Exercise Vs. Inflammation. Medication-Grade Results Thanks To Muscle:
In every age where society tries to move forward, there is usually a conflict.
It happens between what we think we “know” now, what we’re learning, and how much of the “old” is considered invalid.
We’ve done multiple posts here on HT about how ancient man wasn’t so stupid after all,
Including one about a medieval recipe that kills modern super-bugs.
Even further back in history than that or OG medicinal-foodie Hippocrates, society has worshiped people who were fit & lean.
But why? What is it that we intuited since the dawn of time that wasn’t just tied to brute strength? Maybe it was something more.
Researchers from Duke University think they might have an answer…
The Short Answer:
- Sometimes humanity intuits things over time without realizing it.
- Wisdom about health that’s older than Hippocrates may still be valid today.
- Men have always been lionized for being muscular, perhaps for more than obvious reasons.
- Even Jesus had great abs! And he wasn’t even Michelangelo’s David.
- Duke has a lab where they can do infinite experiments on lab-engineered human muscle in test dishes.
- They used it to test what inflammation does to it.
- Spoiler: it makes it smaller, weaker, and less functional.
- Other test muscle was exposed to the same insult, but exercised at the same time.
- The exercise caused biochemical reactions that totally blocked the action of the inflammatory agent.
- It also protected the muscle from damage.
- This set of reactions was so powerful, they blocked the exact same pathway as prescription medications targeted at rheumatoid arthritis.
- The muscle also blocked that pathway just as well.
- So basically: Exercise = lower inflammation & probably longer life. Boom.
- Muscle is also full of an amino called Carnosine.
- This amino may protect your body against lots of other aging-related damage.
Read on to find out the details…
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So whether it’s Michelangelo’s David, depictions of Jesus looking fairly crossfit, or ancient Greek statues,
Man has been idealized for a long time if he’s noticeably muscular.
Fun fact, the ancients were doing all of that without the help of steroids!
And in an interesting turn of events, a recent piece of work came out stating that people actually lived longer if they did -both- cardio and weights!
So it would seem we’ve been guessing at something more than we can see, more than just strength, more than just using energy and metabolism in helpful ways, for quite a long time.
But even that recent piece and it’s frankly ASTOUNDING numbers on early-mortality still only tell us The What, but not The How.
Duke’s team may have just begun that process.
Though the study doesn’t start with a ton of subjects, it does start with Duke’s engineered muscle lab.
They can basically have an infinite number of subjects and studies done on human muscle to see how it responds to different conditions.
One of the most serious conditions we all face with the less than healthy modern Western Diet and our love of Ultra-Processed Foods,
So to try to see what’s going on and maybe theorize some fixes, the lab tested a substance called I.G. that occurs in the body a lot where inflammation is present; especially in muscle.
After 7 days of exposing the engineered muscle to high levels of I.G. to mimic the inflammation some people may get,
Duke’s team found that the tissue was damaged and wasting away.
Well, get ready to scream “CROSSFIT!” from the rafters again,
Because in a second test, they exposed muscle to the inflammatory stuff once more,
But then applied electrodes to simulate exercise.
Then something magical happened. The muscle did not get smaller, weaker, or waste-away as before.
The one thing they changed, exercise, completely blocked the action of the inflammatory compounds and protected the muscle against damage!
But wait, it gets weirder.
All of this starts with newly-theorized sets of chain-reactions called “pathways”.
Because if the old adage of, “In Math 1+1=2. In Biology 1+1=5.” didn’t make you respect university researchers,
These sets of complex interactions sure will.
And they’re so complicated, science really hasn’t figured out very many of them.
However, one of the ones they do know about is one related to rheumatoid arthritis.
So much so, there are two very specific drugs made to exploit that pathway and stop that disease.
And the simulated exercise put on the muscle tissue in the Duke experiments?
-Blocked exactly the same pathway as prescription medication, baby.
So you are basically your own little lab-grade pharmaceutical factory as long as you get your exercise.
In related one-man pharmaceutical news, the story gets even better for muscle.
Because a Harvard team lead by Qi Sun also discovered that dieting should only really be used for people who are overweight or obese.
In that work, they found that people who were lean and insisted on losing weight had a strikingly higher incidence of Type-2 diabetes out of nowhere!
This may be due to the fact that muscle being awesome in yet another way carries a special amino called Carnosine.
It’s also referred to as a “sacrificial peptide”.
And one of its main actions is to stop an aging process called “Glycation“.
This happens when blood-sugar goes too high and damages the body in processes that include cross-linking proteins or body-fats.
So although there is no reference to that specifically in the Harvard study,
Anyone who’s gotten really lean or lost a lot of weight can tell you is that,
Unless you’re religious about getting exactly the right amount of protein every day,
And also doing full-body weight-bearing exercise just as religiously,
You are -going- to lose muscle mass.
So it is possible that going below a certain “minimum carnosine threshold” for your specific body-size, chemistry, metabolism, & genetics,
Could play a part in that weird occurrence of surprise Type-2 Diabetes in people who are otherwise super-fit?
Anyway, that study along with Duke’s work just puts another exclamation point on some of the ancient, more intuitive reasons that we all seem to idolize men who are fairly yoked-out.
So in addition to the work showing that weights plus cardio helps people live longer, we now know one or two of the exact reasons why this might be the case!
CROSS-FIIIIIIT!!!! ::extended Chewbacca noises, with Ricola-grade reverb::
• Source: Duke
• Source Studies:
• SciAdv. – Exercise mimetics and JAK inhibition attenuate IFN-γ–induced wasting in engineered human skeletal muscle
• PLOSMed. – Weight loss strategies, weight change, and type 2 diabetes in US health professionals: A cohort study