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Obesity: The Metabolic Disease, Advances on Drug Discovery and Natural Product Research

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 23 ]


Mafalda Castro, Marco Preto, Vitor Vasconcelos and Ralph Urbatzka   Pages 2577 - 2604 ( 28 )


Obesity is a global health threat. OECD reported that more than half (52%) of the adult population in the European Union is overweight or obese. Obesity and obesity-related co-morbidities have deep negative effects on morbidity, mortality, professional and personal quality of life. Healthcare costs represent a negative impact of this disease, with an associated economic cost of 100 billion US$ per year in the United States. The most prescribed drugs for obesity treatment worldwide are orlistat, and phentermine/topiramate extended release, while the major prescribed drug for the same disease in the US are exenatide and dapagliflozin. The so far developed drugs, targeting weight loss, have a long history of malignant secondary effects. There is still a lack of efficient and safe drugs to treat obesity and related metabolic complications since in many cases cure cannot be reached by bariatric surgery or healthy lifestyle habits. Terrestrial and aquatic organisms are a promising source of valuable, bioactive compounds, often with interest for human health. Some of the natural compounds or organisms have been used for centuries by humans as traditional medicine foods. In this review, we give insights into the adipose tissue function and development, and the progress in traditional anti-obesity pharmacotherapy. A major focus is to highlight the state of the art of natural compounds with anti-obesity properties and their potential as candidates for drug development; an overview is given about natural compounds derived from different marine animal sources, cyanobacteria, marine phytoplankton, fungus or plants.


Obesity, Metabolic disease, Diabetes, Natural products, Pharmacotherapy, Anti-obesity, Secondary metabolites.


Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR), Rua dos Bragas 289, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal.

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