January 14, 2012
Scientists have reportedly discovered a key protein in muscle that is responsible for the healthy benefits of exercise, improving blood sugar and targeting unwanted fat. Naming the newly identified exercise ‘key’ after Iris (the messenger of the Greek gods), scientists have yet to unlock the potential benefits in humans. For now, researchers have only managed to exhibit the effects in mice, though a future exercise-mimicking pill or medical intervention could be on the timetable.
The secret is a membrane protein in muscle cells, which is found both in humans and in mice. Once this compound is broken down during exercise, it is secreted as a hormone. This is the hormone that the researchers have dubbed “irisin” after Iris. Irisin has a “profound” impact on fat cells, and acts as a chemical messenger within your body. The Boston scientists responsible for the study have published their findings in the journal Nature, where they unveil the unique fat-fighting abilities of irisin. According to the scientists, irisin induces ordinary ‘white’ fat cells to convert to something known as ‘brown fat’, which burns a large amount of energy in the process.
- Pill that makes you fit without even having to leave the sofa (dailymail.co.uk)