Patch it through

Here’s the truth about losing weight safely: it’s all down to hard work.

Natural supplements can speed things up, but the core of your effort is always going to be healthy diet and sensible exercise. There’s no quick and easy fix. No band aid you can just stick on to solve the prob-

*Advisor whispers in ear.* Eh? *Whispering* Since when? *Whispering* Says who? *Whispering* Oh.

Scratch that. Apparently there is a band aid of sorts – more of a patch really – which we can stick on our bodies to melt away fat. Or at least there could be soon according to a team from North Carolina.

Spot the difference

Created at Columbia University Medical Centre, the patch works by inserting tiny needles, known as nanoparticles, into skin. These dispense chemicals which change white fat into brown fat.

White fat is stored around the body and holds the excess calories we don’t use. Brown fat on the other hand is fat which is burned off easily for heat. Babies have a lot of brown fat to keep them warm, but as we grow we tend lose that in favour of white.

In the trial, the patches held one of two browning agents, either osiglitazone (Avandia) or beta-adrenergic receptor agonist (CL 316243.) These were applied to obese mice.

The rolypoly rodents were given two patches, placed on opposite sides of their abdomen. One patch administered the weight loss drugs, while the other’s nanoparticles were empty. Patches were replaced every 3 days for 4 weeks.

A separate group of volumptuous vermin were also given two placebo patches to act as a control sample.

At the end of the study researchers found on average the side with the active compounds saw a 20% greater reduction in fat compared to the natural side. The medicated patch also had a positive influence on overall blood sugar levels.

Man or mouse?

If the idea of promoting more brown fat in the body to cut weight sounds familiar, that’s because it’s not a new one. Browning drugs are already available. However current methods of delivery, usually pills or injection, can open the user up to problems.

Study co-leader and assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at CUMC, Dr Qiang,

This exposes the whole body to the drugs, which can lead to side effects such as stomach upset, weight gain, and bone fractures. Our skin patch appears to alleviate these complications by delivering most drugs directly to fat tissue.”

A diet that sticks to you? Great! Just point us in the right direction to get these patches and we can all go mummify ourselves in nanoparticles for a month and chill out. Goodbye gym membership!

Not quite. At this stage you’re only allowed to give up working out if you can fit inside an exercise wheel or a hamster ball. There have been no human trials and a few things still need to be determined before this breakthrough reaches me and you.

There’s the question of how effectively the patch can be scaled up as well as how successful the nanoparticles will be on human tissue. There’s also the matter of identifying the best drugs for two legged slimmers. The CL 316243 used in this trial is known not to work well in humans.

But Qiang and his team are working on ironing out these kinks as soon as possible.

Not just because they’re keen to swap those lab coats for budgie smugglers and bikinis either. Because this patch could have serious health benefits. The doc explains,

“What’s much more important is that our patch may provide a safe and effective means of treating obesity and related metabolic disorders such as diabetes.”

In the meantime?

For the time being diet, exercise and a quality natural supplement are still your main fat blitzing weapons. It’ll be a little wile yet before we can get our hands (or hips, or butt, or thighs) on any fat burning patch.

Even if when this patch does become an option, it’ll be a supporting player. Like nicotine patches for giving up smoking, will power and effort are still the keys to long lasting success.

We’re always going to favor all-natural methods of getting in shape, which this isn’t. But anything that can safely lower your risk of life threatening conditions is okay by us. Plus if it helps to shift stubborn excess fat from tricky areas, well, that’s good too.

So keep working hard and eating right, but keep your eyes open for the all new Sticky Brown Patch! Coming soon to stores near you…

(Look, I’m not a marketing man, they’ll probably call it something else, alright? God, everyone’s a critic.)

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