London: Want to shed those extra flab but struggle to get to the gym? Don`t worry, scientists have now found a potential pill which they say could motivate you to exercise harder.
Researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland found that when a certain hormone in the brain was elevated in mice, it motivated them to run faster.
The hormone, called erythropoietin (or Epo), had the beneficial effect without elevating red blood cell counts at the same time, the researchers said.
The potential treatment could help people with conditions from obesity to Alzheimer`s disease, where increased physical activity is known to improve symptoms, they added.
"Here we show that Epo increases the motivation to exercise. Most probably, Epo has a general effect on a person`s mood and might be used in patients suffering from depression and related diseases," lead study researcher Max Gassmann was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
In the study, published in `The FASEB Journal`, the team compared three types of mice: those that were injected with human Epo, those that were genetically modified to produce human Epo in their brain, and another group which received no treatment.
The researchers found that the two mouse groups that were harbouring human Epo in the brain ran faster and for longer than the control mice.
"If you can`t put exercise in a pill, then may be you can put the motivation to exercise in a pill instead," said Dr Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.
"As more and more people become overweight and obese, we must attack the problem from all angles. May be the day will come when gyms are as easily found as fast food restaurants."
Obesity is growing as an epidemic which causes several illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Sedentary lifestyle, smoking and drinking are all blamed for it.
Treatments to tackle obesity include gastric band operations, which costs 6,000 pounds per patient, as well as gastric bypass surgery -- which splits the stomach into compartments so patients feel full more quickly -- that costs around 10,000 pounds a time.