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Is this a permanent cure for obesity?


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Hi:

 

Let's the say the villi of an obese patient's small intestine are modified -- via gene therapy -- to prevent him/her from absorbing any carbs he/she eats. The carbs are still digested as they normally would be but are not absorbed into the bloodstream. The villi continue to absorb all nutrients other than carbs. This will cause starvation of glucose and will result in the body breaking down fat for energy.

 

Will this cure obesity?

 

What are the obstacles to doing this?

 

 

Thanks,

 

Green Xenon

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and it will also result in that person needing to get glucose through an IV for the rest of their lives.

 

on the other hand it will cure obesity as it'll kill them without extensive medical care for the remainder of their lives.

 

i think you've managed to come up with something more costly than the 'just let them get fat and continue trating them in hospitals' option.

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and it will also result in that person needing to get glucose through an IV for the rest of their lives.

 

on the other hand it will cure obesity as it'll kill them without extensive medical care for the remainder of their lives.

 

i think you've managed to come up with something more costly than the 'just let them get fat and continue trating them in hospitals' option.

 

Why will it kill the patient? Won't the brain eventually adapt to using ketones in place of glucose?

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no. you need sugars. if you have adapted the intestine so that it doesn't allow sugars to pass then you have a big problem.

 

and anyway, no matter how fat a person is, they have a limited amount of it, what happens when it runs out?

 

and then you have the problems involved with the actual blocking of glucose specifically. if you block that then you're going to block a whole lot of other molecules to.

 

and even then if you do block glucose and just glucose then what abou all the other sugars, fats, etc that can still make you fat.

 

why not just go for the simpler 'put the fork down chubby!' method of not eating so much in the first place.

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If you do an energy balance, around any human, their total caloric value as a bio-unit (if you placed that person inside a calorimeter), had to be inputted somewhere along the way, or else they would be in violation of the conservation of energy. Genetics can not create energy value out of the vacuum of space. If you weight 200KG, that all had to be inputted. Genetics can not create perpetual motion; get more out than we put in.

 

That being said, input-output=accumulation. If the input of caloric energy exceeds the output of caloric energy, we get accumulation. If accumulation gets to high, we call that obese.

 

The cure suggested is to address the input aspect of the equation. But it does not address what goes into the mouth. Instead it tries to reduce the caloric value inside the person. One can eat a pie, but we genetically make the body act like this is only one piece. A cheaper method is only eating one piece of pie and skip the genetic part. It creates the same energy balance.

 

We also have the output (of energy) aspect of the equation. We can exercise or use the muscles of the body to increase caloric output. If we wish to increase medical costs, maybe we can genetically increase the metabolic rate so any action uses more calories.

 

There is a show called the "Biggest Loser", which is about people 240-450 pounds. They compete by losing weight. One could argue that all these people have genetic conditions. If they weren't on the show, one might be able to use that argument.

 

The show is an experiment that shows that genetics, even if not favorable, is not a done deal. One needs to keep in mind the energy balance equation and find a balance between input and output. Some lose 200 pounds over the process of the season. Mind over genetics.

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In addition to the other problems, you are almost certainly going to get really nasty digestive problems; free sugars just sitting around there waiting to be consumed en masse by bacteria. I'd imagine it would be a similar effect to lactose intolerance, except that it would mean you can't eat sugar nor starch.

 

How about modifying the kidneys to excrete sugar instead?

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i never said it would be easy.

 

but heavily modifying the intestine is going to lead to many many costly health problems that would likely require more resources than the obesity in the first place. it merely replaces one problem with another, worse, problem.

 

its a bit like saying the best way to ensure your house doesn't go on fire is to build it out of ice.

 

sure, its not going to go on fire anytime soon but maintaining the house just got a whole lot trickier as well as numerous other issues.

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In addition to the other problems, you are almost certainly going to get really nasty digestive problems; free sugars just sitting around there waiting to be consumed en masse by bacteria. I'd imagine it would be a similar effect to lactose intolerance, except that it would mean you can't eat sugar nor starch.

 

There definitely would be a lot of gas but it's better than having a heart-attack due to obesity.

 

How about modifying the kidneys to excrete sugar instead?

 

This does happen in diabetes patients. Plus such modification would be dangerous.

 

The kidney already have lots of work to do. Why overload them?


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yes. fatty acids, alcohol(s), other sugars, aminoacids, protein fragments, vitamins, etc. etc.

 

In that case, what about modifying the digestive system so that the following substances are not at all absorbed:

 

1. Carbohydrates of any kind

2. Any alcohols -- such as ethanol and glycerol

3. Fatty acids that are neither beneficial nor essential [such as trans-fatty acids and saturated fatty acids]

4. Unhealthy amino acids [such as homocysteine, which damages arteries]

5. Cholesterol

 

Insteading of entering the lymph or blood vessels, the above undesired substances would go out in the stools via the colon. Desired substances [i.e. other nutrients] will continue to be absorbed normally.

 

Sure, there are drawbacks, but at least the patient will live much longer and with a better quality of life.

 

When the operation is complete, the patient can eat all the delicious butter-filled, cream-packed, sugar-rich desserts without decreasing his/her quality or span of life.

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In that case, what about modifying the digestive system so that the following substances are not at all absorbed:

 

1. Carbohydrates of any kind

2. Any alcohols -- such as ethanol and glycerol

3. Fatty acids that are neither beneficial nor essential [such as trans-fatty acids and saturated fatty acids]

4. Unhealthy amino acids [such as homocysteine, which damages arteries]

5. Cholesterol

 

 

this is incredibly retarded.

 

you need carbohydrates. some vitamins are cabohydrates as well

 

fatty acids are beneficial and essential your body can produce all you need but two of them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_fatty_acid

 

amino acids are also essential. as well as cholesterol a bit.

 

Insteading of entering the lymph or blood vessels, the above undesired substances would go out in the stools via the colon. Desired substances [i.e. other nutrients] will continue to be absorbed normally.

 

but the things you are blocking ARE desired nutrients

 

Sure, there are drawbacks, but at least the patient will live much longer and with a better quality of life.

 

i hardly think regular IV drips and hosptial visits is a good auality of life.

 

When the operation is complete, the patient can eat all the delicious butter-filled, cream-packed, sugar-rich desserts without decreasing his/her quality or span of life.

 

no, they wouldn't.

 

you are missing the key factor here. dosage.

 

yes too much is bad, but the solution is not to cut it out entirely. the solution is to moderate it.

 

too much water is bad, too much oxygen is bad, should we modify our bodies so these are not absorbed either?

 

your idea is ridiculous, unhealthy and would be unimaginably costly.

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this is incredibly retarded.

 

you need carbohydrates. some vitamins are cabohydrates as well

 

fatty acids are beneficial and essential your body can produce all you need but two of them http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_fatty_acid

 

amino acids are also essential. as well as cholesterol a bit.

 

 

 

but the things you are blocking ARE desired nutrients

 

 

 

i hardly think regular IV drips and hosptial visits is a good auality of life.

 

 

 

no, they wouldn't.

 

you are missing the key factor here. dosage.

 

yes too much is bad, but the solution is not to cut it out entirely. the solution is to moderate it.

 

too much water is bad, too much oxygen is bad, should we modify our bodies so these are not absorbed either?

 

your idea is ridiculous, unhealthy and would be unimaginably costly.

 

The hypothetical modification I described would *not* block the absorption of:

 

1. Amino acids that are beneficial and/or essential

2. Fatty acids that are beneficial and/or essential

 

Cholesterol and glycerol don't need to be absorbed because the human body already produces them.

 

Ethanol does not need to be absorbed because it is not even a nutrient.

 

BTW, which vitamins are carbohydrates?

 

Carbohydrates have calories, vitamins don't.

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There definitely would be a lot of gas but it's better than having a heart-attack due to obesity.

 

There's a reason lactose intolerant people pretty much don't consume dairy products. If your solution would result in a large class of foods being largely intolerable to eat, then it would be little different than going on a strict diet, except that your body will really really hate you if you "cheat".

 

This does happen in diabetes patients. Plus such modification would be dangerous.

 

The kidney already have lots of work to do. Why overload them?

 

Glucose passes through the filters of the kidney and must be reabsorbed or it will end up in the urine. Skipping the last step would make the kidneys work less, not more. It would still be dangerous though.

 

Still, the kidney is for regulating other things such as electrolyte balance, so it would probably be simple enough to modify it to regulate exactly one more molecule, as opposed to the really broad class of molecules you suggest filtering at the gut.

 

When the operation is complete, the patient can eat all the delicious butter-filled, cream-packed, sugar-rich desserts without decreasing his/her quality or span of life.

 

Hm, well the Romans did have a solution to that. You can pig out and then vomit, although doing so is not good for you. Still, it is much easier and much much safer than what you are suggesting.

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If your solution would result in a large class of foods being largely intolerable to eat, then it would be little different than going on a strict diet, except that your body will really really hate you if you "cheat".

 

What symptoms would occur as a result of my theoretical operation?

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Death, I suspect. Ask someone who is severely lactose intolerant if they could live on only dairy products. I suspect you won't be finding almost any food that contains no carbs...

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Death, I suspect. Ask someone who is severely lactose intolerant if they could live on only dairy products. I suspect you won't be finding almost any food that contains no carbs...

 

Won't the substances that are not absorbed simply leave the body through the stools? Fiber does exactly that.

Edited by Green Xenon
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Cellulose is extremely hard to digest, even for bacteria. Fiber won't make you all gassy like eating lactose when lactose intolerant would. Lactose is easily available to bacteria, and won't be leaving in your stools. Consider the volume of gas that would be produced by anaerobic digestion of the carbs in your food... could your intestines withstand that pressure? Nevermind the quantities of toxic byproducts that might be produced by the bacteria.

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Death, I suspect. Ask someone who is severely lactose intolerant if they could live on only dairy products. I suspect you won't be finding almost any food that contains no carbs...

 

 

Although I agree with nothing that Xenon has stated, lactose intolerance can be aided by the supplementation of lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking up lactose, and would allow for the person to eat milk products safely

 

Xenon, I am sorry to say but the most reasonable way for someone to combat obesity would be to exercise and count the intake of calories, the burning of calories and create a deficit between the two numbers. The medical intervention should only be seen as a last resort because the existing procedures involved are too risky and cause problems with the absorption of needed materials.

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Although I agree with nothing that Xenon has stated, lactose intolerance can be aided by the supplementation of lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking up lactose, and would allow for the person to eat milk products safely

 

Xenon, I am sorry to say but the most reasonable way for someone to combat obesity would be to exercise and count the intake of calories, the burning of calories and create a deficit between the two numbers. The medical intervention should only be seen as a last resort because the existing procedures involved are too risky and cause problems with the absorption of needed materials.

 

In the next 5 to 10 years, do you think gene therapy will cure obesity in those who can afford it?

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Won't the substances that are not absorbed simply leave the body through the stools? Fiber does exactly that.

 

the problem is with lactose intolerance the diarrhea is so bad that is ruins the normal flora of your digestive organs on top of the uncomfortable gas pressures and the cramps.

 

Basically, if you keep the body from absorbing nutrients the body will become malnourished, if you try and give fiber to someone suffering from lactose intolerance caused issues by supplementing with fiber will not alleviate the lactose intolerant problems


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In the next 5 to 10 years, do you think gene therapy will cure obesity in those who can afford it?

 

well it is unknown that gene therapy would be a cure in the future for obesity but as of right now the idea is crazy, I cannot think of one safe way for the body to do that... Maybe if the body was tweaked to not store fat but that could cause some serious problems as well. I am not seeing any gene therapy avenues that could be seen as safe alternatives to exercise and diet.

 

anybody have any ideas>?

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