Does Your Blood Pressure Medication Assist With Weight Loss? Studies Suggest ACE Drugs May Help
This recent study suggests Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitor drugs could play a roll in fat loss. These drugs have been around for decades and used by millions of people for controlling high blood pressure.
Recent studies find these dugs may have additional uses such as weight loss. There are other studies suggesting altering the ACE system may impact weight as well as other effects of interest that are currently being studied.
However, from a “real world” perspective, millions of people are on these drugs and I have never heard anyone report weight loss to me. It’s an interesting area of research, but I would not recommend anyone run out and get ACE drugs for weight loss unless you are already on them for controlling blood pressure. Something to keep an eye on at least as this may lead to interesting drugs for fat loss:
Scientists from Melbourne’s Howard Florey Institute have discovered a way to aid weight loss and reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes by manipulating fat cells to increase the body’s metabolism.
As well as metabolizing fat, fat cells help regulate blood pressure and blood volume through the renin-angiotensin system.
Dr Michael Mathai and colleagues investigated how blocking this system could cause weight loss. For this study, the scientists used mice that lacked angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE).
They found that ACE-deficient mice weighed 20% less and had 50-60% less body fat, particularly in the abdomen, compared to normal mice.
The ACE-deficient mice were no more active than normal mice and did not eat less, indicating their lower body fat resulted from a higher metabolism.
Subsequent experiments showed that the mice had a higher rate of resting energy metabolism at six months of age, which was linked to an increase of fat metabolism in the liver.
Remarkably, the mice gained less fat as they aged, indicating their higher metabolism was sustained throughout life.
The ACE-deficient mice also cleared glucose faster than normal mice, suggesting a lower susceptibility to diabetes.
Dr Michael Mathai said his team’s discovery confirmed the critical role that the renin-angiotensin system plays in fat metabolism.
“This is a significant discovery that shows by interfering with the renin-angiotensin system we can induce selective loss of fat mass,” Dr Mathai said.
“ACE inhibitor and Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB) drugs are already widely available to treat hypertension and have been found to have this same effect on fat and glucose metabolism, but many people using these drugs may not have noticed any significant weight loss because their lean body mass could have increased.
“It is possible that the ACE inhibitor and ARB drugs could be adapted to become specific weight loss drugs – it may be a question of the correct dosage.
“However, such a weight loss drug would need to be accompanied by a healthy diet and lifestyle to achieve and maintain weight loss, and to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes,” he said.
Dr Mathai said questions still remained concerning the full mechanism underlying the changes in body composition and metabolism when ACE was blocked.
“The next step in our research is to find out if the brain is responsible for increasing metabolism, or whether it is from a direct effect on the main body organs involved in fat metabolism,” he said.
This research will be published tomorrow in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Brink Bottom Line:
ACE inhibitors have been around a long time, and include Benazepril, Captopril, Enalapril, Fosinopril,
Moexipril, Ramipril, Trandolapril, as well as others. As I said above, I have yet to ever hear anyone say they lost weight from these drugs, but the authors of the study make an interesting comment which was “many people using these drugs may not have noticed any significant weight loss because their lean body mass could have increased.” That would indicate that ACE drugs also act as an anabolic agent. So, it’s possible these old drugs may have some interesting new uses, but of course they are not without potential side effects and what dose would be effective in normotensive people (e.g., people with normal blood pressure) is unclear at this time.