Exercise Pills May Benefit Those Unable To Exercise

Prof. Ismail Laher Department of Anesthesiology Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics Faculty of Medicine University of British Columbia Vancouver, CanadaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Ismail Laher

Department of Anesthesiology
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, Canada 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. LaherThere are several groups based in various parts of the world looking to create an exercise pill. We examined the proposed candidates and summarized how these agents work at the cellular level. The main finding is that each of these agents each acts on a select aspect of physical exercise does in humans —these agents seem to interact with only some of the molecular signals activated by regular physical exercise, for example in skeletal muscle. What they fail to do is to provide all the other benefits of exercise such as improved bone strength, better blood supply to many areas of the body, improved activity of insulin and other glucose lowering drugs. Basically these exercise pills will help some athletes reach their goal of faster and stronger muscles even faster—of course this opens the door to doping in human and animal sporting competitions.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. LaherIf you have a choice, then for sure regular physical exercise is preferred. Mind you, you don’t have to be a gym rat. Even modest amounts of exercise are beneficial—anything to increase your heart rate. It is really important to be consistent with your efforts and exercise regularly , for example 30 minutes a day. And you don’t have to be part of a structured exercise program such as that offered by most gyms. Many studies show that regular activities such as walking, cycling, swimming are good alternatives. The development of exercise pills are is an attractive possibility to assist those who are unable to exercise —such as patients with spinal cord injury, amputations, paralysis e.g. from  stroke etc. Exercise pills may also find some use in patients receiving physical therapy—but at this time we do not know if these add to the effects of  physical therapy .

Medical Research:  What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. LaherExercise pills are not a panacea or a short cut to get the full benefits of regular exercise. The current list of candidate exercise pills are a promising start but the road ahead is still a long one with some challenges—such as developing a means to stimulating multiple targets unrelated to skeletal muscle activation.


Exercise Pills: At the Starting Line

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Prof. Ismail Laher (2015). Exercise Pills May Benefit Those Unable To Exercise