Trying to use the gravitostat


By John DiTraglia M.D.



We wrote a little over a year ago about the evidence for an amazing gravitostat that is a system in the body that somehow senses and responds to and regulates your weight. This label, gravitostat, coined by a group of scientists in Sweden, who found that loading weight by implanting heavy capsules into the bellies or under the skin on the backs of experimental mice made them lose weight by eating less and that this occurred independently of leptin, the other signal in the body of animals used to regulate fat. They have also sorted out so far that the gravitostat primarily protects mice against obesity, whereas low levels of leptin protect against undernutrition.

So the next step was to try this in humans. (1) They recruited 69 mildly obese volunteers to wear a weighted vest. Half wore a vest weighted to equal 11% and the other half only 1% of their pre-study weight. They wore the vests for 8 hours a day for three weeks. After doing that the high load group lost 1.7%, about 3 pounds, of their own weight and the low weight group .3%. The heavy clad group lost a significant 3% of their fat mass without any change in fat-free – muscle mass and no significant treatment effect was observed on self-reported food intake.

Obviously a million questions come to mind that can not be answered by this study report but the gravitostat would be only the second known regulator of fat in animals in addition to leptin to have been discovered, if this turns out to really be a thing.

So I went to Walmart and bought an 8lb weighted vest to try on myself. The packaging showed people exercising with the vest on. Eight pounds only represents less than 4% of what I weigh so that would be much less than the 11% used by those study subjects who lost weight. But it is very bulky looking and if I wore it to work I would have to be explaining it to people all day. If I wore it only when I ran it would probably be adding abuse to my old osteoarthritic knees. So the weighted vest is hanging in my closet awaiting some other idea.

1. Ohlssona C. et al. Increased weight loading reduces body weight and body fat in obese subjects. A proof of concept randomized clinical trial. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100338 2589-5370/© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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By John DiTraglia M.D.

This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper

John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- jditrag@zoomnet.net or phone-354-6605.

This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper

John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- jditrag@zoomnet.net or phone-354-6605.