A natural protein, known as BP3, has been shown to have a remarkable fat-slashing effect on metabolism. Funnily enough, the researchers from Georgetown University weren’t trying to prove that the protein could reduce fat mass – they were actually attempting to use it in a cancer study!

Nonetheless, eight BP3 treatments over 18 days was enough to reduce fat in obese mice by over a third. They also reduced several obesity-related disorders, such as hyperglycaemia, and often got rid of the fat in their livers.

BP3 is a type of protein that latches on to FGF proteins, helping them work better in the body. In the study, it was shown to bind to three specific proteins that are involved in the control of metabolism.

‘We found that BP3 exerts a striking contribution to metabolic control,’ says senior investigator Anton Wellstein . ‘When you have more BP3 chaperone available, [the effect on other FGF proteins] is increased… That makes BP3 a strong driver of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It’s like having a lot more taxis available in New York City to pick up all the people who need a ride.’

The fact that it’s a natural product rather than an artificial drug means this could be rolled out for human use in the near future, once preclinical trials have been carried out.