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Physical exercise is good for staying healthy. There are studies that show that endurance and fitness training reduces the risk of obesity, lowers blood pressure, maintains brain functions, and more. Exercising is, thereby, one of the best ways to stay healthy, but not everyone can exercise.
"We know that exercise has a number of positive effects against age-related diseases. But many old people can not exercise regularly for various physical or other reasons. A drug that has a similar effect on important bodily functions could therefore be of great importance", says Helena Edlund, professor at Umeå University, in a press release.
To help those who cannot exercise, Helena Edlund and her research group have investigated whether a substance known as O304 can replace exercise. O304 activates AMPK, an enzyme that is otherwise activated by training. The enzyme initiates processes that break down fat and sugar, at the same time as building processes are also started.
Researchers have already shown that O304 lowers blood sugar and the substance is therefore now in a phase 2 study to see if it can work as a medicine for diabetes. But now the research team is taking the next step to see if O304 can also function as a "training pill".
So far, the substance has been tested on mice and the results are promising.
"We have high hopes that the drug will be able to contribute to the goal of increasing the time span for healthy aging", says Helena Edlund.