While everyone would love the health benefits of daily exercise, a lot of people are just too lazy maintain a routine. What if you could get all of those work out benefits without having to actually, uh, work out?
Research from Britain’s University of Southampton gave us a glimpse into this future, where you can be just as healthy playing FIFA15 as you are playing soccer outdoors.
Ali Tavassoli, a professor of chemical biology, and Felino Cagampang, an associate professor in integrative physiology, reports they’ve synthesized a molecule that acts as an “exercise mimic” by tricking cells into thinking they have run out of energy.
The new molecule, ‘Compound 14’, does this by triggering a chain reaction in the cell. Compound 14 inhibits the function of an enzyme called ATIC, which plays a central role in insulin signaling in the body. This leads to a build up of ZMP – or the master regulator of metabolism – which makes cells think they have run out of energy. The cells compensate by increasing their glucose update and metabolism – changes that typically occur during exercise and that lead to weight loss.
If the compound becomes safe for humans, it could lead to treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“[T]his new molecule seems to reduce glucose levels and at the same time decrease body weight, but only if the subject is obese,” Cagampang said in a statement.
“Our molecule, which activates AMK by altering cellular metabolism, therefore holds much promise as a potential therapeutic agent.”
Researchers will now begin examining the effect of long-term treatment, and the developments in glucose tolerance and reducing body weight.