Scientists one step closer to a pill with the benefits of exercise

Lac-Phe molecules, synthesized from lactate and phenylalanine, are shown to be beneficial in managing feeding and body weight.

Published Jun 21, 2022 7:54 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Jul 14 2022 10:39 AM CDT
1 minute & 18 seconds read time

A study on the Lac-Phe molecule titled "An exercise-inducible metabolite that suppresses feeding and obesity" has been published in the journal Nature.

Scientists one step closer to a pill with the benefits of exercise 01

Researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine, and other institutions have identified an exercise-induced molecule that appears in the blood of mice during exercise. The molecule is a modified amino acid, Lac-Phe, synthesized from lactate and phenylalanine. Lac-Phe was found to suppress food intake by roughly 50%, without affecting their overall energy expenditure or activity.

Lac-Phe also contributed to lowered overall food intake, reduced body weight, primarily due to a reduction in body fat, and improved glucose tolerance when administered over ten days. An enzyme called CNDP2 was also identified, used in the production of Lac-Phe, and was shown to be critical in weight loss from exercise.

"We wanted to understand how exercise works at the molecular level to be able to capture some of its benefits. For example, older or frail people who cannot exercise enough, may one day benefit from taking a medication that can help slow down osteoporosis, heart disease or other conditions," said co-corresponding author Jonathan Long, MD, assistant professor of pathology at Stanford Medicine and an Institute Scholar of Stanford ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health).

"Our next steps include finding more details about how Lac-Phe mediates its effects in the body, including the brain. Our goal is to learn to modulate this exercise pathway for therapeutic interventions," said co-corresponding author Dr. Yong Xu, professor of pediatrics- nutrition and molecular and cellular biology at Baylor.

You can read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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