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Exercise Pill Could Simulate Physical Activity at the Cellular Level

What's the Latest Development?

Taking a pill could one day replicate many beneficial effects of exercising, according to a pair of studies that successfully simulated physical workouts at the cellular level. One study found that a special compound of chemicals injected into obese mice "increased activation of a protein called REV-ERB, which is known to partially control animals’ circadian rhythms and internal biological clocks." Even mice on a high-fat diet lost weight and improved their cholesterol count as a result of the injections. They also started using oxygen better and expended about five percent more energy than untreated mice. 

What's the Big Idea?

A different study hoped to confirm a previous experiment that found that resveratrol, the chemical found abundantly in grape skins and red wine, can increase the creation of new mitochondria in isolated muscle cells, mimicking aerobic exercise. Contrary to the prior experiment, the study found that only in doses high enough to be toxic did resveratrol promote mitochondrial function. Dr. Thomas Burris of the St. Louis University School of Medicine reminds readers that "the fundamental aim of his and similar research is to aid those who can’t exercise, not those who decline to, and even the beneficiaries inevitably will be short-changed."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at the New York Times

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