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Woman Performing Blood Test on Herself Moodboard—Cultura RF/Getty Images

New Hormone Discovered That Curbs Weight Gain, Diabetes Just Like Exercise

Mar 04, 2015
TIME Health
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Scientists have discovered a new hormone that mimics the health benefits of exercise by normalizing the metabolism and slowing the weight gain caused by fatty diets.

Appearing in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism on Tuesday, the study found the newly discovered MOTS-c hormone increases insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to more effectively process glucose sugars, according to a press release from the University of Southern California.

Insulin is a hormone that is used to move glucose sugars from food into the blood stream; resistance occurs when levels are high for a long period of time — commonly from a poor diet — which increases the body’s tolerance to the hormone and can lead to type 2 diabetes.

The new MOTS-c hormone targets muscle tissue and reverses age-dependent and diet-related insulin resistance.

“This represents a major advance in the identification of new treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes,” said Dr. Pinchas Cohen, senior author of the study.

Researchers injected the new hormone into lab mice eating high-fat foods that usually lead them to become obese. The injection suppressed the weight gain and also reversed the insulin resistance caused by their diet.

While tests were only administered on mice, the necessary mechanisms are present in all mammals, humans included.

Read next: 5 Non-Diet Factors That Can Affect Your Weight

Obesity in America: Photos From the Early Days of a National Health Crisis

Bulging at beach in 1949, 197-pound Dorothy [Bradley] self-consciously leaves locker room for swim. She covered up embarrassment by being jolly and gregarious
VIEW GALLERY | 20 PHOTOS
Caption from LIFE. Bulging at beach in 1949, 197-pound Dorothy [Bradley] self-consciously leaves locker room for swim. She covered up embarrassment by being jolly and gregarious.Martha Holmes—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Bulging at beach in 1949, 197-pound Dorothy [Bradley] self-consciously leaves locker room for swim. She covered up embarrassment by being jolly and gregarious
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, 1949.
Hungry at drugstore after a day's work earning money for nursing school, Dorothy envies slim girl's milkshake, orders lemonade without sugar for herself.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, squeezes through turnstile, 1949.
Dorothy Bradley (right), photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, 1949.
Dorothy Bradley (left), photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, eyes dress in a store window, 1949.
Embarrassed at shop because she wears a size 40, Dorothy tries on new dress. A friend encouragingly points out that dieting has reduced waistline by two sizes
In gym in New York sweat-suited Dorothy finds workout did not by itself remove pounds but did help avoid flabbiness as she lost weight dieting.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, works out in 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, works out in 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, measures her waist, 1949.
Dorothy Bradley (left), photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, meets with a nutritionist, 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, tries on a dress, 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, works out in 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, works out in 1949.
Dorothy Bradley, photographed for LIFE magazine article on obesity, works out in 1949.
Now down to 155 pounds, an attractive Dorothy dances at Navy Ball
LIFE Magazine, March 8, 1954
LIFE Magazine, March 8, 1954
Caption from LIFE. Bulging at beach in 1949, 197-pound Dorothy [Bradley] self-consciously leaves locker room for swim. S
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Martha Holmes—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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