Getting healthy might be far easier in the future, as researchers are looking into exercise-simulating pills that could potentially replace long hours at the gym and jogs with quick pill popping.
- A short, intense exercise triggers around 1,000 molecular reactions in our muscles
- The researchers have carefully mapped all of them
- The exercise pill will focus on more significant benefits, such as bone and muscle strength
- Researchers don’t expect it to be ready in the next 10 years
Researchers at the University of Sydney and University of Copenhagen have completed a full map of how exercise essentially taxes the muscles. Better understanding has led to a better study of what the pill should target. It has been suggested that a short, intense session of physical activity causes around 1,000 molecular reactions in our muscles.
According to co-author of the study, Ismail Laher, scientists have been looking into exercise-mimicking pills for a long time. However, now they have a much detailed mapping on the resulting reactions. They took samples of muscle tissue from four healthy men who voluntarily donated after a session of rigorous exercising.
This could be a potential breakthrough in the field, when multiple other laboratories are working on similar projects. By gaining precise knowledge of how cells are affected by physical activity, they can provide with more efficient pills. However, it can only do so much.
As stated by Laher himself, it’s “unrealistic” to expect a mere pill to offer the same extensive benefits of actual exercising. There are many more rewards than just weight loss. It improves cognitive and cardiovascular function, bone and muscle strength, along with several enhancements for other organs. One pill could not compete. At least not in the near future.
According to Dr. Nolan Hoffman, who also participated in the study, they have successfully created a “blueprint” that encompasses the complexity of exercise-induced signals. And while they cannot target all of them, they can focus on the more significant ones. It means that exercising will still be better, but the pill could see some benefits.
For example, this has been boasted as an option for people unable to exercise. It could be a startup for patients suffering from diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, it could be an exciting prospect for those with disabilities, who are physically unable to exercise or engage in intense physical activity.
Patients with spinal cord injuries could be on the front line. They have displayed major cardiovascular problems and weakening in their skeletal muscle function due to paralysis. The exercise pill could help improve them when physical activity is not truly available. It seems more likely that it will target the disabled than the truly lazy. However, its use could come for both.
Researchers have stated that there’s much more research to be done. The pill should not be expected to be out for public use for at least a decade. They require study to determine the right dosage, potential side effects, and the possibility of people misusing them. It could find its use in doping for competitive athletes.
The project is still in early stages, but researchers believe this could be a key element to certain treatments when exercise is required.
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