Age is associated with increases in body weight, body fat, abdominal fat, deterioration of muscles, and arthritis. However, everything in the body happens at the cellular level. Outward signs of aging that you may see, such as wrinkles and grey hair, are only symptoms of what is happening on a microscopic scale.
A study carried out by Raul A Martins, using the RX imola, outlined an experiment, investigating how we can affect our own inner-biological make-up, on a much deeper scale than muscle build-up, through exercise and activity:
“To investigate the training effect of sixteen weeks of moderate intensity, progressive aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health of old women and men. Sixty three sedentary individuals were randomly assigned to control or exercising groups. The training group was separated to aerobic or strength-based. Training took place 3 times a week. Subjects agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period. Exercising group attained after treatment significant differences on body weight, waist circumference, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship, high sensitivity C-reaction protein and 6 minute walk distance. The control group only had significant differences on waist circumference” wrote R.A. Martins and colleagues, university of Coimbra.”
As shown in the experiment, exercising does not only affect our muscle mass and body fat index. It does, in fact, affect us on a cellular level.
Before outward aging symptoms are expressed, your cells, your DNA, and everything that makes up you is reacting to your lifestyle and responding appropriately. A particularly lifestyle-sensitive part of your DNA associated with aging are telomeres.
Telomeres are caps at the ends of DNA strands, made up of a combination of DNA and protein. They protect the ends of the chromosome and keep them stable. Telomeres, however, are incredibly sensitive and have a tendency to become damaged and unravel, prompting a process called “telomere shortening”. Telomeres are associated with the changing nature of our bodies, and therefore, are classed as important aging biomarkers – with their length indicating lifespan. Each time our cells divide, our telomeres shorten. After many dozens of years of cell division, these biomarkers have reached a point where they can longer become any shorter. At this point, cell division discontinues and this is where aging will occur, as cells begin to die faster than they are created. Our body begins to break down. Effects such as hair falling out and skin sagging, are all symptoms of telomere damage or shortening. Telomere shortening has not only been associated with aging, but also age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
There is good news, Martins noted in his experiment that exercise appears to keep telomeres from unravelling, shortening and becoming damaged, and therefore, can be classed as a natural anti-aging activity.
Through examining white blood cells, scientists can monitor telomere shortening (and damaging) whilst monitoring exercise and lifestyle of subjects. Another group of scientists in Germany conducted a similar experiment, gathering women and men of different ages to examine their lifespans relative to exercising, they noted:
The sedentary older subjects had telomeres that were on average 40 percent shorter than in the sedentary young subjects, suggesting that the older subjects’ cells were, like them, aging. The runners, on the other hand, had remarkably youthful telomeres, a bit shorter than those in the young runners, but only by about 10 percent. In general, telomere loss was reduced by approximately 75 percent in the aging runners. Or, to put it more succinctly, exercise, Dr. Werner says, ‘‘at the molecular level has an anti-aging effect.’’
(Gretchen Reynolds, 2010)
So, to put a number on it, studies show, exercise can reduce the aging process by up to a whopping 75%.
As well as it’s anti-aging properties, there are a surplus of other benefits of exercising, such as increased release of endorphins and relieving of muscular pain. Currently, there’s a good deal of research being conducted into potential drug based approaches for telomere shortening, yet these drugs are still years away. So, for now, exercise and healthy eating is the only known way to stave off aging… As if we needed another healthy reason to get active!
Read more about the experiment conducted on the RX imola:
The All-new Clinical Chemistry Analyser from Randox’s The RX series
Year upon year, WHO (World Health Organisation) have set a date to raise awareness of various health issues from Food Safety, to Hypertension to Vector-Borne diseases. This year, WHO are setting their goals in raising awareness on Diabetes; those with family and friends affected and those diagnosed. The RX series take a closer look at a type of Diabetes we don’t often talk about to raise awareness for the #BeatDiabetes campaign by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Diabetes is a life-long condition, featuring in the top 10 causes of death globally, responsible for approximately 1,497,371 deaths worldwide and 6,088 in the UK alone yearly. As a major non-communicable disease, diabetes claims on average around 8% of total health budgets in developed countries.
As many know, diabetes can come in 2 common forms: Types I Diabetes; where the pancreas does not produce insulin and Type II Diabetes; where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin/the body’s cells do not react to insulin. Not very often, however, do we hear the term Gestational Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women, usually in their third trimester. The good news is, the condition usually disappears soon after the baby is born, but what are the risks, how serious is it really and what are the chances you may find yourself dealing with the condition?
Pregnancy puts extra demands on the body, as it demands higher level of nutrition, and energy. Gestational Diabetes (GDM) occurs when the body can’t produce enough extra insulin to meet these demands.
The condition is surprisingly common, with 15% of all pregnancies resulting in the mother suffering from GDM. Whilst it only occurs in pregnancy; it is estimated that over 50% of women who have had gestational diabetes will go on to develop type II diabetes within 5-10 years of delivery which is a startling statistic.
A study carried out at JSS Medical College aimed to investigate the biochemical parameters that could be used to diagnose GDM. Levels of serum creatinine, uric acid and the albumin were studied in GDM patients and unaffected pregnant women to consider any correlation between these biochemical markers and certain clinical parameters. The RX daytona, a clinical chemistry analyser from Randox’s RX series range was used to analyse the samples. The conclusion was that biochemical parameters such as serum creatinine, uric acid and albumin, can help in predicting the early onset and progression of GDM.
The study also stated that early diagnosis was paramount as it could help in the proper treatment of gestational diabetes and its associated complications for mother and baby, thus helping to improve the quality of life of the GDM patients and their offspring.
There are measures women can take before and during pregnancy to prevent the likelihood of Gestational Diabetes occurring. One study shows that increasing fibre intake to 10g per day reduces the risk by 26%. Also, women who exercise before pregnancy have a lower risk of gestational diabetes, the more intense the exercise, the lower the risk. However, this doesn’t have to mean extremely strenuous exercise, anything as simple as walking at a brisk pace, rather than at a leisurely pace will reduce your risks.
This year on World Health Day, we urge you to share your stories and give support for those affected by diabetes and use the hashtag #BeatDiabetes to get involved with the conversation.
Randox offers high quality tests for the diagnosis of diabetes and the monitoring of its complications.
To find out more about the RX series range of clinical chemistry analysers and how we tackle Diabetes with accurate and early diagnosis, take a look at our brochures below.
Questions? Speak to the RX team: theRXseries@Randox.com