If you’ve ever wished there was a pill you could take instead of working out, you may be in luck. Researchers from the University of Southampton in the U.K. have discovered a molecule that can trick the body into thinking it’s worked out, increasing metabolism and leading to weight loss.
The scientists found that a molecule called ‘compound 14’ triggers reactions in cells that cause them to act as if they have been depleted of energy. This leads to a chain reaction that causes cells to increase oxygen uptake, glucose intake and fat metabolism: essentially the same result that you get from working out.
They tested the effects of the molecule in mice by feeding them a high-fat diet, then giving them doses of compound 14. A single dose was enough to reduce the obese mice’s blood glucose levels to normal, and after seven days of daily doses, they had lost five percent of their body weight.
According to Ali Tavassoli, the lead researcher on the study, compound 14 has a lot of promise for the prevention of diabetes and heart disease.
“A lot of heart disease is caused by excess fat, so I would hypothesize that increasing fat metabolism would translate to a reduction in heart disease,” he said in a statement. “But that is just an educated guess. We need to do more experiments to find out how this would effect things like the heart and lungs.”
There are more studies on human subjects planned, and Tavassoli says the drug may be available within the next few years.
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