Is molecule 7,8-DHF the next big thing for weight loss?
A recent clinical study into the effects of 7,8-DHF has excited the scientific community, with many referring to it as a ‘miracle cure’ for obesity.
According to reports, 7,8-DHF will allow users to eat as much fatty food as they want without fear of gaining weight, because it triggers intense fat burning processes within the body. In addition to this, medical rumours also claim that 7,8-DHF is free from serious side effects, meaning that users are safe to take as much as they need to lose weight without any extra effort. However, the substance, which is extracted from a particular type of Central and South American tree, only works for women.
While many commentators are raising concerns that reports of the effects of 7,8-DHF are too good to be true, far more are talking excitedly about the compound’s potential to revolutionise the weight loss industry. Should 7,8-DHF prove effective, it could provide users with a simple and easy alternative to regular exercise, burning away fat with far more efficiency than current weight loss supplements.
However, reports of 7,8-DHF’s powers are somewhat optimistic and neglect key information – such as the fact that the compound has so far only successfully been trialled on mice, and that a full list of potential side effects has not yet been produced. In truth, scientists are currently very far from being able to agree on the potential effects of 7,8-DHF on humans and on the long term effects of taking it as a supplement for weight loss.
What is 7,8-DHF?
7,8-Dihydroxyflavone, commonly referred to as 7,8-DHF, is a flavone that occurs within the leaves of the Godmania aesculifolia and primula trees, plants which are native to the Central and South America.
7,8-DHF is currently undergoing human clinical trials for treating mental disorders such as depression. There is significant evidence from rodent studies to suggest that 7,8-DHF has benefits when used to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia as it aids the brain in reversing the negative effects of these diseases. There is also clinical evidence to suggest that 7,8-DHF is useful in preventing defects in fear memory cause by ageing, which means that it could be used to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and it may also prove useful at treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Scientists believe that it may also be useful in treating motor function diseases such as Parkinson’s. In addition to this, the compound has also seen some success in clinical trials at reversing the long term damage caused by addiction to methamphetamines, which has led some to believe that it holds potential as a treatment for serious drug addiction in humans.
Because 7,8-DHF is relatively new to the scientific community, not much is known about its reactions within the human body and whether or not prolonged exposure will cause unexpected side effects. While the substance has been proven non-toxic in tests on rodents, as the first human tests are still currently underway, there is currently no strong evidence to suggest one way or the other whether 7,8-DHF is safe for human use.
The Claims Made About 7,8-DHF
Many scientists and weight loss bodies are currently claiming that 7,8-DHF is likely to be the next big weight loss supplement. According to these scientists, this is because 7,8-DHF mimics a hormone produced in the brain (known as Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor, or BDNF). This hormone triggers the body’s production of a protein called Tropomyosin receptor kinase B, known as TrkB for short. TrkB is used within the brain to regulate levels of important chemicals such as dopamine, which is believed to be why TrkB is so effective at treating mental illnesses and restoring optimum brain function.
TrkB is also a key growth factor that the body produces as a response to strenuous exercise. It is claimed that by stimulating TrkB production, in addition to aiding the production of dopamine in the brain, 7,8-DHF also tricks the body into believing that it is undergoing exercise – this has the effect of speeding up the body’s metabolism and burning away extra fat in order to give the body an energy boost for the strenuous task at hand.
While natural BDNF degrades quickly after exercise is finished, taking 7,8-DHF is believed by some to convince the body that it is exercising when it is actually at rest. Because of this, many are claiming that through encouraging a simulated energetic reaction within the body, those who take 7,8-DHF supplements are able to greatly speed up their metabolism over prolonged periods, which has the effect of increasing weight loss even if the users consume a high fat diet. According to its supporters, 7,8-DHF is a miracle cure for obesity that will allow its users to live an unhealthy lifestyle of minimal exercise and high fat foods without suffering any negative consequences.
The one downside, according to those who argue on behalf of 7,8-DHF, is that the compound only works for half the population. Supposedly, while 7,8-DHF is believed to be effective in preventing and treating mental illness in both genders, it is limited to only work as a weight loss substance for females.
The Clinical Evidence
7,8-DHF is currently being tested in clinical trials as a mental illness treatment for humans, but the majority of successful trials that have been completed thus far have been performed on rodents instead.
Similarly, as 7,8-DHF has yet to be successfully tested on humans, the only current successful clinical trial that proves that 7,8-DHF is a potential weight loss aid was performed on mice. Unlike 7,8-DHF’s mental benefits, which have been the subject of several rodent studies, the compound’s weight loss potential has only been tested in one clinical trial: a study conducted in 2015 at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, US.
The study was designed to measure the effects of the naturally occurring hormone BDNF on weight loss, but because BDNF breaks down rapidly within the body, scientists conducting the study searched for an extensive period of time to find a chemical that would trigger a similar release of TrkB within the body that would last for a longer period of time. The scientists determined that 7,8-DHF would have produce a similar reaction, and elected to test this chemical.
At the beginning of the study, the scientists tested two groups of mice fed either with typical mouse chow, or a high fat diet, to differentiate the effects of 7,8-DHF on both normal diets and particularly fatty diets. 7,8-DHF was administered daily through the mice’s drinking water. The scientists found that 7,8-DHF did produce some weight loss but it was only present in those mice who were fed high fat diets – there was no difference in weight loss to mice fed regular chow. This led the scientists to conclude that 7,8-DHF is only effective at combating the effects of obesity caused by particularly fatty diets, and the fat cells that are stored as a result of eating fatty foods as opposed to eating too much of food with regular fat levels.
The most unexpected result from this experiment was that only female mice lost weight – male mice who were fed high fat diets and given 7,8-DHF gained weight as would normally be expected under these circumstances. In theorising the cause of this, the scientists have suggested that it is due to the different way male and female mice store fat. High fat diets cause female mice to develop an increased white adipose tissue mass, which scientists believe 7,8-DHF helps to cut down.
While the results of this test may sound promising, there are several factors that inhibit its reliability as proof of the potency of 7,8-DHF as a weight loss substance. Most importantly, the study was conducted on mice and therefore cannot currently be generalised to assume that human users will experience the same effects. What’s more, as only one study has been conducted, the accuracy of the results have not been satisfactorily tested – it could be that another outside factor caused the weight loss results, and the only way to prove for certain that 7,8-DHF is to perform more similar studies.
Have There Been Any Reports of Side Effects From 7,8-DHF?
Because 7,8-DHF has only recently begun to be considered as a medical substance for humans, at this stage there has not been enough testing to determine whether the compound has any adverse effects on humans. Some limited research into potential side effects has been undertaken as a side product of exploring 7,8-DHF’s benefits as a treatment for mental illness, and these have not found 7,8-DHF to be toxic. However, lacking toxicity in small trials does not mean that 7,8-DHF is completely free from potential side effects, and as most studies conducted up to this point have taken place on mice, there is no way of knowing for certain the potential effects the compound might have on the human body. Due to the current lack of research it is also not possible to speculate at this time as to whether or not 7,8-DHF might interact with other medications or cause unexpected symptoms in those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease.
7,8-DHF is currently being trialled as a treatment for mental illnesses, and as such it can be surmised that the scientists who are conducting this trial believe that 7,8-DHF is suitably safe to test on humans. However, it is important to note that current antidepressants and other mental illness medication come with extensive dangerous side effects, and as such should 7,8-DHF prove to have some side effects, it may still be less than those taking other medications currently experience.
As 7,8-DHF triggers increased metabolism and energy expenditure, it can be surmised that the compound is likely to affect the body in other ways beyond simply burning fat – excessive exercising has proven to produce many negative effects, particularly to the heart, and other metabolism boosting supplements such as caffeine have similarly shown to cause heart disease when taken in excessive doses. Thus while no evidence of adverse effects from taking 7,8-DHF currently exists due to a lack of testing, until the compound has been proven not to cause negative effects within the body, scientists have no choice but to assume that it may be potentially harmful to those taking it as a weight loss aid.
What is Next for 7,8-DHF?
While many commentators are already championing 7,8-DHF as a revolutionary new miracle cure for obesity, in reality there is a long way to go before the compound can be proven both safe for regular human consumption, and effective at combating obesity.
The next step for 7,8-DHF is the current ongoing clinical trial into its effectiveness as a treatment for mental illness. The study will determine whether the effects of 7,8-DHF in humans are likely to produce the same bodily response as in mice, which will be key to understanding how the human body is affected by the compound. Crucially, the trial will also test the compound’s safety, determining what side effects exist and how likely they are to occur – this will be crucial information for scientists attempting to determine the usefulness of 7,8-DHF.
Before 7,8-DHF can be categorically proven effective as a weight loss aid for humans, a lot of additional testing is required. However, this has not stopped other weight loss supplements from gaining popularity in spite of thorough testing, and as such it may be the case that the weight loss community hears more about the use of 7,8-DHF in curing obesity. Until further clinical testing is completed, though, these effects are only speculative.
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