[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
Tricky cyclists in the Tour de France sometimes cheat by upping their red blood cell count for those tough stretches through the Alps. But researchers at California’s Salk Institute just discovered a new sort of endurance training in a pill—pop it and go farther, for longer. For mice, at least. But there’s evidence it works for us, too. The research appears in the journal Cell.
The researchers realized exercise was the key to activating this endurance circuit. So they gave the mice a different drug that mimics a natural chemical produced during exercise, called AMP. When AMP levels rise, the endurance circuit kicks in. So with the second drug, even lazy, untrained mice ran as far as trained, drug-free mice. But athletes beware—the researchers are already working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to bust would-be Olympic cheats.