Written by justis berg
01 July 2010
An interesting and popular form of new research is to develop drugs that mimic the action of exercise training (i.e., 'exercise mimetics'). Exercise training produces changes such as improved blood sugar regulation, muscle hypertrophy, increased mitochondria (cell energy centers) and enhanced fat mobilization— each of which can be duplicated with drugs. Why exercise when you can take a pill?

Australian researchers argued that while a healthy lifestyle should be a primary goal, some subpopulations would benefit from drugs that target specific aspects of the exercise response. Researchers such as Frank Booth from the University of Missouri argued that exercise affects a wide variety of genes, and targeting specific physiological effects will never replace natural exercise. The health benefits of exercise are too complex to be replaced by a single pill. (Journal of Physiology, in press; published online September 22, 2009; Diabetologia, 52:2015-26, 2009)