June 25, 2013
Exercise Reduces Fat Around Heart, Type 2 Diabetes
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Another in a long line of studies praises exercise as not only a way to reduce the risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes, but also a way to benefit those patients who have already been diagnosed. Exercise of any kind, especially when paired with a healthy diet, is known to reduce the amount of fat stored in the body.
This study specifically measures the amount of fat stored around the abdomen, heart and liver. When these organs are surrounded by large stores of fat, they can complicate diabetes and present further risks to the heart.
Hildo J. Lamb, MD, PhD, from the Department of Radiology at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands is lead author of this most recent study, which set out to determine if fat stored around these organs reacts to exercise in the same way as other fat in the body. Just as it’s been seen elsewhere and countless other studies, exercise reduces fat and makes for a healthier human being.
Dr. Lamb’s paper is published online in the journal Radiology.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. This disease is often associated with obesity and can lead to a worsening of conditions such as clogged arteries and heart failure. It’s long been observed exercise can keep Type 2 at bay and even rid a person of the disease. Dr. Lamb’s study specifically measures the effects of straight exercise on fat in the body and how it affects patients who have already been diagnosed with Type 2.
“Based on previous studies, we noticed that different fat deposits in the body show a differential response to dietary or medical intervention,” said Dr. Lamb. “Metabolic and other effects of exercise are hard to investigate, because usually an exercise program is accompanied by changes in lifestyle and diet.”
Gathering a group of 12 Type 2 patients, Dr. Lamb and colleagues set out to determine the role exercise can play without the help of diet or medication.
These 12 volunteers (average age 46) were scanned with an MRI before and after the six-month study, which put the volunteers through a moderate-intensity exercise regime. For three and a half to six hours every week, the Type 2 patients were asked to get up and exercise. Their program included two endurance sessions and two resistance training sessions and was capped off by a 12-day trekking expedition.
When the volunteers were scanned again following the six-month test, Dr. Lamb and team found the fat around the abdomen, heart and liver had been reduced. Having extra stores of fat in these areas has been linked to increased cardiovascular risk, says Dr. Lamb.
“In the present study we observed that the second layer of fat around the heart, the peracardial fat, behaved similarly in response to exercise training as intra-abdominal, or visceral fat,” Dr. Lamb said. The fat around the liver was also substantially reduced, which helps the body distribute lipids and protects the arteries and heart from adverse effects.
This research is more specific than other studies done in the past, but one main point found in each previous study remains; even without an adjustment to diet, exercise can help keep Type 2 at bay. A change in diet along with this exercise can go even farther to ensure a healthy body.
Earlier this month, George Washington University released a study that found short 15-minute walks are very beneficial to reducing blood sugar levels and decreasing the risk of Type 2 in pre-diabetes patients.