New Potential Exercise Mimic Pill for Weight Loss Discovered

Exercise Mimic Pill for Weight Loss

We’ve heard that there is no such thing as a magic pill for weight loss; however, scientists may have come up with a potential exercise mimic pill for weight loss that tricks the body into increasing its metabolism.


Researchers from the University of Southampton have recently published a new study with data about a molecule called “Compound 14” that shows that the human body can potentially be tricked into increasing its metabolism and thereby aid weight loss without added exercise.

Compound 14 is believed to work by interfering with just one of a large number of multi-step metabolic pathways a cell needs to function normally. Compound 14 works toward weight loss by inhibiting a cellular enzyme called ATIC, which in turn leads to a buildup of another molecule called “ZMP.” This buildup of ZMP inside tricks cells to react as if they were low on energy—such as after exercising―which in turn activates a central energy sensor called “AMPK” in the cell that prompts the cell to increase its energy level by taking in glucose and raising its cellular metabolism.

According to a news release from the University of Southampton, “There is a lot of evidence from previous studies that if you could selectively activate AMPK with a small molecule, it could have potential benefits in the treatment of several diseases, including type 2 diabetes, by acting as an exercise mimetic and increasing the uptake and usage of glucose and oxygen by cells. Our molecule, which activates AMPK by altering cellular metabolism, therefore holds much promise as a potential therapeutic agent,” states Ali Tavassoli, Professor of Chemical Biology at the University and co-author of the study published recently in the journal Chemistry & Biology.

The potential of Compound 14 was demonstrated in two groups of mice that were fed either a normal diet or a high-fat diet. The high-fat diet in one of the groups was used to create mice with metabolic syndrome that includes obesity and impaired glucose tolerance. When both groups of mice were treated with Compound 14, the normal-diet mice retained normal body weight and normal blood glucose levels. However, when the high-fat diet mice were treated just once with Compound 14, their blood glucose levels dropped from abnormally high levels to normal levels.

Furthermore, when both groups of mice were given a daily dose of compound 14 for seven days, the normal-diet mice remained unaffected whereas the high-fat diet mice showed improved glucose tolerance and a loss of nearly 5% of body weight―in just 7 days!


Study co-author Dr. Felino Cagampang, an Associate Professor in Integrative Physiology at the University of Southampton points out that, “…this new molecule seems to reduce glucose levels and at the same time decrease body weight, but only if the subject is obese.”

The authors report that research continues on Compound 14 to examine its effects on long-term treatment and its mode of action in improving glucose tolerance and in reducing body weight. They propose that if Compound 14 is found to be safe and effective, that it could potentially be developed into a type of weight loss pill for humans who are obese and have diabetes.

For more about pills used for weight loss, here are some facts that medical experts have revealed about such medications for weight loss.


AMPK Activation via Modulation of De Novo Purine Biosynthesis with an Inhibitor of ATIC HomodimerizationChemistry & Biology, Volume 22, Issue 7 , 838–848; Asby, Daniel J. et al.

University of Southampton― “Exercise mimic molecule may help treat diabetes and obesity