Chewing Gum

Satiety hormone-laced chewing gum for weight loss

Scientists have successfully demonstrated a method to use vitamin B12 as a vehicle for the oral delivery of the appetite-suppressing hormone PYY, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The discovery may lead to PYY-laced chewing gum or an oral tablet to assist people with weight loss in much the same way as nicotine-laced gum is used to help people stop smoking.

PYY is part of a chemical system that regulates appetite and energy. PYY is released into the bloodstream during exercise; the amount of PYY released increases with the number of calories consumed.

When taken orally, the hormone is destroyed in the stomach, and that which isn’t destroyed has difficulty crossing into the bloodstream through the intestines. However, scientists at Syracuse University devised a way to disguise the PYY so it can travel through the digestive system relatively unharmed.

Several years ago, the same team developed a method to use vitamin B12 as a vehicle for the oral delivery of the hormone insulin. B12 is able to pass through the digestive system with relative ease and carry with it insulin, or other substances, into the bloodstream. For this application, the researchers attached the PYY hormone to the patent-pending vitamin B12 system.

Phase one of the study showed they could deliver a clinically relevant amount of PYY into the bloodstream. The next phase will involve finding ways to insert the B12-PYY system into such things as chewing gum or an oral tablet.

“If we are successful, PYY-laced gum would be a natural way to help people lose weight,” the researchers said. “They could eat a balanced meal, then chew a stick of gum. The PYY supplement would begin to kick in about three to four hours later, decreasing their appetite as they approach their next meal.”