If listening to Eye of The Tiger at full bore isn’t enough to get you off your backside to blast those glutes and pump those biceps anymore, then drugs might be the answer. A team of Swiss researchers has discovered that raising the levels of the hormone erythropoietin (Epo) in the brains of mice resulted in the rodents being more motivated to exercise. The discovery provides the possibility of developing a pill that can motivate people to want to exercise.

The study, carried out by Max Gassmann, D.V.M. and colleagues from the Institute of Veterinary Physiology, Vetsuisse-Faculty and Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, involved three groups of mice. One group received no treatment, the second was injected with human Epo, and the third was genetically modified to produce human Epo in the brain.

The study showed that the second and third groups showed significantly higher running performance compared to the first group that had received no treatment, with both the groups of mice with elevated levels of human Epo in the brain also not experiencing elevated red blood cell counts.

Gassmann theorizes that Epo has a general effect on mood, meaning it might not only be a promising treatment to encourage exercise and therefore weight loss, but might also offer potential benefits in patients suffering from depression, Alzheimer’s and related diseases for which increased physical activity is known to have beneficial effects.

While the effects of the study are yet to be replicated in human subjects, Epo joins a gorwing list of compounds, such as PRDM16 and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which could form the basis of future drug treatments to fight obesity.

Source: FASEB Journal