While we all want to lose weight, not all of us are willing to do it with the help of medication. But thanks to new research, it may be possible to lose weight on purpose while also taking a common painkiller. Called the “Miracle Drug”, meloxicam promotes weight loss in mice so much that it caused the rodents to become deficient in vitamin B12 – which is also used in human medicine to treat anemia.
The research, conducted by scientists at the Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago, IL, supports previous studies that showed vitamin B12 can both prevent and treat obesity in mice. What’s more, the researchers were able to replicate those same results while the mice were on meloxicam – providing even more evidence that this is a real drug and not just a placebo.
How Does Vitamin B12 Work?
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient which contributes to the normal functioning of the human body. It is a water-soluble nutrient which means it can be easily transported to all parts of the body and utilized by the cells. Vitamin B12 is crucial for the production of red blood cells. The nutrient is also necessary for the synthesis of DNA – which leads to protein production and, thus, tissue regeneration.
Since vitamin B12 is essential for so many bodily functions, it is not something that you consume in small amounts. Instead, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends consuming the vitamin at a minimum of 2.4 mg per day for adults – no more than 4 mg per day for those aged 18-49 years, and 1.2 mg per day for those aged 50-65 years.
In addition to shedding light on a potential new avenue to help people lose weight, the study also raises some interesting questions about the role of the vitamin in preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.
Why Is It Called the “Miracle Drug”?
The vitamin B12 research discussed above was conducted by scientists at the Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago, IL. The team led by senior investigator Amie Bickerton was studying the effects of meloxicam, a commonly prescribed pain killer which is known to inhibit the production of the hormone, corticosterone.
When the team administered meloxicam to mice, they found the rodents were 30% less likely to be obese. The team also measured the mice’s blood levels of vitamin B12 and found they were 40% lower than the control group. Finally, the mice that were on the drug had lower levels of glucose in their blood and a lower insulin concentration. This is likely because vitamin B12 promotes healthy insulin secretion in humans.
Based on the results of their study, the team of investigators coined the term “miracle drug” to describe the potential of meloxicam to both prevent and treat obesity. Noting that approximately 86 million Americans are either obese or overweight, the investigators suggest that millions of people could potentially benefit from the use of this drug.
Potential Risks From Overuse
Even though vitamin B12 is essential for good health, too much of the nutrient can be harmful. This is why intake guidelines are in place. The vitamin must be consumed in moderation and in accordance with recommended dosages to avoid potential health risks. While there have not been any reported side effects from consuming a reasonable amount of the vitamin, overuse can cause deficiencies in copper, zinc, and iron. In rare instances, vitamin B12 has been known to cause neuropathy in those with a history of medical problems resulting from the use of aspirin or vitamin E supplements.
If you’re considering vitamin B12 therapy to help with weight loss, it’s essential you discuss the risks and potential benefits with your physician. Only then can an informed decision be made about whether or not the drug fits your needs. For more information, contact your local supermarket or vitamin shop to see if they carry the product.