VANCOUVER, B.C. – Starting this month Canadian and British scientists will begin collaborating on a study to examine human appetite-controlling hormones with a view to finding out what will increase PYY, a powerful hormone in the human body which dramatically diminishes appetite.
The hormone has been found to be deficient in obese individuals, and when administered to those who are overweight or obese, it significantly reduces appetite for several hours. Administering PYY by injection is impractical and expensive, so researchers have been searching for a drug that will mimic PYY or stimulate its release.
Dr. Michael Lyon, the Medical and Research Director for the Canadian Center for Functional Medicine, said searching for a drug or ingredient that could promote higher levels of PYY in overweight or obese individuals has become the ‘Holy Grail’ of obesity research.
“Finding this drug would be like coming up with a ‘Prozac for Obesity’. It would be a way to decrease food cravings and overall appetite to the extent that weight loss would be comfortably achievable for all overweight or obese people—meaning that obesity for many would become a choice rather than a lifelong mandatory sentence,” said Dr. Lyon, who will be heading the collaborative Canadian-British study.
Dr. Lyon and fellow researchers from the Canadian Center for Functional Medicine will collaborate with the University of Toronto, as well as the British researchers at the Imperial College of Medicine in London who published the breakthrough study on the appetite suppressing PYY hormone last year.
“We will be examining the effects of a unique polysaccharide, PolyGlycoplex (PGX) on PYY and other appetite controlling hormones. If we demonstrate that PGX fiber raises the PYY hormone better than placebo or regular food in overweight people, we will be one step closer to confirming that we have indeed uncovered a very important breakthrough in the management of weight problems,” said Dr. Lyon. “What excites me is that PGX is not a drug, but a natural product that benefits the body in many ways.”
Scientists at the Imperial College of Medicine in London England published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine last year demonstrating that the powerful hormone, peptide YY3-36 (PYY), was deficient in obese subjects and, when PYY was injected into these individuals, it radically diminished appetite. Following this study, pharmaceutical companies around the world began their search for a drug that would mimic or stimulate the production of PYY.
Two years ago, Dr. Lyon teamed up with researchers from the University of Toronto to study the effects of a precise blend of highly purified polysaccharides known as PGX which has now been the subject of several studies.
“In one of our most recent studies – recently presented at the American Diabetes Association’s annual scientific meeting -- we were able to show that PGX improves insulin sensitivity, lowers cholesterol, normalizes blood sugar and decreases body fat in pre-diabetic men,” said Dr. Lyon.
He continued, “Time and time again, we have found that this unique but natural fiber complex helps to reverse nearly all of the adverse health effects associated with excessive weight gain. But, in my opinion, the most exciting property of PGX is that it greatly reduces appetite in even the heaviest people. Now, we are determined to more fully understand the hormonal and neurochemical complexities behind the appetite lowering properties of PGX. But because it is a natural product, and not a drug, many scientists will be skeptical unless they see how it works physiologically to control appetite.”
The Canadian Center for Functional Medicine (www.functionalmedicine.ca) located in Coquitlam, B.C., is a patient-centered healthcare facility dedicated to clinical research and education of preventative medicine, nutritional medicine and conventional medicine. Functional medicine is a science-based field of healthcare that addresses the underlying biochemical, physiological, environmental and psychological factors of the individual, so as to facilitate healing and enhance life-long vitality.
Kate Jobling, Media & Public Relations
Canadian Center for Functional Medicine