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Saúde / 27/04/2021


Common remedy for heart disease reverses obesity: study

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Common remedy for heart disease reverses obesity: study

A study published in Nature Metabolism shows that a common remedy, used for heart disease, can reverse obesity.

The work is by a group of researchers the National Cancer Research Center - CNIO, in Spain.

In the Nature article, Nabil Djourder, head of the Growth Factors, Nutrients and Cancer Group, shows that the drug, used against heart disease, reduces inflammation and leads to a 40% weight loss in obese rats, without any effect collateral.

It completely reverses obesity, according to the CNIO. The treated rats were given the same weight as the healthy, non-obese animals. The rats were also cured of metabolic disorders associated with obesity.


As it is an inflammatory disease, that is, a chronic defensive reaction of the body to stress - caused by the excess of nutrients - they decided to fight obesity, avoiding inflammation… and they succeeded!

Digoxin reduces the production of a molecule called interleukin 17A (IL-17A), which usually causes inflammation.

"When you inhibit the production of IL-17A, or the signaling pathway that this molecule activates, you don't have obesity," says Djouder.

Drug action

The Madrid researchers found that IL-17A acts directly on adipose tissue to cause obesity and serious metabolic changes associated with body weight gain.

It is called metabolic syndrome, which includes type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

"Since no effective treatment for obesity and metabolic syndrome is available, digoxin may represent an effective therapeutic option," according to the article in Nature Metabolism.

The animals, obese due to a high calorie diet, continued to eat as before when taking digoxin. However, they have shown activation of their basal metabolism, which results in burning excess fat and losing weight.


Digoxin has been used for a long time to treat heart failure and was known to act on IL-17A.

Its effect on body weight, however, has never been observed. Djouder attributes this to the fact that cardiovascular disease in patients using digoxin causes high fluid retention, which masks the weight loss effect of digoxin.

In addition, the dose with which digoxin is currently used in humans is three times lower than that used in mice to fight obesity, without toxic effects.

The fact that no side effects have been observed in animals suggests that, in humans, the dose at which weight loss can be observed is not harmful.

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