ACE Inhibitors May Help in Weight Loss
Study Shows Blood Pressure Drugs May Help Reduce Body Fat
April 28, 2008 -- Some popular blood pressure medications may
help you lose
weight and body fat, according to a study done in mice.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor
blockers are blood pressure drugs that block key steps in a system that helps
control blood pressure and reduce fluid buildup in the body. This pathway is
known as the renin-angiotensin system. Previous studies have suggested that the
renin-angiotensin system plays a role in body fat and obesity.
Michael Mathai and colleagues in Australia examined mice that were missing a
gene that encodes for angiotensin-converting enzyme, a key protein for the
renin-angiotensin system. They discovered that those without the gene weighed
The lightweight mice also had about 50% less body fat than their heavyweight
counterparts, particularly in the belly area. However, both groups of mice
seemed to eat and exercise the same amount, leading researchers to theorize
that the slimmer mice might have a faster metabolism.
The researchers found that the ACE-deficient mice not only broke down fats
faster in the liver, they processed blood sugars more quickly than the other
mice, making them less likely to develop diabetes.
The study results demonstrate that an ACE deficiency leads to reduction in
body fat accumulation in mice and suggests that drugs that affect the
renin-angiotensin system, such as ACE inhibitors, might spark weight loss,
especially in the midsection. Having a so-called spare tire around your belly
is a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The scientists published their findings in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences.