Sorry. There is No Magic Pill To Replace Exercise.

Exploring Intensity

Sorry. There is No Magic Pill To Replace Exercise.

To the chagrin of many researchers and dieters, the miracles of “exercise hormone” irisin may be as mythical as the Greek goddess it was named after. Discovered in 2012, and hailed as a key to help reengineer the bodies of those suffering from diabetes and obesity, it seems that the original flawed study may be to blame for the false hope.

So what happened? We’ll try to break this down as best as we can: Irisin was first discovered at Harvard Medical School a few years back, a hormone that seemed to make white fat cells (which store the energy in our bodies, and make us chubby) act like brown fat cells (which burn energy, and make us happy). And this hormone increased in the blood after weeks of endurance workouts.

This was huge news, as isolating a hormone that seems to be doing the work that comes from exercise means that possibly we could just end up cutting out the gym and pumping ourselves full of irisin. But it now seems like all of this was just a beautiful pipe dream.

Research attempting to replicate the original’s findings has pretty much shown that the hormone is not going to be a fat-burning marvel, at least not in humans (it may still help out obese mice.) Whether it was some miscalculations, some faulty equipment or an ill-conceived race for a new diet pill, for now it’s time to forget about irisin and focus on interval training.