London, Oct 7 (PTI): Botox may not only make you look younger, it could also help you shed flab, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have had promising experimental results from using Botox as a weight loss tool in rats.
The research group hopes to soon win approval for human testing and believes Botox can be used as an alternative to gastric bypass surgery.
Helene Johannessen, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), is studying whether or not Botox could be used as an alternative to treating morbid obesity, replacing costly and dangerous operations.
Tests on rats have shown that treatments with Botox injected into the vagus nerve in the stomach can lead to weight loss, researchers said.
When Johannessen injected rats with Botox, the animals ate less and lost 20-30 per cent of their body weight over five weeks.
The treatment effectively paralyses the vagus nerve, which triggers the sense of hunger and controls the passing of food through the intestines.
Paralysing the nerve paralyses muscles in the stomach, which appears to slow the passage of food through the stomach. This effect might one day lead to treatments that cause people to feel fuller for longer, researchers said.
They hope the use of Botox can be developed into an alternative to gastric bypass surgery.
Botox is actually botulinum toxin, which is nowadays used in the medical treatment of dystonias and spasms, as well for its more famous cosmetic use.
If Johannessen and her colleagues succeed in their efforts, it might also become useful in giving people a healthier and less weighty life, researchers said.
Obesity is a growing problem across the globe. Being overweight can lead to severe diseases and conditions including diabetes and heart problems, researchers said.