According to a new study, working out could act as an appetite suppressant as well in addition to burning off calories.
This is because, apparently, the molecule lac-phe shows up in the blood right after strenuous exercise.
To test the effects of this newly discovered molecule, the researchers at Stanford University administered it to lab mice and found that it caused them to lose weight while choosing to eat less over a period of 10 days.
Assistant pathology professor at Stanford and the lead researcher, Dr. Jonathan Long, stated in a university release that “We are all generally aware exercise is beneficial. It is good for weight and glucose control. But we wished to take a look at that very concept in some more detail — wanted to see if we could dissect exercise in terms of just molecules and pathways.”
The findings were published just last week, in Nature.
The study started with the goal of learning something new in metabolomicsm, which is the study of metabolites in the human body.
To achieve this, they started with a group of mice jogging on a treadmill and then measured them for spikes in some molecules in the blood.
While there are perhaps thousands or at least hundreds of molecules that activate in the blood all the time, Lac-Phe is the one that caught the researchers’ attention – a mix of lactate and phenylalanine!
They isolated this molecule and administered it to obese mice to find out how it would affect their appetites.
In just over 12 hours, they started eating half as much as before and after 10 days of Lac-Phe, their food intake, as well as their weight, had successfully dropped.
Not only that but it appears that this molecule may be efficient against diabetes as well since the mice were also more glucose tolerant.
The next step for Long and his team was testing their findings on larger animals – racehorses – and confirmed that they were also producing the same molecule after running.
And after further examination, it became apparent that so do humans!
Long shared that “We estimate that the lac-phe pathway is responsible for about 25% of the anti-obesity effects of exercise.”
This groundbreaking research is in its infancy at this point but Long hopes this molecule will one day be used in weight loss supplements to help people fight obesity.