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Workout pill

Workout In A Bottle

Imagine having a slightly crazy relative who spends all his time in
a basement laboratory, working on implausible new inventions,
and he’s just come rushing up the stairs to show off a tablet,
announcing, “It’s exercise in a pill!”

Gee, that’s nice, Uncle Henry. Good luck with that.

Crazy as it sounds, an Australian research team is developing a
drug designed to trick the body into performing some of the
metabolic reactions triggered by exercise. No doubt, there would
be a huge market for a pill that could provide the benefits of
exercise without having to actually get up out of your chair. But at
what price?

During exercise, the body activates an enzyme called AMP-
activated protein kinase (AMPK). This enzyme inhibits the
synthesis of cholesterol and fat, while speeding up metabolism to
replace energy that’s lost in the muscles.

Researchers theorize that a pill that could boost AMPK would step
up metabolism, even though the muscles wouldn’t need any energy
replaced. Meanwhile, anyone who has bought the fiction that
cholesterol and fats are bad, might think that restraining the
synthesis is a great idea. But both cholesterol and fats are essential
for your body to function normally. When exercise prompts
changes in their synthesis, that’s perfectly natural. When a drug
blocks the synthesis – without the many other metabolic reactions
to exercise – you’re just taunting Mother Nature. And she doesn’t
like that.

If the Aussie researchers are successful and their drug makes it to
market, I have a hunch that the flyer that lists possible side effects
will be the size of a Sunday newspaper.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute

“Science Comes a Step Closer to a Workout in a Pill” Reuters
Health, 7/16/04,