Some things sound too good to be true. Like a fun job that pays well, demands little effort and few hours, a pill that takes the place of exercise just can’t be real, right? Well, it appears new evidence has surfaced suggesting such a concept may not be so far-fetched after all.
Now, of course, no medication can truly replace an active lifestyle, but supplemental drugs may provide some of the benefits that accompany consistent exercise. In fact, scientists believe new research regarding liver function could lead to a pill that would impact blood pressure, according to a recent article from Medical News today.
Story author Dr. Catharine Paddock elaborated on the concept, explaining how it would work.
The idea is that the tablet would raise body levels of a compound that helps to control blood pressure without having to do more exercise or eat less salt, say scientists from the University of Toledo in Ohio.
High sodium consumption — a significant risk factor for high blood pressure — depletes the body’s supply of the compound, which is a ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate. The liver produces it when it metabolizes fatty acids.
For the recent study, the scientists fed rats 1,3-butanediol, which enzymes in the liver convert to beta-hydroxybutyrate, before it travels to the kidneys.
They observed that when it reached the kidneys, the beta-hydroxybutyrate reduced inflammation, which in turn lowered blood pressure significantly.
The study, which was published in the journal Cell Reports is far from conclusive, given that it was conducted with rats. However, the breakthrough is intriguing if not monumental.
“The production of ketone bodies increases rapidly under energy-deficit conditions, such as calorie restriction and prolonged exercise, both of which are linked to health benefits of lowering [blood pressure],” Senior study author Bina Joe Joe noted.
At the end of the day, the benefits of exercise cannot be entirely supplanted by any medication, but they may perhaps one day be replicated in some measure. Use of new or prescription medication should be discussed with a doctor before taken and always as instructed.
Of course, that precaution won’t need to be observed for quite a while with this pill. It’s surely still years away from approval, once proposed, so don’t make plans to break from the normal workout routine any time soon.
To read Paddock’s full story, click here.