There's a reason the Clayton gym is named Sweat. In the power and
punch class, men and women alternate a variety of exercises with
punching a heavy bag.
"They want to lose weight, they want to gain muscle, they want to look better," said Sweat owner David Lazaroff.
The goals include weight loss, increased metabolism and endurance,
and cholesterol improvement. What if you could design a pill that
produced the same exercise benefits?
"I think anyone would say, 'Yeah I'd rather take a pill than have to
work at it,' but I think there are other benefits to exercise," said
Sweat client Heidi Miller, while furiously pedaling an exercise bike.
Dr. Thomas Burris recently became chairman of the department of
pharmacological and physiological science at St. Louis University. The
job brought him back to his home town after 25 years away from St.
Louis. Burris and his research team at the Scripps Research Institute in
Jupiter, FL injected mice with a protein called REV-ERB and the results
have been startling.
"Administering the drug increased metabolic rates in mice," said Dr.
Burris. "They lost weight even if they were on a high-fat diet. Just
like exercise lowers bad cholesterol, this compound appears to lower bad
cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels."
Exercise without the sweat is an enticing idea, but Dr. Burris says
the aim of his research is to help people who have difficulty exercising
because of obesity or disease like diabetes.
"A lot of people are not able to exercise or may need the first steps
toward losing weight before being able to safely exercise."
An exercise pill: a fascinating possibility that could impact the way we stay healthy.
"What this type of drug would be able to do is give you some of the
benefits of exercise without the necessary physical exertion," said Dr.
Lazaroff says it's a promise that sounds familiar.
"There's multiple pills on the market now that claim those exact
results, but nothing is going to work like getting into the gym," he
According to Dr. Burris, none of the mice in the study experienced
negative side effects. As Burris speaks to venture capitalists about
forming a company to create an exercise pill, he believes human trials
could begin in two years or less.
Gannett News Service, USA Today