Exercise without sweat
*Scientists develop pill that tricks body into responding as though it has had workout
Scientists have developed a pill that tricks the body into responding as though it has exercised. In “groundbreaking research”, they have identified for the first time a key protein the body releases during workouts.Switching this on in mice was found to give the benefits of physical activity without breaking sweat.
Named Piezo 1, the protein acts as an “exercise sensor”, boosting blood flow to the brain and muscles to sustain activity, according to research published in the journal Nature Communications.
These changes may be partly responsible for the positive effects of exercise, including lower risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer, experts from Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine believe.
On tests on mice, the researchers say that the protein’s release could be triggered by a tablet containing the known compound Yoda 1 – named after the Star Wars Jedi master.
During physical activity, the heart pumps more blood around the body.Yoda 1 was found to mimic this action of increasing blood flow in the lining of the arteries taking blood from the heart to the stomach and intestines.
It slightly alters the electrical balance, resulting in the blood vessels constricting. This allows more blood to reach the brain and muscles actively engaged in exercise.
Lead researcher Professor David Beech said: “One of our ideas is that Piezo1 has a special role in controlling blood flow to the intestines and this is really an important part of the body when we start to think about something called the metabolic syndrome which is associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
“By modifying this protein in the intestines then perhaps we could overcome some of the problems of diabetes and perhaps this Yoda1 compound could target the Piezo1 in the intestinal area to have a functional effect.
“It may be that by understanding the working of the Yoda1 experimental molecule on the Piezo1 protein, we can move a step closer to having a drug that can help control some major chronic conditions.”
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