Curing Obesity, Type II Diabetes, and More
Disulfiram is also known as “Antabuse,” an old drug sometimes used to combat alcoholism. But this old drug is on the cusp of finding some new and revolutionary uses.
“When we first went down this path, we did not know what to expect, but once we started to see data showing dramatic weight loss and leaner body mass in the mice, we turned to each other and couldn’t quite believe our eyes,” Bernier says.
The researchers fed middle-aged lab mice a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. The mice became overweight and started showing signs of metabolic problems similar to pre-diabetes. These included insulin resistance and elevated fasting blood sugar levels.
The mice were then assigned to one of four diets for 12 weeks: a standard diet alone, a high-fat diet alone, a high-fat diet with a low amount of disulfiram, or a high-fat diet with a higher amount of disulfiram. Results were published in Cell Metabolism on May 14, 2020.
As expected, the mice that stayed on the high-fat diet alone continued to gain weight and show metabolic problems. Mice switched to a standard diet gradually saw their body weight, fat composition, and blood sugar levels return to normal.
The mice receiving disulfiram with their still-fatty food showed a dramatic decrease in their body weight and related metabolic damage. Those on the higher disulfiram dose lost as much as 40% of their body weight in just four weeks. Their leaner weight was similar to that of mice switched to a standard diet. Disulfiram treatment also appeared to protect the pancreas and liver from damage.
None of the mice were subjected to exercise, nor did they show changes in behavior that might have affected body weight. This suggests that the benefits were solely from the disulfiram treatment.
Will it also work for humans? Too early to say. But imagine the revolution, if humans could eat all the fast food they wanted, and still lose weight? Of course, they would have to abstain from alcohol while taking disulfiram, but most people who seriously want to lose weight will give up alcohol long enough to lose 40% of their body weight.
Special note: Do not take disulfiram without medical consultation. Even with medical consultation be certain to exclude alcohol from your diet, if you want to take the drug. If you go ahead and mix this drug with alcohol, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
But That’s Not All!
It is the anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects that may provide the greatest benefit to human patients in the long run, if these results transfer from mice to humans. Obesity is bad enough, but diabetes is a stone cold killer in comparison. And inflammation? Inflammation underlies almost all of top causes of death in advanced countries.
It is unclear exactly how disulfiram generates these anti-obesity effects in the animals, but the researchers hypothesize it is related to the drug’s novel anti-inflammatory properties. An unrelated recent study from researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Boston Children’s Hospital also homed in on disulfiram’s anti-inflammatory effects, finding the drug may have potential as a treatment for sepsis, and possibly the immune-related “cytokine storms” seen in COVID-19 patients. __ NA
It will take some time to sort out all of these effects. But it just goes to show you that the answer to some of your most vexing problems can lie in the unlikeliest places.
What is drug repurposing or drug repositioning? It is simply the process of testing a large number of pre-existing and pre-approved drugs for novel effects unrelated to the drugs’ original purposes.
Consider hydroxychloroquine, a drug developed to treat malaria. As a repurposed drug, hydroxychloroquine is also used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus. More recently, hydroxychloroquine is being used to treat the Chinese coronavirus SARS CoV-2. Even US President Trump is taking it!
Drug repositioning has many advantages over traditional de novo drug discovery approaches in that it can significantly reduce the cost and development time and as many compounds have demonstrated safety in humans it often negates the need for phase I clinical trials (Oprea et al., 2011). __ Much more at Source