Saturday, August 9, 2008

Getting buff without the sweat is cheating

By Mark Leyner and Dr. Billy Goldberg
What if you could simply swallow a pill and become a buff, shredded, aerobic dynamo all without having to spend one sweaty second in the gym? Wouldn’t an instant fitness drug be great? Maybe not.

We were both mighty intrigued to learn that scientists had developed not one, but two “Mighty Mouse Drugs” that endow mice with all the benefits of having worked out furiously, without the effort of actual exercise. Researchers at the Salk Institute in San Diego reported that a drug called Aicar increased mice’s endurance on a treadmill by 44 percent after just four weeks of treatment and helped them burn more calories and have less fat than untreated mice. A second drug with the catchy name “GW1516,” when combined with exercise, boosted the mice’s endurance by a whopping 75 percent!

Both drugs activate PPAR-delta protein which produces more high-endurance Type 1 muscle fibers in the body. Aicar actually mimics the effects of exercise, convincing cells that they’ve burned off energy and need to generate more. As one of the researchers said: “It’s pretty much pharmacological exercise.” The researchers contend that it’s reasonable to assume that these results will apply to people.

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