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LONDON: Some of you may have made a New Year's resolution to hit the gym to shed that unwanted belly fat, and now researchers have revealed how exercise produces this desired effect.

A signalling molecule called interleukin-6 plays a critical role in this process, according to the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.

A 12-week intervention consisting of bicycle exercise decreased visceral abdominal fat in obese adults, said researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

This effect was abolished in participants who were also treated with tocilizumab, a drug that blocks interleukin-6 signalling and is currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

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Moreover, tocilizumab treatment increased cholesterol levels regardless of physical activity.

"The take home for the general audience is 'do exercise,'" said Anne-Sophie Wedell-Neergaard of the University of Copenhagen.

"We all know that exercise promotes better health, and now we also know that regular exercise training reduces abdominal fat mass and thereby potentially also the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases," said Wedell-Neergaard.

Abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of not only cardio-metabolic disease, but also cancer, dementia, and all-cause mortality, researchers said.

Physical activity reduces visceral fat tissue, which surrounds internal organs in the abdominal cavity, but the underlying mechanisms have not been clear, they said.

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Some researchers have proposed that a "fight-or-flight" hormone called epinephrine mediates this effect.

However, researchers suspected that interleukin-6 could also play an important role because it regulates energy metabolism, stimulates the breakdown of fats in healthy people, and is released from skeletal muscle during exercise.

The researchers carried out a 12-week, single-centre trial in which they randomly assigned abdominally obese adults to four groups.

A total of 53 participants received intravenous infusions of either tocilizumab or saline as a placebo every four weeks, combined with no exercise or a bicycle routine consisting of several 45-minute sessions each week.

Gaining Weight During Winter? Include These Foods To Stay Healthy

Secret To Stay In Shape

19 Dec, 2017

For some of us, this is the season to put on winter weight as it becomes difficult to keep up the pace of daily exercise due to cold weather. Fried snacks add to the damage. While we should make all efforts to stick to a fitness regimen, snacking on certain fruits can keep away those unwanted kilos and keep the immune system strong too. Here are the picks by Ayush Rekha:

Grapefruit

1 Jun, 2017

It is low in calorie and comes packed with antioxidants too

Tomato

1 Sep, 2017

One glass of tomato juice offers 24% of vitamin A and 34% of vitamin C that our body needs each day. Both of them contribute to immune system health.

Orange

1 Dec, 2017

Orange is a great source of vitamin C. It helps your body fight against germs and gives you potassium, minerals, folate and fibre.

Pomegranate

19 Dec, 2017

It strengthens your immune system and protects you from bacteria that cause cold and cough.

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to assess visceral fat tissue mass at the beginning and end of the study.

In the placebo groups, exercise reduced visceral fat tissue mass by an average of 225 grammes, or 8 per cent, compared with no exercise.

However, tocilizumab treatment eliminated this effect.

In the exercise groups, tocilizumab also increased visceral fat tissue mass by about 278 grammes compared with placebo.

In addition, tocilizumab increased total cholesterol and "bad" low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol compared with placebo, in both the exercise and no-exercise groups.

The Ultimate Healthy-Eating Guide: Snacks That Will Help You Stay In Shape

Your Mondays To Fridays Are Sorted!

29 Jul, 2017

Diet food contains fewer calories, and serves as a healthier alternative to conventional snacks such as potato chips, burgers and other fast food. Experts at salebhai.com have listed some of the healthy diet snacks and food that could be consumed on different days of the week.

No More Monday Blues

29 Jul, 2017

Diet beaten rice (chivda) is a mixed snack popular across India and often served with hot beverages. It is made of ingredients such as flattened rice, dried peas, raisins, and so on. Available in different combinations,it is a healthy treat as most of the ingredients are either dried or baked, and contain little to no oil or fat.

Tasty Tuesdays

29 Jul, 2017

While fried potato chips top the list of unhealthy foods in the world, its diet version is the opposite, without compromising on taste. Diet potato chips are mostly baked and use little to no oil, and make for a yummy snack between meals.

Wednesday Wellness

29 Jul, 2017

Beaten rice (chivda) is the main ingredient in poha. When lightly roasted, it can be mixed with various spices and consumed as a healthy snack all through the day.

Thursdays Just Got Yummier

29 Jul, 2017

A container of masala chickpeas packs several vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and protein, keeping one fuller for longer.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that interleukin-6 has a physiological role in regulating visceral fat mass in humans," Wedell-Neergaard said.

Interleukin-6 can have seemingly opposite effects on inflammation, depending on the context.

For example, chronic low-grade elevations of interleukin-6 are seen in patients with severe obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

"The signalling pathways in immune cells versus muscle cells differ substantially, resulting in pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory actions, so interleukin-6 may act differently in healthy and diseased people," Wedell-Neergaard said.

Right Nutrition, Mindful Eating: Key To Healthier, Happier You

Health Is The Key To Happiness

13 Oct, 2018

By IANS The road to a happier you is right nutrition and mindful eating as well as staying away from too much of caffeine and sugar, suggests Rueben Ghosh, Co-Founder and Culinary Director at Yumlane and Kashmiri Barkakati, food expert at Momspresso. Here's how to do it right.

Legumes

13 Oct, 2018

Consuming legumes will keep the blood sugar stable throughout the day, fostering happier mood, a key nutrient in creating a healthier gut.

Wraps

13 Oct, 2018

Although a Western concept, wraps have surely found its popularity in India in the form of Frankie and rolled food items. The Kathi rolls are one example amongst the many variants and experiments with the delicacy in India. Consisting of various ingredients that could be included with the flatbread, chapatti or paratha like paneer, onions, green peas, ginger, garlic, mayonnaise or even mutton, a quick bite of this delicacy will appetize one's stomach and effectively boost one's mind into focusing on their work later.

Leafy Greens

13 Oct, 2018

Leafy greens like spinach and Kale are extremely important in keeping brain functioning at its best with its Vitamin B. It produces Serotonin, a mood-enhancing chemical that helps lift our moods and keep depression at bay.

Whole Grains

13 Oct, 2018

Whole grains are a great source of vitamin B, which are key nutrients to a good mood. Studies have proven that B6 deficiencies lead to stress, depression and irritability. Pack whole grains into your diet. Eliminating carbohydrate completely may not be a good idea.

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