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Discovery of a new metabolite that links exercise to appetite suppression

Racehorses are capable of incredible feats of physical performance, increasing their oxygen consumption by as much as 45 times during exercise. So it’s no wonder that Jonathan Long and his team of metabolism researchers at Stanford University turned to them for inspiration to understand the physiologic changes that occur in the body due to exercise. The team’s investigations led to the discovery of a new molecule they called Lac-Phe, which links exercise and appetite suppression in mice.

Dr. Long and his team’s experiments determined that Lac-Phe, whether present in blood plasma after exercise or after injection, suppressed appetite and caused weight loss in mice. They also demonstrated that exercise causes a spike in Lac-Phe concentrations in racehorses and in humans, and that’s true across different types of exercise – endurance, sprint, and resistance training exercise. What is particularly intriguing is that many cell types secrete Lac-Phe, suggesting that several different cell types can sense and respond to physical activity.

Dr. Long and his lab continue to investigate the molecular basis of performance. As a faculty member with the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance at Stanford, he is currently investigating the molecular basis of performance benefits from ketone ester sports drinks.

Learn more about this study from the lead author here

Read the full scientific article in Nature

Read the press release from Stanford

Read additional coverage of this study by The New York Times

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