A new procedure has been making weight loss headlines over the last short while as researchers have been starting the clinical trials for what is known as gastric artery chemical embolization (GACE), which blocks a primary hunger hormone from being produced in large quantities by the body. The first wave of preliminary testing has now been completed and it was found that all the dieters who participated experienced a reduction in being hungry and were able to lose a considerable amount of weight.
The hunger hormone in question when it comes to this minimally invasive procedure is called ghrelin. The levels of ghrelin are reduced by blocking one of the stomach arteries, cutting off the blood supply to that portion of the stomach, which is responsible for producing that hormone.
It is called a hunger hormone because it is one of the chemicals in the body that produces the sensation of being hungry. It travels to the brain and signals that the stomach is empty, building a desire to consume food.
Among the participants in the study who had undergone GACE, they lost an average of over 45 pounds in a span of six months. These participants were all severely obese but were otherwise healthy adults.
It is important to keep in mind that this was only an early clinical trial and that more research will be necessary in order to prove that the procedure is indeed both safe and effective. That will involve large randomized studies. If they are able to produce the same kinds of results that were witnessed among the participants in the preliminary trial, it is likely that doctors will have a new type of procedure to offer their obese patients as they battle the obesity epidemic.
This technique is appealing because it doesn’t require the patient to have to continue to take prescription medication – which can cause dependencies and withdrawal symptoms, among other side effects – and it is far less invasive than traditional bariatric surgeries.
Still, there have been cautions by various experts in weight loss and hormones that have suggested that we shouldn’t get our hopes up too soon. The body has a way of compensating when certain natural functions have been cut off – such as when blood flow to a part of the stomach is reduced or ceased. Therefore, the larger study will reveal a great deal about the way the body will actually respond to this type of procedure.