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Symlin, a Synthetic Version of the Hormone Amylin, May Curb Appetite

June 7, 2007 -- A fullness hormone called amylin may help obese people eat less and lose weight without feeling hungry, a new study shows.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Physiology -- Endocrinology and Metabolism, focuses on a diabetes drug called Symlin. Symlin is a synthetic version of the fullness hormone amylin.

The researchers included Steven Smith, MD, of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.

They studied 88 obese men and postmenopausal women. First, participants weighed in and spent four days in a lab. During that time, they ate as much as they wanted of prepared breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.

On the Menu

Most of the meals served at the lab were healthy and moderate in calories or fat. Menu items included bagels, fruit, and cereal at breakfast; sandwiches and cookies at lunch; a casserole and pudding at dinner; and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches as snacks.

However, one lunch was particularly fatty and sugary, featuring deep-dish pizzas, ice cream, and soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.

Participants ate by themselves so they weren't influenced by what others were eating. The researchers encouraged them to focus on their food and avoid distractions, eating until they were comfortably full.

The researchers also weighed participants' servings and calculated their calorie intake.

Fullness Hormone Shots

During the first two days of the study, all participants got an inactive shot (placebo) 15 minutes before each meal.

After that, the researchers switched some of the participants to Symlin shots on the same dosing schedule.

When participants finished their four days at the lab, they went home with instructions to inject themselves with Symlin or placebo 15 minutes before each meal.

At home, participants were free to eat anything. They were told not to start exercising or make any other lifestyle changes that might lead to weight loss.

Using handheld electronic devices, participants rated their feelings of fullness, hunger, and nausea. Finally, they returned to the lab at the end of the six-week study for another meal of pizza and ice cream.

Throughout the study, participants didn't know whether they were taking Symlin or the placebo.

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