The Exercise Pill Is Coming! Would You Take It?
Most people would probably like to avoid exercise if they could. Personally, I’m like a German shepherd, if I don’t burn enough energy in the morning I start to get anxiety by the end of the day. But most people would probably rather spend time on the couch doing literally anything else besides exercising. Well pretty soon you might not have to exercise because the exercise pill is on its way. For people who are too obese or injured to exercise, this could be a miracle treatment.
The exercise pill is called GW501516. It also goes by the brand name Endurobol– and it’s not new. But thanks to new research led by Ronald Evans at the Salk Institute in San Diego, drug can be used to help people who are unable to exercise. Usually when we start to exercise, our body pulls energy from glucose stores and other sugars. When our body burns glucose as it’s primary energy source, we typically crash. In exercise it’s called “hitting the wall” and it’s the point when you start to lose stamina.
But what if instead of burning glucose, you could force your body to burn fat stores instead? Not only would your stamina increase, but you’d also slim down quickly. A pill that literally forces you to burn fat– even while resting. Well that’s exactly what GW501516 does.
So why isn’t this miracle exercise pill on the market yet? Well technically you can still find it on the black market. Because as you can imagine, GW501516 is a powerful performance enhancing drug. In fact the World Anti-Doping Agency not only banned it but helped develop a test for it in 2009. And as you can imagine, this drug comes with a high potential for abuse by pretty much anyone taking it.
So what’s the big deal? On one hand, GW501516 doesn’t appear to have any negative effects usually associated with performance enhancing drugs. In fact the exercise pill actually positively effects heart health. Well unfortunately it can also cause you to quickly develop cancer in large doses. Some studies say even small doses could contribute to developing cancer. So do you want heart disease or cancer? What about diabetes or cancer?
So GW501516 might not be hitting the formal market in its current form, but it does open the door to more possibilities. Now that researchers know the exercise pill can produce the effects of exercise, they can build on that knowledge to possibly develop a safer drug. Their goal was to understand how to mimic exercise at a molecular level, and they accomplished it.