Can you change your estrogen metabolites by exercising?
What would be the benefits of changing your estrogen metabolites?
Certain estrogen metabolites are related to a higher risk for estrogen related diseases. Breast cancer is one of those diseases. If you could change the ratio between the harmless metabolites and the ones related to an increased risk for estrogen related problems you would be better off.
The reviewed research investigated if exercise could do that since exercise has shown to reduce the risk for breast cancer.(Smith AJ,et al. 2013).
The participants were healthy young women who were divided into either an exercise group doing 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 5 days a week or a sedentary control group. The study went on for approximately 16 weeks.
Estrogen’s and estrogen metabolites were measured,and the rates of the different metabolites were calculated. The change from the baseline measurements increased significantly in the exercise group for 2-OHE1/16α-OHE1 which is the ratio of the estrogen metabolites associated with a decreased risk for estrogen related diseases. This change was not seen in the control group.
The researchers concluded that this may be the mechanism by which increased physical activity is decreasing the risk for breast cancer.
Physical ability test rates the likelihood of dying.
Who knew that even at the age of 53 you can get an idea about your risk of dying without doing extensive laboratory testing. Put another way, it can give you an indication of how likely you are to achieve a long and healthy life.
The reviewed research tested 1355 men and 1411 women at age 53 and followed them for 13 years(Cooper R, et al. 2014). The three tests consisted of grip strength, chair rise speed and standing balance time. The chair rise speed was done by timing how long it took to rise from a sitting position to standing with straight back and legs, and then sit down again 10 complete times as fast as possible.
The results suggested that the participants that were in the lowest one-fifth when it came to performance were almost four times as likely to die during the follow up compared to the ones in the highest one-fifth. The participants that were not able to do any of the tests were more than eight times more likely to die than the best performers.
This shows how important it is to stay in good shape even at middle age. Keep in mind that these tests, even if they were testing physical ability, also reflected on the biochemistry of the body, since balance is affected by receptors and the health of the nervous system. The nervous system is again affected by free radicals related to the food we eat and our lifestyle.
Reduce your blood glucose with short breaks of physical activity.
Elevated blood glucose causes damage to tissue and can increase low grade inflammation which increases the risk for chronic diseases.
We have known for a long time that exercise helps to transfer the blood glucose into the cells, that way lowering the blood glucose.
As it turns out it does not take a lot of activity to do that. The reviewed research is interesting because it compared two approaches of activity during 9 hours of sitting(Peddie MC, et al. 2013).
The participants were 70 adults who were each given 3 meal replacement drinks during the 9 hours. On one occasion they walked for 30 minutes and were then sitting for 9 hours and on another occasion they were breaking up the sitting with walking for 1 minute and 40 seconds every 30 minutes.
The results showed that both blood glucose levels and insulin levels were reduced more when they walked for 1 minute and 40 seconds every 30 minutes as compared to continuous walking for 30 minutes.
In my experience, you don’t even have to spend that much time being active if you practice a certain type of activity.
I will be writing more about that in a future article.
A benefit of exercise you may not be aware of.
As we get older inflammation usually increases. You don’t necessarily have to get increased inflammation as you age, but that’s what’s been observed in a lot of people. You probably know that inflammation is a risk factor for most chronic diseases, it can also make you more uncomfortable because it can contribute to pain.
It would be great if you had a way to reduce inflammation without taking any medication. In fact there are ways you can do that, and instead of side effects you even get a lot of additional benefits.
Exercise is one of the things that can reduce inflammation. That is exactly what the reviewed study investigated, by looking at data from a lot of research on this specific topic(Woods JA, et al. 2012). Data on the participants activity level, as well as measurements of several inflammatory markers, were used.
As you may have guessed, exercise was found to reduce some of these inflammatory markers, especially highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).
One of the studies they looked at also investigated the effects of antioxidants on inflammation. They found that the participants who took antioxidants had reduced inflammation, even if they did not exercise(Colbert LH, et al. 2004).
The logical thing would be to both exercise and take antioxidants.
The most effective antioxidant the body makes is glutathione, but the problem is that it produces less of it as we get older, when we actually need more.
You can read more about this by clicking here.
High intensity exercise is best, but what kind?
I have written about high-intensity short-interval training several times, because more and more research is teaching us how to maximize our exercise benefits. Research has proven that it’s a very effective way of exercising. So how can you use this principle when exercising to get the best results?
The secret is revealed in the reviewed research.(Cochran AJ,et al. 2014). These researchers compared:
- High-intensity short interval training performed on a stationary bike, done either for 30 seconds with 4 minutes of rest in between intervals repeated 4 times.
- One set of continuous exercises that were matched for total energy output and required 4 minutes to complete as fast as possible.
Strangely enough, even though energy output was the same, the results were not!
After the first exercise session both protocols produced similar increases in markers of AMPK, p38 MAPK and PGC-1alpha mRNA expression. These are proteins related to mitochondrial energy production in muscles. These proteins were also measured after six weeks of exercising three times per week. Here are the surprising results:
The continuous exercise protocol did not produce the same increase in these markers after six weeks as the short interval protocol with rest in between sets did. It turns out that intermittent stimulus is important for maximizing muscle adaptation.
If you want maximum results from exercise it needs to be short, very intensive intervals. You need rest in between the intervals to recover.
When you exercise this way your actual exercise time will be very short, only two minutes per session.
Walk fast to get help with with weight loss.
Walking has been promoted as an easy way to lose weight and stay in shape, but is it really effective? That is exactly what the reviewed researched investigated.
The participants a total of 4511 adults aged 18-64 years were included in the study(Fan JX, et al. 2013). The body mass index (BMI) were measured and accelerometers were used to evaluate minutes per day of high intensity bouts of walking of either 10 minutes or more, or less than 10 minutes. This was compared with lower intensity walking of 10 minutes or more per day and lower intensity walking of less than 10 minutes per day.
It was found that both higher intensity short-duration or walking long-duration were related to reduced BMI or risk of overweight/obesity. Neither the short walks or the long walks of lower intensity were found to have a positive effect on BMI or risk of overweight/obesity.
The message is that even less than 10 minutes of walking per day can help you prevent weight gain if it is high intensity walking. This is another example showing that it is the intensity of the exercise you do that is important, not the time you spend doing it. The more intense you exercise, the less time you need to spend doing it.