ACE inhibitors are a popular group of medications used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure in people with heart disease. According to one study, using ACE inhibitors for blood pressure control could have an additional benefit. These popular blood pressure medications may help with weight loss.
ACE Inhibitors for Blood Pressure: How Do They Work?
ACE inhibitors work by blocking an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme, an enzyme that converts a protein, angiotensin 1, to a second form called angiotensin 2. Angiotensin 2 causes the arteries to constrict, thereby raising blood pressure. When ACE inhibitors block this conversion, the arteries have less resistance to blood flow and the blood pressure drops. The system that ACE inhibitors block is called the renin-angiotensin system ‘” and it’s regulated by the kidneys and the liver.
ACE Inhibitors and Weight Loss
Researchers in Australia made the discovery that mice that were genetically missing the enzyme that converts angiotensin 1 to angiotensin 2 weighed twenty percent less and had only half the amount of body fat as normal mice ‘” despite the same diet and activity level. Upon further investigation, they found that mice that lacked the angiotensin-converting enzyme not only had a higher metabolism, but they also handled glucose more efficiently, a characteristic which should lower their risk of type 2 diabetes.
Since ACE inhibitors block the angiotensin-converting enzyme that these mice lacked, it could potentially help boost metabolism, fat breakdown, and weight loss. So far, no trials have been done in humans, so it’s still too early to say. If this benefit is also seen in humans, it could be especially beneficial for diabetics since it helps them process glucose more efficiently, as well as reduce their body weight.
ACE Inhibitors for Weight Loss: Why Hasn’t This Effect Already Been Seen in Humans?
ACE inhibitors for treating high blood pressure have been in use for years now, so why hasn’t weight loss already been documented in humans? One investigator believes it could be because ACE inhibitors increase lean body mass – an effect seen in animals – so total weight may not change, despite a drop in body fat. There’s still more research needed to find out exactly what weight loss pathways ACE inhibitors affect.
ACE Inhibitors and Weight Loss: The Bottom Line?
There’s still more research needed before ACE inhibitors for weight control can be recommended. Even if they prove to be effective for weight loss, they would be most effective in conjunction with a healthy eating and exercise program. It may hold promise, but, thus far, no one has found a magical pill for weight loss.