Step Closer To A Synthetic Pill To Replace Exercise. But Is It Safe?


Current guidelines recommend that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise every week (or 75 minutes of High-intensity interval training) in order to improve overall health and fitness. But for persons with limited mobility, it can be a challenge. Researchers from the Salk Institute Of Biological Studies made an interesting discovery. They found that a synthetic chemical called  GW1516 could replace exercise. But would it be safe?

The study revealed that the chemical compound GW1516, also known as GW501516, can activate a gene normally stimulated by running. By activating this gene — PPARD — in sedentary mice, the researchers were able to mimic the beneficial effects of exercise like endurance increase and fat burning.

The team found that mice that had a permanently activated PPARD gene demonstrated increased endurance and resistance to weight gain.

It would be very good news if the history of GW1516, commonly called Endurobol, was not so shady. A lot of controversies have reached the different parts of the world regarding GW1516. This chemical compound was developed in early 2000 by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and reached Phase II clinical trials. This is a phase of clinical trial wherein a drug is tested for its efficacy and adverse reactions to at least a hundred people. The research was abandoned in 2007 after the safety trials.

GW1516 has been linked with various forms of cancer in mice, particularly colon, liver and gastric cancers. It has been banned for use by The by World Anti-Doping Agency in 2013, but despite its prohibition, the distribution and selling of this drug are still rampant for body building, doping or weight-loss.

The researchers believe that their findings could pave the way for drugs that can mimic the effects of physical activity. But there are still a lot of things that has to be known about GW1516 before rejoicing about a pill that would replace exercise.


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