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Can the Benefits of Exercise Be Bottled and Sold?

By Michael Cole

Research has demonstrated that when we exercise, hundreds and hundreds of molecular reactions occur in the body as a reaction. By studying these molecular reactions, scientists speculate they will be able to develop artificial substances that when introduced into human biology will mimic these changes, effectively mirroring the results of exercise simply by sipping a drink or popping a pill.

The molecular changes that occur during exercise number around a thousand and take place in our muscles. A blueprint of all these changes has been made, and its use is a key to developing an exercise drug has many scientists excited about the concept.

This is because exercise is known by science to be one of the most effective means of fighting off disease. Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders can all be cured through simple exercise. The problem is that for many people, exercise isn’t a realistic option due to disability. If there were a drug that could mimic the biological effects of a good workout by merely getting a shot, this story would change completely. 

The research into how the body benefits by exercise looked at muscle cells in healthy males directly after 10 minutes of high intensity exercise. A machine known as a mass spectrometer was used to view processes in the muscle proteins which were observed to undergo about 1,000 different, specific changes. 

A Big Task

In the past, drugs have been developed to target specific molecules in the human body. If a drug were to be developed that mirrored the effects of exercise, it would have to target at least a thousand different molecules simultaneously. Besides this, certain chemical pathways that reach these molecules may also need to be targeted. 

Most of the changes in the proteins of the muscles weren’t formerly observed by science as being associated with exercise. Previous research had focused on only a small number of changes. The complexity of changes that exercise incites in the muscles is extreme. This intricate series of processes are what allows the body to metabolize energy and creates insulin sensitivity. 

While science has long known  that exercise causes many changes in the body, this is the first study to map out exactly what is going on. Now the path to synthesizing a drug that has the same effects on the body has been discovered. 

The implications for this are far ranging and have an almost science fiction quality. In the future, couch potatoes might be able to stay slim and attractive by merely sipping a drug cocktail while stuffing their faces with chips. Until then, you'll have to work at it.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Clayton, Mo.


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