POMC Deficiency Obesity

POMC Deficiency Obesity

POMC deficiency obesity results from a mutation in the proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene, or from a condition known as saturable immunoreactive melanocortin. This type of genetic disorder causes both obesity and cortisol (stress hormone) deficiency.

People with a deficiency of the POMC gene often have brown fat accumulation in different places across their body that is difficult to lose through diet and exercise alone, and many clinical and research studies suggest that these individuals are prone to develop metabolic dysfunction.

People with POMC deficiency are seven times more likely than the average person to have childhood-onset obesity. Those affected by this syndrome experience extreme hunger, leading to food problems, and usually present with a long list of medical issues that often include metabolic disorders, diabetes, and high cholesterol and blood pressure.

Unfortunately, due to the complexity of this disorder and the lack of research on its underlying causes, finding a solution can be difficult. Fortunately, there have been some strides made in developing a treatment for POMC deficiency.


These treatments include a daily supplement of synthetic POMC and lifestyle modifications. Drugs such as amphetamine and phentermine can also be used to suppress appetite. The lifestyle modifications may include dietary changes to reduce calorie intake, increased physical activity, and counseling to help with emotional issues that can arise from having a genetic disorder.

Surgery may also be an option for those with severe cases of POMC deficiency. Gastric bypass surgery can help to reduce the amount of food a person eats, while gastric sleeve surgery can reduce the amount of fat stored in the body. In some cases, liposuction and other fat-removing procedures may be employed.


POMC Deficiency is a rare genetic condition in which the body lacks all or part of the POMC gene, leading to severe obesity. While the condition is still largely untreatable, treatments such as medication and lifestyle modifications can be helpful in managing symptoms. Surgery may also be an option for those with severe cases.