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January 18 : Did you ever imagine that you can get the same benefits of a good workout without even moving an inch?

A University of Michigan Medicine study found that Sestrin, a protein that is naturally created in the body, can mimick the benefits of exercise like brisk walk or high intensity workout at the gym.

Researchers at Michigan Medicine University found that the naturally occurring protein called Sestrin can give out the same benefits that we get from exercising. The researchers came to this conclusion while performing some tests on flies and mice. The findings can help scientists combat muscle wasting due to aging or other causes.

Sestrin’s apparent link to exercise

Myungjin Kim, research assistant professor in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, explained that Sestrin gets accumulated in muscles after we do workouts. The researchers encouraged a bunch of flies to do some exercise. They found that Drosophila flies usually climb up and out of a test tube. This observation led collaborators Robert Wessells and Alyson Sujkowski of Wayne State University in Detroit to develop a kind of fly treadmill. The team then trained the flies for three weeks and found that they were able to make Sestrin. The flies which did not exercise lacked the ability to make Sestrin, and, as a result, did not improve with exercise. The researchers found that when they overexpressed Sestrin in the normal flies, they developed the abilities of the trained flies, even without exercising.

Beneficial effects of Sestrin

Sestrin can, therefore, improve endurance. It can do more than just improving endurance. This, the researchers found when they tested it on mice. They found that mice that lacked Sestrin did not have the improved strength, improved respiration and fat burning capability, which we usually experience after exercise.

Professor Jun Hee Lee explained that Sestrin can impact these biological activities by turning on or off different metabolic pathways. He said that Sestrin alone can produce many benefits of exercise and other physical activities.

As Sestrins are not small molecules, the researchers are working to find small molecule modulators of Sestrin. Myungjin Kim added that scientists are still not sure how exercise or physical activities produce Sestrin in the body. This can prove critical for future study and help scientists find a treatment for people who cannot exercise, Kim concluded.

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