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Chewing Hormonal Gum for Weight Loss: Editorial

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No one argues that weight loss is an ordeal and requires a lot of motivation. There are hundreds of treatments for weight loss and the majority are just passing fads. While surgery does work, it is associated with serious complications and is prohibitively expensive. Now researchers believe that perhaps a key weight loss hormone can be formulated into a chewing gum.

The latest study by chemist Robert Doyle from Syracuse University has demonstrated that this hormone can help people feel “satiated” after eating and no longer feel hungry.

The hormone known as PYY is known to regulate appetite and energy. When individuals eat or exercise, PYY is released into the blood stream. The amount of PYY released increases with the number of calories one consumes.

Previous studies show that obese individuals have much lower concentrations of PYY in the blood stream when fasting and after eating, compared to non-obese individuals. Further when PYY was injected into both obese and non-obese people, it led to consumption of decreased calories.

PYY is a protein-like hormone that can suppress appetite. Unfortunately it cannot be administered orally because it is immediately broken down by the stomach acids.

Now Doyle and his colleagues have come up with a novel way of binding PYY to vitamin B12 to prevent its breakdown in the stomach. The next step is to make a formulation of chewing gum or an oral tablet of vitamin B12 and PYY to help people lose weight, just like nicotine-laced gum is used to help people quit smoking.

Robert Doyle goes on to mention that PYY-laced gum could be a natural way to help people lose weight. After a meal, the gum could be chewed which then suppressed further appetite.

So will this work?

In my opinion, nicotine-laced chewing gums do not work well. Obesity is a lot more complex than filling the stomach with food. Some experts believe that the appetite control center overwhelms the desire not to eat, and it is the brain which should be targeted.

It is doubtful if PYY could reach the brain in high enough concentrations to suppress the appetite center. Over the years, many substances have been developed with a similar concept but none has worked yet in decreasing appetite.

Only time will tell if PYY will work, but one can rest assured, the “chewing gum” formula will not be cheap.


1.Christopher H. Fazen, et al. Oral Delivery of the Appetite Suppressing Peptide hPYY (3–36) through the Vitamin B12Uptake Pathway.
Abstract: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jm2012547

2. Jyotaki et al. Modulation of sweet taste sensitivity by orexigenic and anorexigenic factors.
Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20431269

Reviewed November 23, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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