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Intense exercise can suppress appetite

Going to the gym can satisfy your appetite! Intense exercise can activate molecules that satisfy hunger, new study finds

  • Researchers found that intense exercise can have an appetite-suppressing effect
  • They discovered the molecule lac-phe, which appears in the bloodstream after exercise
  • When administered to overweight mice, the molecule caused them to eat less and lose weight over a 10-day period
  • Researchers are hopeful that after more research, the molecule could be used as the center of weight loss strategies in the future

Intense workouts can help cut calories in two different ways, according to a new study showing that exercise can actually activate molecules in the body that suppress hunger, in addition to burning calories.

Researchers at Stanford University, in the Bay Areas, discovered what they describe as an “anti-hunger” molecule that reduces the appetite of animals after they exercise.

When isolating the molecule and administering it to an animal, it also helped reduce appetite and overall weight gain.

Researchers are hopeful that the molecule could be used at the center of weight loss supplements in the future, and until then, weight-conscious people can keep this benefit of exercise in mind when planning future programs.

Researchers found that exercise triggers the activation of a molecule called lac-phe, which suppresses appetite and leads to better blood glucose control (file photo)

Researchers found that exercise triggers the activation of a molecule called lac-phe, which suppresses appetite and leads to better blood glucose control (file photo)

‘We all know that exercise is beneficial. It’s good for body weight and glucose regulation,” said Dr. Jonathan Long, an assistant professor of pathology at Stanford in a university release

“But we wanted to look at that concept in more detail — we wanted to see if we could parse body movement in terms of molecules and pathways.”

Researchers, who published their findings last week in nature, initially conducted trials on mice to see how they would respond to exercise at a molecular level.

Long, who led the study, began their research with the explicit goal of trying to learn something new in metabolomics: the study of small metabolites in a person’s body.

To do this, they got a group of mice to jog on a treadmill before being measured for spikes in certain molecules in their blood.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of molecules that are constantly activated in the blood, but one caught their eye, Lac-Phe, a combination of lactate and phenylalanine.

Researchers then isolated the molecule and administered it to mice with diet-induced obesity to see how it would affect their appetite.

Over the next 12 hours, the induced mice ate 50 percent less than they normally would.

dr.  Jonathan Long (pictured), an assistant professor of pathology at Stanford, said his team started the research with an interest in finding something, anything, new.

dr. Jonathan Long (pictured), an assistant professor of pathology at Stanford, said his team started the research with an interest in finding something, anything, new.

After ten days of use of the substance, the total food intake and body weight of the mice had decreased.

The mice were also more glucose tolerant – a sign that the molecule also has an effect on diabetes.

Long and his team then went to the California track to test their findings on larger animals.

They found that racehorses also produced the compound after running. Further research revealed that humans also generate the molecule.

“We estimate that the lac-phe pathway is responsible for about 25% of the anti-obesity effects of exercise,” Long said.

While the research is still early and could be some time before the molecule is used in weight loss supplements, Long hopes this marks the start of groundbreaking research in weight loss.

It also comes at a needed time, as America has an obesity crisis. According to official figures, more than half of Americans are overweight, and more than 40 percent are obese.

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