According to a study, a pill could replace sport


Recent work in Japan suggests that a simple pill could avoid physical exercise. For the researchers, this drug should help treat people suffering from locomotor fragility. Nevertheless, such a drug could be subject to abuse.

Effects similar to those of physical activity

A pill to replace sport? The idea is not new. In 2015, Australian and Danish scientists said it could be a great way to reproduce the reactions of the body to physical activity. In other words, it’s about enjoying the benefits of physical exercise without effort. Since then, the idea has caught on and reappeared in a study published by a team from Tokyo Medical and Dental University (Japan) in the journal BoneResearch on August 3, 2022.

Remember in passing that muscles are not only used for locomotion. Indeed, it is also a reserve of proteins playing a role in the metabolization of sugars. This last one is very important for health. However, Science has been looking for some time for a biological way to maintain (or strengthen) muscle mass.

As part of their work, the Japanese researchers explain that they have identified a new molecule that could support the treatment of people suffering from locomotor fragility. It is therefore a question of a pill capable of providing effects similar to those generated by physical activity. In addition, you should know that physical inactivity is a source of fragility of the muscles but also of the bones (sarcopenia and osteoporosis), and can therefore induce a loss of autonomy.

sports woman
Credits: Yaroslav Astakhov / iStock

Encouraging results

Scientists used a novel sequential drug screening system. This made it possible to identify an aminoindazole derivative: locamidazole (LAMZ). This is a molecule capable of producing a signal to deceive the muscle. In other words, it is a matter of making the muscle believe that the person is actually practicing a physical activity. The researchers administered LAMZ to mice orally, and it then entered the bloodstream. The uptake of the molecule was successful and did not cause any side effects.

According to the results, the mice tested showed greater muscle fiber width, greater peak muscle strength, increased rate of bone formation as well as lower bone resorption activity. For scientists, the discovery is interesting and could help individuals unable to improve their muscle mass through physical exercises. In other words, a pill containing the LAMZ molecule could restore autonomy to this type of person.

However, the democratization of this drug could give rise to unacceptable deviations. Indeed, it could be that an incalculable number of people who do not suffer from locomotor fragility wish to consume the product out of laziness. It must be said that for a large number of individuals wishing to maintain their body or lose weight, going through the “sport” box does not really arouse enthusiasm. Moreover, the contraindications concerning the famous pill are not yet known, nor even the effects on the long term or on a larger population.



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