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Benefits of fitness training could be delivered in tablet - Research

Benefits of fitness training could be delivered in tablet - ResearchResearchers believe an “exercise pill” could transform the lives of people who are unable to exercise because of obesity or serious physical disabilities.

This is reported by The Guardian.

Scientists led by Ronald Evans at the Salk Institute in San Diego turned to a drug known as GW501516 which had previously been shown to improve stamina and burn fat faster. Through a series of tests with mice on treadmills, Evans found that the drug changed the activity of nearly 1000 genes. Many of the genes that became more active were involved in the breakdown and burning of fat. But other genes were suppressed, including some that convert sugar into energy.

Writing in the journal Cell Metabolism, the scientists describe how the findings might explain why runners, cyclists, and others athletes can “hit the wall” when they push themselves hard. The drug makes the body burn fat faster, but also burn sugar more slowly. The upshot is that, on the drug, the drop in blood sugar level that is responsible for the feeling of hitting the wall happens much later than normal.

“In endurance sports competitions, such as cycling, marathon runs, race walking and cross-country skiing, ‘hitting the wall’ is a dramatic demonstration of sudden and complete exhaustion,” the scientists write. But the drug, which achieves its effects through muscle proteins called PPARD, “is sufficient to dramatically improve endurance capacity.”

“Exercise activates PPARD, but we’re showing that you can do the same thing without mechanical training. It means you can improve endurance to the equivalent level as someone in training, without all of the physical efforts,” said Weiwei Fan, the paper’s first author.

Ali Tavassoli, professor of chemical biology at Southampton University, however, is not convinced that an exercise pill will arrive anytime soon though. “Personally, I am not certain that such a pill would be possible. There’s a big difference between showing in an organism that you can mimic exercise over the short-term and demonstrating the long-term effects of doing this.”
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