Formula to Fight Fat

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A new ingredient may be added to infant formula and food to curb hunger, promote thinness and fend off obesity later in life reports Lisa Melton in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

At the Clore Laboratory at the University of Buckingham, testing will determine if adding leptin, the hunger hormone, to formula and food for infants will successfully work to help cure childhood obesity. It is suspected that babies who are supplied with the leptin will not become obese..

Adding leptin to their food has worked in animals studies. Supplementing the diet of infant rats with leptin ensures that they will not be overweight as adult rats. Animals stayed at a healthy weight despite eating a diet high in fat. Leptin is produced in the body throughout life. The key is to introduce the leptin to infants because when introduced to adults, they become immune to the hormone over time.

Introducing leptin at a time when the brain is making important connections allows the hormone to work successfully at controlling weight. Women may also reduce their child’s likelihood of obesity by taking a leptin supplement while pregnant. This worked well in tests with pregnant rats.

Giving infants a healthy dose of leptin raised the metabolism so that calories will be burned off more quickly and the chance of becoming obese is lessened. Side effects need to be thoroughly tested before we can begin using leptin in formula to prevent obesity.