Category Archives: nicotine

Brown adipose tissue

Once thought to be the holy grail of energy expenditure manipulators and a potential cure for obesity – fail.  I don’t have great evidence for this; it’s really just a hunch.

A new mouse study has provided some additional fodder for speculation, however.

The theory & background info: increased BAT activity can effortlessly burn away excess fat mass by using fuel to create heat instead of energy.  This model was most aptly summarized by the title of Dr. Efraim Racker’s 1963 ediorial: “Calories Don’t Count-If You Don’t Use Them.”  At best, I don’t think BAT is a panacea.  At worst, we might’ve learned our lesson long ago from DNP (circa 1938; also McFee et al., 2004; Miranda et al., 2006; Tewari et al., 2009; and Grundlingh et al., 2011).

drug banned

In a slurry of publications in 2009, researchers re-ignited the quest by showing cold-induced BAT activation in healthy humans (Virtanen et al., 2009):Virtanen BAT

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NRT = nicotine replacement therapy

NRT improves quitting success rates and reduces cessation-induced weight gain.  It’s a fact; and there are a lot of anti-addictive pharmacological interventions that do too.

Dear obesity researchers, primary care physicians, and smokers,
Pay attention.
Sincerely,
Bill

Rimonabant is the anti-“munchies” drug that blocks the marijuana receptor CB1.  It causes weight loss.  But 20 mg daily also increases the odds of successfully quitting smoking by 50 – 60% (Cahill and Ussher, 2007).

Relevance?
Marijuana: not really addictive.
Obesity diets: delicious, but not really addictive.
Cigarettes: definitely addictive.
Rimonabant: anti-addictive.  It causes weight loss in overweight but not lean people, perhaps because lean people don’t eat obesity diets (?).

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