Scientific research often requires blood, sweat, and tears, as many researchers can affirm. But in this case, we can take this quite literally. In their search for a yet unknown molecule, Robert Jansen and his colleagues from Piet Borst's research group truly exhausted themselves, and even had their blood drawn before and after their efforts. “One of our colleagues even ran outside, and did a couple of push-ups with our colleagues at the blood draw lab,” he recalls. Anything for science.
Their blood contained important information about the creation of this new molecule, which they knew was made out of lactic acid by our body. Robert: “That’s why we wanted to test whether higher levels of lactic acid would result in higher concentrations of this substance. And the easiest way to raise lactic acid in the blood is through exertion.”
That’s how they discovered Lac-Phe, which was central to the follow-up study, led by American researchers, that has been published today, The presence of Lac-Phe in mice appears to play a role in the development of obesity. It is currently unknown whether this works the same way in people. Robert, who currently works at Radboud University: “Looking back, large studies with human subjects have provided us with clues about the role of Lac-Phe in the prevention of weight gain. But we don’t know whether supplementing Lac-Phe has the same effects on people as on mice.”
For more information about this new study, please see Radboud Recharge.