Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hormone Could Produce Same Benefits as Exercise

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Hormone Could Produce Same Benefits as Exercise

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: You frequently write that exercising regularly may be the best thing you can do to improve your health. I don't doubt that's true. But have scientists figured out what it is about exercise that promotes health?

Dear Reader: Perhaps you're thinking that exercise leads the body to produce certain natural chemicals that promote health. And that if you could make pills out of those health-promoting chemicals, maybe you wouldn't need to exercise.

Actually, research here at Harvard in the past few years may have made a step in that direction. When you exercise, your body chemistry changes. Muscles need a source of energy when they exercise; they get that energy by burning fat and sugar.

The scientists here discovered that when muscle exercises, it releases a hormone called irisin that travels through the blood to fat cells. …

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