A pill that mimics the beneficial effects of sport

(Photo: Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash)

Popular wisdom tells us that there is no better medicine than physical activity. And if there was one drugs which exerted the same on our body beneficial effects? It’s a distant perspective, but perhaps not impossible. In fact, a team of researchers from Baylor School of Medicine and Stanford School of Medicine in the United States have done so. identified a molecule present in the blood which occurs during exercise and which, when administered to laboratory mice, appears mediate the same effects as physical activity, improving some metabolic mechanisms and regulating the control of appetite and body weight. The findings were published in the journal Nature.

Physical activity has great beneficial effects on our body: whether it’s running, swimming, or a structured sport, in fact, the exercise he is capable helps in weight control and of protect us from heart and metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, while a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing it, along with all-cause mortality. It is for these reasons that i mechanisms of our body related to physical activity are widely studied of scientists dealing with metabolic diseases: in particular, there has been a growing interest in this area foridentification of molecules responsible for mediate i benefits cardiometabolic associated with physical activity.


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“Regular exercise has been shown to help you lose weight, regulate appetite and improve your metabolic profile,” said Yong Xu, co-author of the study. “If we can understand the mechanism by which physical activity triggers these benefits, we will be closer to improving the health of many people.”

Find the exercise molecules

Faced with these needs, researchers, through an approach that combined techniques that study individual molecules with those of metabolomics (which instead handle huge amounts of data related to everything an organism produces), have they analyzed the blood plasma of mice subjected to intense sessions of physical activity. Among the enormous amount of compounds produced by the body, the present far superior to the others was one modified amino acidhe called lac-phea derived fromlactic acidthe molecule produced by our body responsible for the annoying burning sensation in the muscles subjected to intense exertion.

To test what kind of effects the discovered molecule might have, the researchers did administered, by intraperitoneal injections, high doses in mice with obesity induced by a high-fat diet. In the short term, lac-phe intake reduced food intake in mice regardless of exercise, while continued administration was shown. reduce the level of fat, body weight and improve the mechanisms of regulation of sugars. In contrast, when the molecule was “turned off” by genetic methods, laboratory animals, while exercising, increased both food intake and body weight.

Hopes for the future

Therefore, the researchers also looked for lac-phe in other animals and found them strong increases also in the bloodafter physical activity, of racehorses and humans. In particular, in humans it appears that lac-phe increases especially when done high intensity activity (like sprints in the race), followed by endurance (like weightlifting) and finally aerobics. These results suggest that lac-phe may be a highly conserved system even among evolutionarily distant animals that is capable of regulate the association between hunger control, physical activity and metabolism.

“Our next steps are to understand how lac-phe mediates its effects on the body, including the brain,” Xu adds. “Our goal is to learn how this molecule works, for future therapeutic interventions.” Not everyone can take advantage of the benefits of exercise. “He Seniors or those fragilethat he can’t do enough physical activity, maybe someday benefit from taking this medicationwhich could help curb osteoporosis, prevent heart disease or other conditions, ”concludes study co-author Jonathan Long.

Via: Wired.it

Image credits: Fitsum Admasu on Unsplash

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