Do you hate the thought of going to the gym? Well, you’re not alone, but that worry could soon be in the past with this new invention: a pill which claims to mimic the effects of exercise in the body. Ie, it’ll help you get fit without you putting in any of the work.

Is it too good to be true? Maybe, but the science behind it seems to make sense.

Scientists believe the tablet could work by suppressing the production of a protein called myostatin, which could increase muscle mass as well as improving the health of the person’s heart and kidney health.

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They discovered the positive impact this could have on a person’s health after analysing research which suggested obese people have higher levels of myostatin and therefore a lower muscle mass. If you have a high level of this protein, it can make it harder for you to exercise, therefore trapping people in a cycle because they find it more difficult to lose weight.

The scientists tested their theory out on mice, and found that the mice who were unable to produce myostatin had a much higher muscle mass. Despite remaining obese – the tablet doesn’t claim to directly cause weight loss – it strengthened the mice’s muscles in the same way regular exercise would, and allowed them a better ability to work out.

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Joshua Butcher, the study’s lead author and postdoctoral fellow at the Vascular Biology Center at Augusta University, explained that “while much more research is needed, at this point myostatin appears to be a very promising pathway for protection against obesity-derived cardiometabolic dysfunction.

“Ultimately, the goal of our research would be to create a pill that mimics the effect of exercise and protects against obesity. A pill that inhibits myostatin could also have applications for muscle wasting diseases, such as cancer, muscle dystrophy and AIDS.”

So it seems like there could well be an easier route to becoming fitter that doesn’t involve hours slogging away on the treadmill. Brilliant news.

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From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK