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Exercise in a pill. At least that's the idea. "A molecule in the blood that is produced during exercise and can effectively reduce food intake and obesity in mice" has been identified.

"Yong Xu, professor of pediatrics, nutrition, and molecular and cellular biology at Baylor University, Jonathan Long, assistant professor of pathology at Stanford Medicine and an Institute Scholar of Stanford Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health, and their colleagues conducted comprehensive analyses of blood plasma compounds from mice following intense treadmill running. The most significantly induced molecule was a modified amino acid called Lac-Phe. It is synthesized from lactate (a byproduct of strenuous exercise that is responsible for the burning sensation in muscles) and phenylalanine (an amino acid that is one of the building blocks of proteins)."

"In mice with diet-induced obesity (fed a high-fat diet), a high dose of Lac-Phe suppressed food intake by about 50% compared to control mice over a period of 12 hours without affecting their movement or energy expenditure. When administered to the mice for 10 days, Lac-Phe reduced cumulative food intake and body weight (owing to loss of body fat) and improved glucose tolerance."

On the flip side, mice lacking an enzyme involved in making Lac-Phe called CNDP2 didn't lose weight as easily.

That's mice. The researchers also found elevated Lac-Phe in humans and racehorses.

"Data from a human exercise cohort showed that sprint exercise induced the most dramatic increase in plasma Lac-Phe, followed by resistance training and then endurance training."

The benefits of exercise in a pill? Science is closer to that goal

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