Exercise Hormone Could Provide Novel Treatments

A hormone is released while exercising that not only helps the body shed fat, but also prevents it from forming.A hormone is released while exercising that not only helps the body shed fat, but also prevents it from forming.

If you are lacking in motivation to exercise, some research led by a University of Florida researcher may inspire you to jump-start your fitness regimen.

According to the new study, while exercising, a hormone is released that not only helps the body shed fat, but also prevents it from forming. A professor of cell biology and a team at Harvard Medical School discovered the hormone dubbed “irisin” in 2012. They isolated the natural hormone from muscle cells that trigger some of the health-promoting properties of exercise, which, they say, could be developed into novel treatments for diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

In the previous study, the Harvard-affiliated team also found that as irisin levels rise through exercise, the hormone switches on genes that convert white fat into brown fat - the “good” fat. Brown fat burns off more excess calories than exercise alone.

Dr. Li-Jun Yang, a professor of hematopathology in the Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine, directed the new research.

Yang and colleagues believe the research is the first of its kind to explore irisin’s effects on human fat tissue and fat cells.

Researchers said irisin hormone - which surges when the heart and other muscles are exerted - may also inhibit the formation of fatty tissue.

The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism, confirms previous conclusions that irisin may be a promising target to support people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Irisin works via a mechanism that boosts the activity of genes and a protein that are crucial to turning white fat cells into brown fat cells.

Yang and team conducted the research by collecting fat cells donated by 28 participants who had undergone breast reduction surgery. Scientists exposed the fat samples to irisin, and as a result, saw an almost five-fold increase in cells that contain the crucial fat burning UCP1 protein.

“We used human fat tissue cultures to prove that irisin has a positive effect by turning white fat into brown fat and that it increases the body’s fat-burning ability,” says Yang.

Among the analyzed samples, the team found that irisin suppresses fat cell formation by reducing the number of mature fat cells by 20-60%, when compared with the control group.

More than two-thirds of Amercian adults are considered to be overweight or obese. While there is no single approach to prevent or treat overweight and obesity, exercise in combination with behavioral treatment and diet can aid weight loss.

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