Obesity is one of the most widespread health problems around the globe. And what makes it even more serious is that there are very few effective drugs out there. Researchers now think that grizzly bears may have the right answer on how to rid obesity.
As it is, the drugs that are currently available in the market to counter obesity are very few and all of them come with a whole lot of side-effects. In simpler words, they can lead you to other health issues while you try to rid yourself of all that extra fat.
Kevin Corbit is a researcher at the Washington State University who has been studying grizzly bears. According to Corbit, grizzly bears may have the right clues to help us understand how can we get rid of the extra fat in our bodies without any side-effects.
In an article recently penned for New York Times, Corbit explains how grizzly bears consume their food, “After an epic period of late-summer gorging, during which, every day, a bear may consume more than 50,000 calories and gain up to 16 pounds, it will fast for up to seven months. Then it subsists solely on stored fat, without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating. Bears also shut down their renal function during hibernation, resulting in badly scarred kidneys and high levels of blood toxins that would kill a human. What is truly remarkable is that the bears’ kidney failure is reversible: Upon awakening from hibernation, their kidney function is fully restored with no lasting damage.”
So there is something of a secret in a grizzly bear’s lifestyle. It can gorge immense amounts of food, then lay down for months-long slumber and eventually, get back up and about without damaging anything inside its body.
One of the key problems with humans is that our bodies generally need to stay sensitive to insulin. When insulin sensitivity is disturbed, diabetes occurs and that can also lead to obesity. Bears are very interesting in contrast because the more they eat, the more sensitive they become to insulin.
Eventually, when they have eaten their fill for the next 6 or 7 months, these bears turn off the insulin sensitivity and go into hibernation. During this period, insulin does not affect their bodies in any way.
Corbit further writes in his piece, “Put another way, bears naturally and reversibly succumb to diabetes. Since we know when they make this switch, we hope to pinpoint how they do this. Grizzlies also handle obesity in a much different manner than humans — without tissue inflammation or storing fat where it does harm.”
The case of grizzly bears is certainly very fascinating and interesting. And if it truly turns out to contain the right answer to the obesity problem, it can instantly help billions of humans around the globe.