Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Natural System Puts Brakes on Fat Gain

July 15, 2003 -- Fat people would be much fatter without Foxa-2. The gene puts the brakes on fat gain, mouse studies show.

It also helps the body respond to the hormone insulin. Poor insulin response -- known as insulin resistance -- is a major milestone on the road to diabetes.

Now the trick is to find a way to turn the gene on in people at risk for developing obesity, says study leader Markus Stoffel, MD, PhD, of Rockefeller University in New York. Stoffel and colleagues report the findings in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"We have shown that Foxa-2 has two beneficial effects in mice," Stoffel says in a news release. "This is the ideal combination for pharmacologically treating obese or type 2 diabetes patients, or people with a risk of developing obesity."

Foxa-2is unlike other known genes linked to obesity. The new findings mark the first time anyone's found a gene that's turned on in fat cells themselves to counteract obesity.

The gene isn't on all the time. In mice, it waits until the animal already is overweight. Then it kicks in. It keeps young cells from turning into fat cells. And it slows down further fat production and storage in mature fat cells.

The researchers think the same thing happens in people.

Interestingly, the researchers found that growth hormone turns on Foxa-2 in cells that don't normally express the gene. That, they suggest, is why growth hormone has anti-fat effects. But they warn against the use of growth hormone to lose weight.

"We do not believe that growth hormone is responsible for the induction of Foxa-2 in obesity," Stoffel says. "And we can't give growth hormone to patients because there are too many negative side effects."

WebMD Health News

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...