Intense workouts may help cut calories in two different ways, according to a new study finding that exercise can actually activate molecules in the body that suppress hunger on top of the burning of calories.
Researchers at Stanford University, in the Bay Areas, discovered what they describe as an ‘anti-hunger‘ molecule that reduces the appetites of animals after they go through exercise.
When isolating the molecule, and administering it to an animal, it also helped reduce appetites and overall weight gain.
Researchers are hopeful that the molecule could be used at the center of weight loss supplements in the future, and until then weight-conscious people can keep this benefit of exercise in mind when planning future programs.
Researchers found that exercise leads to the activation of a molecule name lac-phe, which suppresses appetite and leads to better blood-glucose control (file photo)
‘We’re all generally aware that exercise is beneficial. It’s good for body weight and glucose control,’ Dr Jonathan Long, an assistant pathology professor at Stanford said in a university release.
‘But we wanted to take a look at that concept in more detail — we wanted to see if we could dissect exercise in terms of molecules and pathways.’
Researchers, who published their findings last week in nature, initially ran trials on mice to see how they would react to exercise of a molecular level.
Long, who lead the research, started their research with the explicit goal of trying to learn something new in metabolomicsm – the study of small metabolites in a person’s body.
In order to do this, they had a group of mice jog on a treadmill before measuring them for spikes in certain molecules in their blood.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of molecules that activate in blood all the time, but one caught their attention Lac-Phe, a combination of lactate and phenylalanine.
Researchers then isolated the molecule, and administered it to mice with diet-induced obesity to see how it would affect their appetite.
Over the next 12 hours, the induced mice were eating 50 percent less than they usually would.
Dr Jonathan Long (pictured), an assistant pathology professor at Stanford, said that his team began the research with the interest in finding something, anything, new
After ten days of using the substance, the total food intake and body weight of the mice had dropped.
The mice were also more glucose tolerant – a sign the molecule also has affects effective against diabetes.
Long and his team then went to California racetrack to test their findings on larger animals.
They found that racehorses were also producing the compound after running. Further examination found that humans generate the molecule as well.
‘We estimate that the lac-phe pathway is responsible for about 25% of the anti-obesity effects of exercise,’ Long said.
While the research is still early, and it may still be some time until the molecule is used in weight loss supplements, Long hopes this is the beginning of groundbreaking research in the field of weight loss.
It comes at a needed time as well, as America suffers an obesity crisis. More than half of Americans are overweight, according to officials figures, with over 40 percent suffering from obesity.