Drugs capable of making us lose weight have become popular in recent months. The most popular (and perhaps the only ones that have proven effective in this sense) make us lose weight by altering our appetite. Now, a new treatment proposes a very different method, that of imitating physical exercise.
A new drug. A new weight loss treatment is showing promising results in early laboratory studies conducted in mice. The drug is currently known with the code SLU-PP-332, and it works by accelerating our metabolism by “tricking” our body and making it think that we have exercised.
This distinguishes it from drugs such as semaglutide, the diabetes treatment that has become popular among those seeking to lose weight. Semaglutide, also known by its brand name, Ozempic, reduces appetite and causes nausea, which reduces daily caloric intake and thus makes people lose weight.
Exercise on a pill. The new treatment does not affect appetite or food consumption, its developers explain. This new drug stimulates the same metabolic mechanism as exercise. That is, the effect of this compound on our body is comparable to that of having performed physical training. Of course, in the experiments, the compound did not make the mice exercise more.
“This compound is basically telling skeletal muscle to make the same changes you see during resistance training,” Thomas Burris, one of the researchers involved in the development, explained in a press release.
A future to be determined. The drug’s developers believe that its future usefulness may go beyond weight loss. In the first tests with mice, they observed that after consuming the compound they could run up to 50% further.
Researchers believe the treatment could help with various health problems such as diabetes or age-related loss of muscle mass. Perhaps even more relevant, the team is working to see if this compound can help treat heart problems by strengthening the heart muscles.
Mimic the exercise. SLU-PP-332 is not the first compound of its kind. However, until now no “exercise mimetics” have been marketed.
The new drug targets a specific group of proteins, the ERR () proteins, closely linked not only in motor muscles but also in the heart and brain. These proteins tend to be activated by exercise but, until now, it was impossible to activate them through known mimetics.
Details of the study have recently been published in an article in the journal .
For now, in mice. The treatment is still in the early stages. The latest findings correspond to laboratory tests carried out on mice. This implies that the road is still long before this drug is marketed. If it arrives: the possibility of not reaching pharmacies is always present in drug development.
One of the previous steps will be to check its side effects. So far the first experiments have not observed serious negative effects in the mice. New experiments in animal models will still be necessary before the treatment is even tested in humans.