Scientists say they are one step closer to developing a pill that can mimic the effects of exercise on the body.
They have identified a stem cell in the body that turns into a fat-storing machine when people eat high-calorie diets.
The researchers found that exercise could reverse this effect.
They hope the discovery will be used to invent drugs that target these stem cells and achieve the same goal.
Lead author of the study Dr. Manolis Kellis, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: ‘It is extremely important to understand the molecular mechanisms that drive the beneficial effects of exercise and the harmful effects of a high-fat diet.
“We can understand how to intervene and develop drugs that mimic the effects of exercise across multiple tissues.”
But it could be years before a tablet to do this hits the shelves, po for now there is nothing better than exercise and a healthy diet, said the team.
Researchers say they are one step closer to developing a pill that can mimic the effects of exercise on the body (file photo)
About four in 10 men and women in the United States are obese, costing the health care system about $173 billion a year.
In the UK, one in four adults are obese, costing the NHS £6.5 billion annually.
The numbers have been rising for decades despite government efforts to promote healthy lifestyles.
Warning for night snacks: Eating later than 10 p.m. makes you store more fat
Eating late at night increases your risk of obesity by slowing your metabolism and making you hungrier the following day, a study shows.
Doctors have warned against midnight snacking for years because you don’t have a chance to burn it off before you go to bed.
Now researchers from Harvard University have shown that it also has a knock-on effect on the body the next day.
People who had their last meal at 10 p.m., burned fewer calories the following day and had higher levels of hunger hormones compared to those who ate at 10 p.m. 18.00.
They also had lower levels of chemicals in the body that make us feel full and satisfied after meals and were more likely to gain weight.
Lead author of the study Dr. Nina Vujović, a trainee in circadian rhythms in health and disease, said: ‘In this study we asked: “Does the time we eat matter when everything else is held consistent?”
‘And we found that eating four hours later makes a significant difference to our hunger levels, the way we burn calories after we eat and the way we store fat.’
In the latest study of mice, researchers fed two groups of rodents a high-fat or normal diet for three weeks.
They were then divided into an inactive and exercise group, which had constant access to a treadmill, for a further three weeks.
Researchers looked at three types of tissue in the mice – skeletal muscle, visceral white adipose tissue, fat deposits around internal organs and subcutaneous white adipose tissue, which burns fat.
They found that in all three types of tissue, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which can transform into other types of cells, appeared to control the effects of diet and exercise.
A high-fat diet increased their ability to turn into fat-storing cells, while exercise had the opposite effect.
Researchers are now examining samples of small intestine, liver and brain tissue from the mice in the study to see how physical activity and a high-fat diet affect these parts.
Human volunteers also provide blood samples so that the researchers can study the difference between humans and mice more closely.
The team also found that exercise and high-fat diets had an effect on the rodents’ circadian rhythms.
These are the body’s internal 24-hour clock cycles that control sleep, body temperature, hormone release and digestion.
Two of the rodent genes, DBP and CDKN1A, were similar to genes that have been associated with an increased risk of obesity in humans.
The researchers hope that their findings will shape the development of drugs to mimic some of the benefits of exercise.
Dr. Kellis said: ‘The message to everyone should be, eat a healthy diet and exercise if possible.
“For those for whom this is not possible, because of low access to healthy foods, or because of disabilities or other factors that prevent exercise, or simply lack of time to have a healthy diet or a healthy lifestyle, what this study says is that we now have better control of the pathways, the specific genes and the specific molecular and cellular processes that we should manipulate therapeutically.’
The results were published in the journal Cell metabolism.
A 2008 study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego found that drugs to increase non-exercise endurance could target a cellular messenger system in the body.
The drug, compound 516, was subsequently labeled an ‘exercise pill’ by some.
But Frank Booth, an inactivity expert at the University of Missouri, argued at the time that it should not be considered a substitute for exercise, as the study did not test the well-known benefits of exercise, including lower blood pressure and reduced resting heart rate. rate.
OBESITY: WHAT IS THE MEDICAL DEFINITION?
Obesity is defined as an adult with a BMI of 30 or more.
A healthy person’s BMI – calculated by dividing weight in kg by height in meters, and the answer by height again – is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Among children, obesity is defined as being in the 95th percentile.
Percentiles compare young people with others of the same age.
For example, if a three-month-old is in the 40th percentile for weight, that means 40 percent of three-month-olds weigh the same or less than that baby.
About two out of five men and women in the United States are overweight.
The condition costs the US health care system about $173 billion a year.
This is because being overweight increases a person’s risk of a number of life-threatening conditions.
Such conditions include type 2 diabetes, which can cause kidney disease, blindness and even limb amputations.
Obesity also increases the risk of heart disease, which kills 647,000 people each year in the United States—making it the number one cause of death.
Carrying dangerous amounts of weight has also been linked to 12 different cancers.
This includes breast cancer, which affects one in eight women at some point in their lives.
Among children, research suggests that 70 percent of obese youth have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which puts them at risk for heart disease.
Obese children are also significantly more likely to become obese adults.
And if children are overweight, their obesity in adulthood is often more severe.
As many as one in five children start school in the United States overweight or obese.