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Weight Loss Molecule Behind Exercise Benefits Revealed

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Why is Exercise Beneficial to the Body?

We have repeatedly heard ever since we were small that exercise is good for us. But do we know what makes this possible?

Now, a new study published in the January issue of Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism talk about the discovery of a molecule being produced during exercise that probably contributes to the benefits of exercise on the body's metabolism.

Weight Loss Molecule

According to previous reports, exercise has various benefits such as losing and maintaining weight, lowering the risk for heart disease, and lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes. It further makes us avoid having metabolic syndrome while it lowers our risk for cancers. Other benefits include strengthening bones and muscles, boosting of immune resistance and the improvement of mood and well-being.

In the past it was unclear why these benefits are brought about by exercise. However, a recent study has attributed these benefits to the expression of a weight loss molecule.

Exercise Creates Signals in The Body

According to these researchers there are signals generated by the muscles of the body and by the other organs during exercise. These signals are released into the blood and affect other tissues such as fat cells and the liver. In addition, a protein called PGC-1 alpha has been discovered to regulate metabolic genes in the muscle. This protein also contributes to the response of the muscles to exercise. Further experiments conducted in mice led the researchers to identify metabolites secreted from the cells while PGC-1 alpha acts on the muscle cells. They identified a metabolite known as beta-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA) which increased the expression of genes in fat cells, further leading to burning of calories. Thus the metabolite in a way helped with decreasing weight gain and in balancing blood sugar levels in mice.

Increase in BAIBA During Exercise

The researchers further analyzed the results of human exercise studies and data from participants in the Framingham Heart Study. The results revealed that BAIBA levels rise during exercise and its increased expression can lower metabolic risk factors. An increase in BAIBA levels can decrease fasting blood sugar levels, insulin, triglycerides and total cholesterol. The increase in this metabolite was also associated with decreased body mass index.

We know that an increased body mass index or BMI, as in the case of being overweight or obese,  can predispose one to have illnesses such as hypertension, abnormal cholesterol levels, cancers, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and early death.

Thus we are glad to discover how exercise, through the expression of BAIBA could protect is from metabolic illnesses. The researchers also remarked that manipulating BAIBA or the enzymes that generate it may have therapeutic potential later on to treat obesity.

But how do you know if you have enough exercise or not? You need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every week to enjoy health benefits. To experience major health benefits, you should do at least about two hours of moderate physical activity or more than an hour of vigorous physical activity each week or a combination of both.

In performing aerobic exercise, you should do each set of exercises at least 10 minutes at a time. You should also include moderate to vigorous muscle-strengthening activities in two or more days each week. These activities should work on all major muscle groups such as legs, chest, hips, back, shoulders, arms and abdomen. Examples of these activities include working with resistance bands, weight-lifting,  sit ups, push ups, gardening and yoga.

Now that you know how exercise makes us burn fat and keep it off, maybe you can start exercising now to experience maximum benefits. You can also browse other articles on this site about how to increase your physical activity.