Ever fantasize of being able to see the benefits of exercise without having to, you know, work out?
If so, research from Britain’s University of Southampton published this week gives a glimpse of what may be possible in the future.
Ali Tavassoli, a professor of chemical biology, and Felino Cagampang, an associate professor in integrative physiology, reported that they had synthesized a molecule that acts as an “exercise mimic” by tricking cells into thinking they have run out of energy.
Dubbed “compound 14,” the new molecule does this by triggering a chain reaction of events in the cell. Compound 14 inhibits the function of an enzyme called ATIC which plays a central role in insulin signaling in the body. That in turn leads to the build up of something called ZMP — known as a “master regulator” of metabolism — in the cells. It’s ZMP that makes cells think they have run out of energy and activate the cell’s central energy censor which is known as AMPK. The cells compensate by increasing their glucose update and metabolism — changes that typically occur during exercise and that lead to weight loss.