Water may be an effective treatment for metabolic syndrome, study shows

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In a new study, researchers discovered that fructose (i.e. fruit sugar) stimulates the release of vasopressin, a hormone linked to obesity and diabetes.

They also found that water can help suppress the hormone and alleviate these conditions.

The findings may encourage studies to evaluate whether simple increases in water intake may effectively mitigate obesity and metabolic syndrome.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Colorado.

In the study, the team wanted to understand why vasopressin, which maintains the body’s water levels, was elevated in those with obesity and diabetes.

They fed mice sugar water, specifically fructose, and found that it stimulated the brain to make vasopressin.

The vasopressin in turn stored the water as fat causing dehydration which triggered obesity. Treating the mice with non-sugary water reduced obesity.

The team found that it does this by working through a particular vasopressin receptor known as V1b.

This receptor has been known for a while but no one has really understood its function.

They found that mice lacking V1b were completely protected from the effects of sugar. They also show that the administration of water can suppress vasopressin and both prevent and treat obesity.

The researchers also discovered that dehydration can stimulate the formation of fat.

This finding fits with observations showing that obese people often have signs of dehydration. It also explains why high salt diets may also cause obesity and diabetes.

The researchers found that water therapy effectively protected against metabolic syndrome—a collection of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high triglyceride levels that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

They say the best way to block vasopressin is to drink water. This is hopeful because it means doctors may have a cheap, easy way of improving our lives and treating metabolic syndrome.

One author of the study is Miguel A. Lanaspa, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Colorado.

The study is published in JCI Insight.

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