It is called Lac-Phe and is synthesized from lactic acid: it reduces food intake and body weight and could be the basis of new therapies
It is worth doing sports, running, fitness, gym and in general strenuous exercise to lose weight and stay fit when we can have the same effects on the body with just a pill?
Science has long been working on the ‘sports pill’ formula and now researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine and other universities announce that they have found the basis, thanks to a molecule that mimics the effects of exercise on our body.
The molecule of sport
In the study published in Nature, biologists explain that they have identified a molecule in the blood that is produced during exercise and effectively reduces food intake and obesity. Once introduced into the body, it would generate the same benefits of a sport session.
For now, it appears to work on mice, and in general it is a finding that aids in understanding the processes underlying the interaction between exercise and hunger. The next step will be that of carrying out therapies for humans.
The effects of the Lac-Phe molecule
American researchers, with the intent to understand how exercise works at the molecular level, analyzed the compounds in the blood plasma of the mice after running them on the treadmill. They thus identified a modified amino acid (called Lac-Phe), which is synthesized by lactic acid (the one that causes the classic burning sensation in the muscles when we make an intense effort) and by phenylalanine (one of the building blocks of proteins).
The substance was administered in massive doses to mice suffering from obesity caused by a high-fat diet. Well: in these mice a high dose of Lac-Phe has suppressed food intake by about 50% compared to the mice used in the control group. All this, without affecting the energy expenditure. Over 10 days of administration, it is seen as the molecule reduced food intake and body weight by improving glucose tolerance.
What sports pills will do
The study also reports that the sprint in the race induced the highest increase in Lac-Phe, followed by resistance training and then endurance training.
“This suggests that Lac-Phe is an ancient and preserved system that regulates nutrition and is associated with physical activity in many animal species,” commented author Jonathan Long.
“Regular exercise has been shown to help lose weight, regulate appetite and improve metabolic profile, especially for overweight and obese people,” added biologist Yong Xu, “If we can understand the mechanism with which exercise triggers these benefits, we are closer to helping many people improve their health ”.
How? For example by contributing to the well-being of elderly or frail people who cannot get enough exercise. A hypothetical study-based drug could help slow osteoporosis, heart disease, or other conditions. It is the goal of the next phase of the research, to get to fine-tune therapeutic interventions.