What is it about?

Exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy metabolic status and in the prevention of age-related ailments. We show that weekly 10-minute exposure of mice to low energy pulsed electromagnetic fields is capable of recapitulating many of the accepted benefits of exercise including the promotion of fatigue-resistant muscle fibers, improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced fatty acid oxidation and associated changes in gut microbiome composition. These metabolic adaptations are the result of magnetically improved muscle mitochondrial function via a process we term Magnetic Mitohormesis.

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Why is it important?

A sedentary lifestyle leads to poor health and all-cause mortality. The majority of elderly are frail and unable to cope with the physical demands of exercise. This scenario often results in their avoidance of exercise, which further increases frailty and ultimately, their risk of mortality. Our magnetic therapeutic paradigm offers a safe and non-invasive manner to complement moderate levels of physical activity in order to better instil exercise associated metabolic adaptations in a non-weight-bearing manner. This study shows that adaptations to exercise, including associated shifts in the gut microbiome diversity indicative of improved metabolic efficiency, are enhanced when combined with our magnetic paradigm. In the future, a similar magnetic therapy may be used in conjunction with customized exercise routines for the elderly and critically ill as well as in the realm of physical rehabilitation.


Muscle is our largest tissue mass and predominant determinant of whole body metabolism and physical resilience. Paradoxically, muscle stimulation via exercise imposes a level of physical stress that is unattainable in the elderly, physically frail and the severely ill, short-circuiting this important curative capacity of muscle and worsening the clinical status of these conditions. The magnetic platform presented in this manuscript represents the culmination of a career-long search for a non-invasive and convenient manner to activate skeletal muscle without the physical or emotional stress of exercise for a myriad of medical and health applications.

Dr Yee Kit Tai
National University of Singapore

Muscle and mitochondrial function are synonymous states. Scaling up, muscle and whole-body health are inextricably linked statuses, establishing systemic metabolic balance. In this manuscript we showcase a non-invasive and simple manner to stimulate muscle mitochondrial function using brief weekly magnetic field exposure that systemically manifests as enhanced metabolic and physical performance with broad implications for human health and longevity. We have termed this process Magnetic Mitohormesis referring to the recognized capacity of mitochondria to establish systemic metabolic adaptations that in the case of our therapeutic platform can be instilled with brief magnetic field stimulation.

Associate Professor Alfredo Franco-Obregón
National University of Singapore

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Magnetic fields modulate metabolism and gut microbiome in correlation with Pgc‐1α expression: Follow‐up to an in vitro magnetic mitohormetic study, The FASEB Journal, July 2020, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1096/fj.201903005rr.
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