Exercise Pill Could Possibly Replace Exercise, Says Study

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Exercise PillAccording to new research published in the journal Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, an exercise pill could possibly replace exercise in the future.

For the study, researchers reviewed exercise pills that are currently in development and investigated the challenges that drug creators face.

One “exercise-mimicking” drug is AICAR—it works by activating a protein called AMPK. This protein helps maintain the body’s energy balance and interacts with another protein called PGC-1x. Researchers say this encourages “…fiber-type transformation in skeletal muscles.”

Study authors Ismail Laher and Shunchang Li explain that AICAR is capable of mimicking exercise-like adaptation in skeletal muscles: “Thus, treatment with AICAR activates AMPK, and AMPK then interacts, either directly or indirectly, with PGC-1x, inducing improved oxidative metabolism, mitochondrial biogenesis, and fiber-type transformation in skeletal muscle.”

The team suggests that further research is needed to determine the safety, efficacy, and possible misuse of an exercise pill.

The team adds: “However, we expect that as we gain an improved understanding of the molecular mechanism by which exercise induces beneficial effects, we will likely gain increased confidence in creating exercise pills that have minimal side effects with much-improved efficacy.”

Sources for Today’s Article:
Laher I., et al., “Exercise pills: At the starting line?” Trends in Pharmacological Sciences October 2, 2015, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tips.2015.08.014.
Whiteman, H., “Could a pill offer the same benefits as exercise?” Medical News Today web site, October 4, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/300335.php.