Is a Pill That Mimics Exercise Coming?

Researchers from the University of Southampton in Britain developed a molecule that tricks cells into thinking they’ve exhausted all energy—in essence, mimicking exercise.

Called “compound 14,” the molecule inhibits an enzyme involved with insulin signaling in the body. Scientists gave two groups of mice compound 14. One group followed a normal diet while the other group followed a high-fat diet, causing them to be obese and pre-diabetic. For the group that followed a normal diet, their blood glucose and weight remained constant. But for the high-fat diet group, one dose of compound 14 brought their blood sugars down to a normal level. After taking a dose every day for seven days, the high-fat diet group lost five percent of their body weight.

If this compound is approved and made safe for humans, it could be a groundbreaking treatment for diabetes. The next step for the researchers is to study the long-term effects of compound 14.

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