Move over, Ozempic. There might be a new weight loss drug.

Researchers in Japan have tweaked menthol into a drug that might help control weight - ConsumerAffairs

The mice certainly like the idea!

The White House may be trying to ban menthol cigarettes, but researchers in Japan have found a new way to use menthol – in weight loss.

By tweaking menthol, researchers say they might help people lose weight possibly at a far more reasonable price than Ozempic. They say it might also fight inflammation.

What's menthol got to do with it? 

Menthol has had success in other health situations like skin rashes and Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science decided to push it a little further and see what happened.

With the goal of supercharging menthol’s good stuff, they mixed menthol with the building blocks of protein to make special molecules called menthyl esters. 

And, guess what – it worked! At least in a lab. The researchers came away with their menthyl esters boxes all checked off. Where the jacked-up menthol worked wonders was inflammation, basically chilling out the overactive alarms when inflammation goes too far in the body. 

The big high-five came when the researchers found that these new menthyl esters had the ability to crawl inside cells and work some magic by flipping a switch that controls both inflammation and fat storage. And here's the kicker: the esters seemed to do this differently from other treatments, which called for another high-five.

Hickory Dickory Dock, the mouse jumped on the scale

Mixing up cells in a test tube and watching how they react is one thing, but the researchers knew that if they didn’t move their notion to something more human-like, it was all for naught. They weren’t about to try this out on a real human, but since mice have proven to be worthy tests, they fed these menthyl esters to those who had been fed a super fatty diet or made to have gut inflammation.

Compared to the other mice, those given menthyl esters gained less weight and had less inflammation – and this means it might work for real-life problems, not just cells in a dish.

Don't get too excited yet

Whatever you do, don’t go buy a bunch of Life Savers or Altoids or Salem cigarettes and start binging on them, hoping to lose weight. More research is needed before this turns into a pill you can take.

It is just a start, but it’s also a promising lead, especially because it comes from menthol, something natural we already know is safe. And any drug that is “safe” can be a good thing.

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