A unique animal, the Gila monster, lives in the Southwestern United States. What’s so unique about this lizard-like creature is the fact that it only eats three times a year. Why does he get hungry only every four months? Scientists in the endless search for new drugs began to study the Gila sample. What they have come up with is truly remarkable.
The saliva of the animal contains a chemical that is enhancing the lives of many diabetics. What this chemical, called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), does for diabetics is the latest breakthrough in the fight against this disease. One of the benefits is the increase of glucose-dependent insulin secretion. This mimics our own body’s response to food; releasing insulin only when we need it. This process greatly reduces the peak and valley insulin levels usually associated with conventional insulin injections. It also increases the function of the insulin producing cells in the body.
The real breakthrough in this chemical is what’s called beta cell neogenesis. Beta cells are located on the pancreas and are responsible for the release of insulin to the body. In someone with diabetes, these beta cells die or stop producing insulin. This chemical causes the body to make more beta cells. This really is the beginning of a cure.
So where does weight loss come into play? A side effect is reduced stomach emptying; which means that the food you eat stays in your stomach longer, up to four times longer. So your body is telling you that you are “full” for a longer period of time because you are full. It also works in the part of the brain that causes pleasure in eating. Many people overeat because of the pleasurable sensation they get, perceived or not. GLP-1 diminishes this pleasure enough that people simply “don’t feel like eating more” than they need to survive.
In real-life studies, GLP-1 has been shown to cause a 10% to 15% decrease in total body weight. Because the food stays in the stomach longer, many people get nauseous after eating. This feeling usually disappears after a few days and is usually caused by overeating. The stomach does not move food through the digestive system and backs up the system. Many people are used to eating a certain amount of food at every meal. With this medicine you will feel “full” more quickly and therefore eat less.
The drug is called Byetta (exenatide) and is marketed because it is the first drug that can enable patients with type 2 diabetes to achieve blood glucose control while reducing or eliminating the risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain. It is injectable only and the monthly cost is approximately $ 200 and must be kept in the refrigerator until administration.<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">