We all know how important protein is for physical performance and building muscle especially in combination with resistance and/or endurance-training regime. But what if there was a protein that could mimic the effects of exercise in the muscles without having to exercise… Well, while it may not be that simple, recent research from the University of Michigan suggests that sestrin, a protein that is naturally occurring in the body; may, in fact, elicit these effects.
A review of the study which was published on Nature.com explained that :
“sestrins, a family of evolutionarily conserved exercise-inducible proteins, are critical mediators of exercise benefits“.
But… the study was conducted on flies and mice to determine the effects of the protein on several physiological factors such as endurance, flight performance, strength, and even muscle hypertrophy.
So, researchers first established a protocol for measuring endurance between flies that produced sestrin and a genetically altered fly that did not. Well, the flies that produced sestrin, substantially improved endurance while the null flies did not after three weeks of exercise.
The next test was to determine whether Sestrin functions in muscle to mediate exercise. It was concluded that “muscle-specific Sestrin induction is both necessary and sufficient for mediating the endurance benefit of chronic exercise”. In other words, sestrin was shown to elicit the effects of exercise in muscles without actually exercising as overexpression of this protein mimicked the effects. And the flies without sestrin experienced none of these effects.
According to the review, Sestrin works via a few different pathways to create the beneficial effects of exercise which also include muscle maintenance, improved aerobic capacity, and even fat oxidation. But it was concluded that sestrin is a regulator of healthspan and not longevity in both humans and mice which is important to note about this molecule.
This is an interesting finding on this Sestrin which gives great insight into its potential effects on muscle metabolism and mobility. As a result, it could possibly be an effective therapeutic intervention for age-associated mobility decline and metabolic dysregulation.
Now, of course, this study is by no means conclusive on any potential effects for humans but it’s useful information for the future of performance research. Sestrin has been available for quite some time as a supplement, although, whether or not this form is effective is debatable. So… we’ll just have to be patient until more studies emerge.
You can also read the full review here if you’d like to analyze the review in more detail.