days of fasting a week, to time restricted fasting. That's where you only eat in an eight-hour window.

But what if you could fast with a pill? What we mean is take a pill that can replicate the benefits of fasting without the fasting? WOW!

New research is exploring the use of a cancer drug called API-PEG-20 to manage obesity by mimicking fasting metabolism.

So, when we fast, an amino acid called arginine becomes limiting. When there isn't arginine, cells look to internal sources which can lead to weight loss.

The cancer drug mimics this effect of fasting. It contains a protein that degrades arginine so that there's less of it. Remember, all cells including cancer cells need it to grow.

To test the drug, researchers used mice that were genetically engineered to become obese. After being given API-PEG-20 the mice lost a quarter of their weight even though they were on still on a high fat and sugar diet.

There were other benefits. Their cholesterol and insulin sensitivity both improved. But is the drug safe? We know metabolic approaches to weight loss have fewer side effects. But it may be best as a short-term treatment since long term use could lead to autoimmune concerns.

But one day, a pill mimicking fasting could be far more comfortable than the real thing. Until then, remember fasting isn't for everybody, if you're going to fast, check with your doctor first.

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More Information

Experimental cancer drug mimics benefits of fasting to fight obesity
An experimental drug under investigation as a potential cancer treatment has shown exciting potential in an entirely unrelated field of medicine, with scientists finding it confers benefits for weight loss and metabolic health in mice. These benefits were profound enough to surprise the authors of the study, who hope they could translate to a fast-acting but short-term treatments for obesity...

Experimental Cancer Drug Mimics Beneficial Fasting Effects
Treatment with ADI-PEG 20 - an enzyme that degrades the amino acid arginine - improves metabolic health and weight loss in obese mice...

CDC: Adult Obesity Facts
Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease. The US obesity prevalence was 41.9% in 2017 - March 2020. (NHANES, 2021) From 1999 -2000 through 2017 -March 2020, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 41.9%. During the same time, the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. (NHANES, 2021)..