From Ergo Log
A few days ago we wrote about a 2009 animal study done by Mexican researchers, in which biotin supplementation led to a slight reduction in fat mass. The effect was not overwhelming, but the mechanism was interesting. That mechanism is even more interesting after reading about a more recent molecular study that the same researchers have done. This has shown that biotin causes weight loss in lab animals via the second messenger cGMP and the energy sensor AMPK.
The researchers, who work at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, divided a group if mice into two smaller groups. One group was given food containing a normal amount of biotin for two months; the other group was given food containing several tens of times more biotin. Here you can read more about how the experiment was set up.
At the end of the supplementation period the researchers examined a number of key proteins in the liver which are involved in the production of fat. The researchers also did this in their 2010 publication, but then they only looked at the production side. This time round they measured the amount of the proteins and their level of activity.
To start with, the researchers noticed that there was less fat [triglycerides] present in the liver – and in the blood too – in the animals that had been given extra biotin. This group also had lower levels of the enzyme fatty acid synthase [FAS]. FAS, as its name suggests, converts nutrients into fatty acids.
When the researchers looked at how extra biotin inhibited the production of fat, they noticed that biotin activated the enzyme AMPK. At least, they found higher levels of activated AMPK in the liver cells of the biotin group. AMPK becomes active when the amount of energy in cells decreases, and then prompts cells to burn more fat. In addition, biotin also boosted the levels of cGMP. CGMP is a second messenger.
Now things are getting very interesting…
"Our present findings offer novel knowledge of the molecular mechanism of biotin supplementation and this research may lead to new strategies in the development of therapeutic agents", the researchers conclude. The Mexicans are optimistic that pharmacologists, but also developers in the supplements industry will pick up on this – and be grateful for the Mexicans' findings.
Biofactors. 2012 Sep-Oct;38(5):387-94.