Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body and mind. There’s an extensive body of scientific research documenting the effects of physical activity on people’s mental and physical health, supplemented by a slew of anecdotal evidence that comes in support of these claims.
Regular exercise has been found to reduce the risk of many common health problems, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety, arthritis, and certain types of cancers. It can also improve mood, boost energy levels, promote better sleep, and prevent excess weight gain.
While these health benefits are irrefutable, the exact mechanisms at play are not entirely understood. Scientists have yet to uncover all the processes that occur in the body when people exercise and determine the exact link between physical activity and metabolic health. There are also many unanswered questions related to the use of supplements to enhance exercise and athletic performance, leading to an increased interest in peptides for research purposes.
However, a series of studies published in recent years are now providing further insights into the impact of exercise on metabolism, adding new pieces to the puzzle.
Metabolic disorders – a silent pandemic on the rise
Metabolic risk factors like raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids, and obesity are all linked to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) which continue to be the leading cause of mortality globally, claiming over 17 million lives each year.
In a 2018 study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers discovered that only 12% of Americans met the basic guidelines for optimal metabolic health and chances are the number has decreased ever since.
The silent pandemic of metabolic diseases and associated complications has become a major concern in recent decades. This has prompted scientists and health professionals to look for solutions that can curb this crisis, while also leading to a push to address these issues through public health measures.
Research in the field has increased considerably, with a special focus on the role of physical activity in combating common risk factors. There’s also been an upsurge in related areas of study like exploring the potential therapeutic effects of peptides for weight management and maximizing training results.
What is metabolic health and how can exercise help?
The metabolism consists of a series of chemical reactions and processes that convert different substances like fats and carbs into energy and provide the body with the necessary fuel to function optimally. Therefore, metabolic health can be understood as the body’s capacity to produce and process energy.
Since the metabolism impacts all cellular functions in an organism, it plays a key role in immune system functioning, exercise endurance, mood, memory, sexual health, fertility, and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
While the medical community doesn’t provide a standard definition for metabolic health, from a clinical perspective, it can be determined by assessing the levels of five important markers: triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and waist circumference.
When someone has three of the five markers outside the normal range, they get diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, meaning they are predisposed to coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other serious health issues. Fortunately, engaging in moderate physical activity regularly can help keep these markers in check, improving metabolic health considerably.
Triglycerides are a type of fat known as lipid that circulates in the blood and gets stored in adipose tissue. When triglycerides rise above a certain level, the risk of insulin resistance and CVD also increases. Studies reveal that daily physical activity can help lower triglyceride levels and thus reduce the risk of associated health issues.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is also known as “good cholesterol” because it reduces excess cholesterol in the body by carrying it back to the liver. Therefore, low levels of HDL can lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise not only increases the amount of HDL in the blood but also improves its efficiency.
Waist circumference is a measurement used to estimate abdominal obesity. A larger WC is correlated with visceral (abdominal) adiposity, which means the body is storing the type of fat that builds up around the organs and is related to high blood fat levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. People with elevated waist circumference are also more likely to develop certain types of cancer and Alzheimer’s. In this case, exercising can help with weight loss, thus decreasing waist circumference and limiting the dangers of excess visceral fat.
Blood pressure refers to the amount of force exerted against artery walls as the blood travels through them. Having blood pressure higher than normal consistently (140/90 mmHg or higher) often results in a diagnosis of hypertension, which links to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and death. Physical activity is an effective way to control high blood pressure and ward off its negative effects. Protein and peptide supplementation can provide additional benefits, although the research is not entirely clear on this one either.
Blood sugar measures the glucose levels in the blood. High blood glucose can cause cells to stop responding to the insulin produced by the pancreas and that can result in insulin resistance and diabetes. Exercise is known to reduce blood glucose considerably and increase insulin sensitivity. Training in combination with a healthy lifestyle and supplementation with peptides and other substances seems to provide the best results, enhancing the efficiency of workouts and the metabolic benefits they offer.
In a more recent study published in Cell Metabolism, researchers dived deeper into the science of exercise and metabolic health, identifying the muscle-secreted protein FN1 as a mediator of exercise-induced hepatic autophagy and systemic insulin sensitization through the hepatic receptor α5β1 integrin.
What happens to the human body when we exercise? This question has led scientists toward deeper research into the role of peptides in health-promoting functions. It appears there’s a close connection between the positive effects of exercise and peptides due to the functions they play in inducing physiological changes.
Peptides are short chains of two or more amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins. Peptides are found naturally in all living organisms but can also be sourced from certain foods and supplements. These molecules are involved in a variety of vital processes, from hormonal regulation to cell signaling and immune response.
So far, studies suggest that peptides contribute to collagen production, muscle growth and repair, weight loss management, reducing inflammation and healing, and improving cognitive function. This is why they are considered the unsung heroes of the molecular world. Given their unique properties and yet-to-be-unraveled potential, peptides have become a popular research subject within the field of health and wellness.
With the synthesis and application of peptides constantly expanding and companies like Paradigm Peptides ensuring the availability of high-quality peptides for different areas of study, scientists will continue to explore their role in metabolism and exercise-induced physiological adaptations.
In conclusion, the multifaceted benefits of regular physical activity extend beyond mere physical fitness — they encompass a holistic improvement in overall health and well-being. Exercise not only combats prevalent health issues but also enhances mental health, cognitive function, and general quality of life. The emerging evidence linking exercise with improved metabolic markers like triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and waist circumference further underscores its indispensable role in maintaining optimal health.
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