For all those people who just can’t motivate themselves off the couch… there might be hope!!! Now science has found a new compound to increase endurance! You still have to put forth the effort and actually, exercise, but maybe this time you will actually WANT to do it!
Couch potatoes: what if scientists told you that you could enjoy all the benefits of exercise without any of that pesky effort and dedication? Sounds good, right? Who doesn’t hate doing stuff? Well, researchers at the Salk Institute have found two drugs that can mimic athletic endurance in mice. Of course, theoretically, one still has to do exercise to reap the benefits of these “exercise pills,” but that won’t stop journalists (and the researchers who oversaw the project) from calling these drugs “exercise in a pill.”
The two drugs studied, GW1516 and Aicar, work by increasing a gene-controlling protein called PPAR-delta that remodels the muscle and increasing the growth of Type 1 fibers within the muscle, which makes the muscles resistant to fatigue. There are two types of muscle fibers, Type 1, and Type 2 which tires more easily. Athletes and fit people have lots of Type 1 fibers and people with obesity and diabetes have more Type 2. With the first drug, GW1516, the mice had to have had exercise training to show endurance, while the second drug, Aicar, required no training to show increased endurance.
Basically, this pill isn’t a free ride for those too lazy to walk around the corner to go to yoga and want to take a pill to make up for lost gym days; it’s more of an enhancement drug for athletes (just in time for the Olympics) but it can also help people who would benefit from exercise but are too weak to do so, like those suffering from diabetes or morbid obesity (source).
This definitely isn’t a “miracle” pill but for many it could be the difference between sitting on the couch after work or running on the treadmill. What do you think??? Write in and give your opinion on this potential wonder drug!