'Exercise drug': Scientists develop pill that builds muscle without exercise

‘Exercise drug’: Scientists develop pill that builds muscle without exercise

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  • New pill developed at Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
  • Scientists say they have replicated a compound that produces calcium.
  • People who cannot exercise can use the pill to overcome “locomotor frailty”.

Experts in Japan claim to have developed a pill that can produce positive health effects from exercise in people without them having to exercise.

Researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) believe the drug may be as good for muscles and bones as physical activity.

They say they replicated a compound that produces calcium and induces muscle cell growth. Muscle is usually developed and strengthened naturally in adults through exercise.

While it’s true that many adults may choose physical activity and strength training to build muscle and maintain strong bones, some people who are elderly or otherwise bedridden may not be able to take advantage of it.

Therefore, for people who cannot exercise, such a pill can be used to overcome “locomotor frailty”.

Published in the journal Bone Research, the study indicates that the “exercise drug” can treat weakness of movements (bones and muscles) in sedentary people.

TMDU researchers discovered the tissue-enhancing aminoindazole-derived compound locamidazole, also known as LAMZ.

They replicated the drug and tested it on mice and now hope the drug will promote bone formation in frail people.

Besides forming bone cells called osteoblasts, LAMZ has been shown to “suppress the growth of bone-resorbing cells, osteoclasts.”

To the scientist’s pleasant surprise, no side effects were found in the mice.

“We found that LAMZ-treated mice displayed greater muscle fiber width, greater peak muscle strength, higher rate of bone formation, and lower bone resorption activity,” said the lead author. Takehito Ono.

The authors warned that long periods spent without any physical activity can lead to a serious weakening of the muscles called sarcopenia and of the bones called osteoporosis.

The drug has yet to be tested in humans, so it’s unclear when it will be available to patients in need.

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