A pill instead of long and strenuous training sessions in the gym. A single drug that has the same effect on the body as regular physical activity would. For many, the obese and especially overweight people, it is a dream come true. For scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, this is a concrete milestone close to being reached. Indeed, the discovery of an altered form of an amino acid that is produced in both humans and mice after exercise could soon become a revolutionary obesity treatment.
In a study published in the journal NatureAmerican scientists have clarified the biological role of the molecule lac-phe, which is produced when the amino acid phenylalanine reacts with another molecule called lactate. In fact, it seems that lac-phe is able to reduce the appetite of mice after exercise. “We found that this metabolite called lac-phe can rapidly increase circulation after exercise, not only in mice but also in humans,” he explains. Yong Xu, scientist who coordinated the study. “We also found that this metabolite can be administered to suppress food intake and reduce body weight in an obese mouse model,” he adds.
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Xu and his colleagues analyzed the blood of five mice induced to run on a treadmill. The researchers found that, as a result of that exercise, the concentration of lac-phe increased more than that of any other molecule produced. Next, the scientists gave a group of 12 obese mice lac-phe or a control saline solution every day for 10 days. In this way it was possible to observe that the mice treated with lac-phe consumed half as much food as the mice in the control group within 12 hours after the first injection, leading to a significant loss of almost 3 grams of body weight by the eighth day. The researchers also administered lac-phe to lean mice and found that the compound did not affect the animals’ food intake. This suggests that the molecule suppresses appetite only in obese mice.
It only works in obese mice
“My favorite theory – says Xu – is that during obesity, we know that the blood brain barrier could have greater permeability to the lac-phe and other signals coming from the circulation, which means that lac-phe could have better access. to the brain to suppress food intake only in obese mice, but not in lean mice. We are currently investigating this. ” The team also found that lac-phe injections did not change the activity levels of the obese mice, and there was no evidence that it reduced their appetite simply by making the animals nauseated and less interested in food.
The researchers then focused on humans. They recruited people to do high-intensity training, such as sprints and resistance exercises. Well, the researchers found that lac-phe levels also rise after exercise in humans, but the effect on appetite has yet to be confirmed. “This could lead to the development of a pill that can be used directly to suppress appetite for some people who cannot exercise easily due to other conditions, aging or bone problems,” says Xu. “We have just filed for a patent to hopefully use this knowledge to treat human diseases such as obesity,” she adds.
The mechanisms for altering appetite
“The work provides new insight into the mechanisms by which exercise alters appetite and food intake in mice, findings that warrant further investigation and testing in humans,” he comments on. New Scientist Hashim Islam, an expert at the University of British Columbia, Canada. “If lac-phe proves to be a powerful regulator of appetite and food intake in humans, it could have real therapeutic potential to fight obesity and cardiometabolic diseases,” he adds.
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The mima-sport pill is actually a goal that scientists have been pursuing for decades. Also recently, we have come very close to this goal with the compound known as SIRT500, a powerful mix of vitamin D, omega-3, lactoferrin, quercetin, vitamin C, zinc, melatonin and glutathione which, together with some sirtuins activators , such as the synergy between pterostilbene, polytadine and onochiol, appear to be able to replicate the beneficial effects of exercise on health. In fact, these substances would be able to activate the so-called “longevity genes”, which produce proteins that promote metabolism.
The hunt for the mima-sport pill still remains open, but now for the first time we are beginning to see the first promising results.