Tuesday, February 10, 2009
As many of you know, Peter and I are PhD students in an exercise physiology lab at Queen's University. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a grad student in this area is performing interventions - we have volunteers come to our lab and perform certain types of diet or exercise programs, and examine the resulting changes in their body composition and metabolic risk. I am currently overseeing a project examining the effects of short-term exercise on hormone levels in sedentary, overweight and obese men aged 25-50. Specifically, we are examining how treadmill exercise affects adiponectin, a hormone which has been shown to be protective against both heart disease and diabetes. And this is your chance to get involved!
Adiponectin is a very interesting hormone in and of itself - it is produced exclusively by fat tissue, and yet the more fat tissue you have, the less adiponectin that is produced. And even though it is produced by fat tissue, adiponectin has numerous positive effects throughout the body. Adiponectin has been shown to increase fat oxidation and reduce glucose production in the liver, while also increasing fat oxidation and glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. These combined effects result in reduced fat content in the liver and muscle, as well as reduced blood sugar and increased insulin sensitivity - all of which reduce your risk for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
At present, it is unclear if aerobic exercise has any influence on plasma adiponectin levels. Some small studies suggest that it may have an effect, but these studies have typically been performed in athletes, who already have quite high levels of adiponectin (and low risk of chronic disease). We are examining whether 3 sessions of treadmill exercise are able to increase adiponectin levels in overweight and obese men, which is the population most likely to benefit from an increase in adiponectin levels.
We are nearing the end of our study, and are making a final push to recruit an additional 10-15 participants. All participants receive detailed information on their fitness and metabolic risk factors, as well as financial remuneration. Overseeing this study has been a lot of fun for me personally (and hopefully for our participants as well!), and it has been great to see how many of our volunteers have used the study as a springboard to healthy lifestyle changes. If this sounds like it might be of interest to you or someone you know, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, for more information feel free to check our Facebook page, which can be found by searching for "Queen's Exercise Study".
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