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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Fatty McOversized de Leon 

Calorie restriction has for some time been known to prolong life (like Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth), but it's unclear why or how. We'll leave "why" to the philosophers (they need something to do, after all), but some nice people over at MIT's Department of Biology have found a beginning of an answer to "how."

They found that when the body switches into the starvation mode which triggers the health benefits of restriction, the protein Sirt1 (not a fun name) turns on a key component: fat mobilization for metabolism. So, the idea is that a drug could bind the Sirt1 receptor and start releasing stored fat, so people could get the benefits of a low-calorie regimen without working.

The problem is this: I'm all for having this drug, sign me up for the Phase I trial, etc., but what's it really going to do? Will the result be free lipids just wandering around the body? Will it actually up Leptin or Adiponectin? I'd really like a magic bullet so I could eat chocolate all the time and still be skinny, but I know better than to believe we'll ever see one. Oh well, here's hoping!

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