A Pill For Your Daily Exercise

Scientists believe we could be closer to  developing a drug that gives us the benefits of exercising without moving a  muscle.

A studies has shown that a compound affected  levels of a protein called REV-ERB in  muscles – which has been shown to boost  metabolism, normalise cholesterol levels and affect how much we  sleep.

Experts hope that the compound could one day  help disabled people get the benefits of exercise without having to  move.

A study has found that a new compound affected levels of a protein called REV-ERB, which has been shown to boost metabolism, normalise cholesterol levels and affect how much we sleep
A study has found that a new compound affected levels of  a protein called REV-ERB, which has been shown to boost metabolism, normalise  cholesterol levels and affect how much we sleep

The study, published this week by researchers  at the Scripps Research Institute in  Florida, found that when their compound was injected  into obese mice, it helped  them lose weight – even if they were on a  high-fat diet – and improved their cholesterol levels,  according to a New York  Times report.

The treated mice also began using more oxygen  throughout the day and expending about 5 per cent more energy than untreated  mice, even though they were not moving about more than the other animals.

This in effect means the compound boosted  their metabolism.

Scripps scientists also worked with  researchers at the Pasteur Institute in France and other institutions, to  discover what their compound might be doing inside muscles to provide this  ‘invisible’ exercise.

Experts have discovered that a compound they formulated affected proteins in the muscles which in turn mimicked an intensive workout
Experts have discovered that a compound they formulated  affected proteins in the muscles which in turn mimicked an intensive  workout

They knew that their drug increased the  potency of the REV-ERB protein, but no one knew what it actually did to muscles.

They therefore developed a strain of mice  that could not express very much of the protein in their muscle  cells.

These animals were what they described as  ‘anti-athletes’.

One of the hallmarks of regular aerobic exercise is that it increases the number and activity of the mitochondria, the cellular structures that help to generate energy while consuming oxygen, in the muscles.

But these animals’ muscles contained very few  mitochondria.

As a result, the animals had diminished  endurance, with a maximam oxygen capacity about 60 percent lower than normal.

They reached exhaustion on treadmill testing  long before their unaffected labmates.

But when, in a separate part of the  experiment, scientists added their compound to isolated muscle cells from the  deficient mice, the cells began pumping out far more REV-ERB.

Those cells, subsequently, began creating  large numbers of new mitochondria and strengthening the existing  ones.

The drug act as an exercise mimic, explained  co-author Thomas Burris, now the chairman of the department of pharmacological  and physiological science at St Louis University School of Medicine.

It is not inconceivable, he added, that at  some point in the future, such a drug might allow people, especially those who  are disabled or can’t otherwise exercise, to enjoy the health benefits of  endurance without the exertion.

Attribution: Rachel Reilly, Mail Online

Work it Out

It sounds like a couch potato’s dream: two-and-a-half minutes of exercise could be just as good as a 90-minute run.

Research suggests that short, sharp bursts of exercise are better at warding off heart disease than much longer – but less strenuous – sessions.

Academic Stuart Gray asked a group of men aged between 18 and 35 to either do high-intensity sprints on an exercise bike or walk for half an hour on a treadmill.

Those on the exercise bike pedalled as hard as they could for 30 seconds, rested for up to four minutes and then repeated the pattern four times.

This meant that, in all, they did two and a half minutes of exercise strenuous enough to make them sweat and leave them out of breath.

The others walked at the sort of brisk pace recommended in health guidelines.

A day later, they came back into the lab and ate a fatty breakfast and lunch consisting of bread, mayonnaise and cheese.

Their blood was then tested to see how quickly the levels of fat in their blood fell – as fat lingering in the blood after eating is known to trigger the first in a series of steps that can lead to clogging of the arteries and heart disease.

The results revealed that walking cut fat by 11 per cent, compared with not doing any exercise.

'Less strenuous': The other group of men were asked to walk for half an hour on a treadmillBut the short sharp bursts of exercise cut it by 33 per cent – the sort of effect expected from a 90-minute run.

Dr Gray, of Aberdeen University, told the British Science Festival that short bursts of intensive exercise may somehow spur the liver into taking in more fat from the blood, before storing it or burning it off.

He said that, while the high intensity training ‘won’t necessarily’ improve strength, it does boost endurance. He added that the short duration of the exercise was ‘highly important as time is often cited as the main barrier to taking part in exercise’.

The need to rest between the high-intensity activity means the whole routine took around 20 minutes – and it has to be done regularly.

Dr Gray said: ‘Although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against cardio-vascular disease, the findings of our study showed that higher-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise.’

 Attribution: Mail Online