A New Drug SLU-PP-332 Mimics The Effects of Exercise In the Body

The idea that a pill could replace adequate exercise and healthy nutrition seems like the stuff of science fiction, but according to scientists at Washington University, a new pill really could prevent heart disease, dementia, and even build more muscle, by mimicking the effects of being active. Here’s what you need to know.

Scientists have created a compound called SLU-PP-332, and it works by activating specific proteins that are usually called upon by exercise. So far, experiments have been successful in rodent cells and the breakthrough might potentially result in future human applications that could make the population fitter and less likely to succumb to age or obesity related conditions such as diabetes and heart failure. The theory is that a drug able to replicate the effects of exercise could stave off muscle atrophy and weakness, and slow down or prevent the emergence of cancers and other ailments. But if you are thinking that a new ‘super’ pill could be an excuse to cancel your gym subscription, experts say you shouldn’t throw in the towel. “We cannot replace exercise; exercise is important on all levels,” said Bahaa Elgendy, the project’s principal investigator in a YouTube Q&A. “If I can exercise, I should go ahead and get the physical activity. But there are so many cases in which a substitute is needed.”

The SLU-PP-332 “Fitness Pill” Resists Muscle Fatigue

The researchers presented their results at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) this week and according to a press release, the metabolic changes associated with exercise kick off with the activation of specialized proteins known as estrogen-related receptors (ERRs), After around a decade of work, Elgendy and his colleagues developed a compound named SLU-PP-332, and it activates all three forms of ERR, including the most challenging target; ERRα. This type of ERR regulates exercise-induced body adaptations and other important physiological processes in the muscles. In experiments with mice, the team found that this compound increased a fatigue-resistant type of muscle fiber wihtout them doing any exercise, and also improved the animals’ endurance when they ran on a rodent treadmill. It goes without saying that it is early days for this potential ‘super pill,’ but if it can successfully translated to human use, it could have limitless potential for those who can’t exercise due to physical challenges, not to mention the potential buzz it could create in the world of supplements.



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