Coming Soon: You Can Get Your Workout in a Pill

You may be able to cancel your gym membership soon

Who hasn’t wished for a magic pill that would make us thin and fit?

Imagine: we could all be supermodel skinny; eat burgers all day long without worrying about a silly nuisance like cholesterol; and never have to listen to Tracy Anderson and Gwyneth Paltrow again, because we’d look just like them. Gyms would go out of business. We’d have more time to sit on our tushies and text people in the next room to bring us more frickin Fritos because the 12-hour Kardashian marathon is only halfway over and all you have left is Twinkies and Ho Hos. Except they wouldn’t bring them to us, because they’d be all, “I don’t have to move for anything! Ever again! So get your own damn Fritos. I’m too busy admiring my thighs.”

Well, the results of a new study in the journal Nature Medicine reveals that we are moving one step closer to this miraculous exercise-in-a-pill creation and its oh-so-idyllic future.

Researchers found that tubby mice injected with a magic formulation lost weight while chowing down on a fat-filled diet and even improved their cholesterol. 

The mice also began using more oxygen, as if they were working out, and burned five percent more calories than the untreated mice. After getting their injections, the mice lounged about, becoming lazy and inert, and still seemed to be reaping the health benefits of a grueling workout without having to wriggle a whisker.

The lab coats in charge knew that their drug increased activation of a protein called REV-ERB, which impacts animals’ circadian rhythms and biological clocks, but didn’t know what the protein would do to muscles. So they genetically engineered some critters without much REV-ERB in their muscles. The mice proved to be like the last kids chosen in gym class -- pitifully unable to keep up while doing laps. Their endurance levels were 60 percent lower than normal. But when researchers injected the miracle elixir into the mice’s muscles, they became the star athletes of the bunch, running longer and farther than the other guys.

This, says researchers, proves that a pill can mimic exercise and may someday help those who are disabled or can’t otherwise enjoy the benefits of a daily workout.

They also stress that this miracle pill, should it ever make its way into human hands, is meant for those who can’t exercise, not for those who refuse to. Course, that is what the black market -- and Mexico -- is for.

And, while it may provide muscular and cardiovascular benefits similar to exercise, it will never be able to replicate all of the perks of a good sweat session.

Still, if it lowers cholesterol levels and helps us lose weight, I’m not sure how many people will really care what else it can (or cannot) do for us.

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