‘Anti Hunger’ Pill That Resembles Post-Exercise Molecule is in the Works

Anti-hunger pill in the works

Stanford Medicine researchers have identified a molecule that staves off the feeling of low appetite post-exercise.

An ‘Anti Hunger’ pill could have a revolutionary component on everyone’s diet: a new research shows that a compound induced by intense exercise travels to the brain to stifle appetite. Scientists have menage to pack this molecule, called Lac-Phe, into a pill.

“We saw that [following injection of Lac-Phe] food intake was suppressed by about 30%,” Jonathan Long, PhD, an assistant professor of pathology who led the research, said. “That led to reduced body weight, reduced fat and improved glucose tolerance, indicative of a reversal of diabetes.”

Lac-Phe is a hybrid of two chemical compounds that naturally exist in the human body: lactate and phenylalanine. Lac-Phe is created during heavy exercise and one of its manifestation in the human body is reduced appetite (hence the project’s name, ‘anti hunger pill’).

“When we exercise, many different types of immune cells sense lactate, and then [a protein called] CNDP2 helps create Lac-Phe,” Long said.

Dr. Long and his team don’t think that their new pill should replace actual exercise. Instead, research see it more as a potential treatment for metabolic diseases such as obesity. “We’re all generally aware that exercise is beneficial. It’s good for body weight and glucose control,” Long said. “But we wanted to take a look at that concept in more detail — we wanted to see if we could dissect exercise in terms of molecules and pathways.”

This finding, while exciting, is just the beginning of a series of studies that will dig even deeper into the mechanism of exactly how Lac-Phe inhibits the hunger signal, so Dr. Long says the road to the shelves in drug store is still long. The next step for Long and his team is to find out exactly which receptors in the brain Lac-Phe targets.