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Aug 17

Bendigo researchers believe caffeine and estrogen could help trigger weight loss – Bendigo Advertiser

Bendigo researchers have begun a search for new drugs to speed up your metabolism.

Bendigo-based researchers could one day help speed up peoples metabolisms using caffeine or estrogen.

La Trobe University PhD candidates Lachlan Van Schaik and Will Sievers began exploring whether caffeine or estrogen could be developed into a weight loss drug this year.

They shared their research during National Science Week.

Both researchers wanted to trigger neurological networks into burning fat, targeting parts of the brain regulating brown fat.

Unlike other forms of fat produced by the human body, brown fat could burn energy and produce heat, speeding up peoples metabolisms.

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Caffeine and estrogen had already been shown to fire up brown fat stores.

Caffeine could get brown fat burning, but the doses needed to fire up the metabolism were far too high to safely consume, Mr Van Schaik said.

His research was focused on finding ways to trigger the brains caffeine receptors.

Both researchers said targeting neural pathways was important for minimising unwanted side-effects.

Mr Van Schaik said that historically weight loss treatments had come with nasty side-effects.

You can design drugs in such a way that they only act in the brain. Thats part of the challenge of the projects of finding a drug, or a way of administering a drug, that would act in the brain without us actually going in and (physically) changing it, Mr Sievers said.

Mr Sievers was hoping estrogen would hold the key to faster metabolisms.

Researchers had already observed women who had gone through menopause often put on 10 to 15 kilograms, he said.

Lachlan Van Schaik and Will Sievers

If theres an increase in estrogen signalling (to receptors in the brain), will we see an increase in metabolism? Thats what Id like to know, Mr Sievers said.

Neither researcher believed their work would lead to a wonder drug that people could take without also leading a healthy lifestyle.

People would still need to diet and exercise even as they used drugs designed to speed up their metabolisms.

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Bendigo researchers believe caffeine and estrogen could help trigger weight loss - Bendigo Advertiser

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