And marathon runners generate far more than those who do moderate exercise, study shows
THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new study provides tantalizing clues about how exercise helps ward off heart disease and other ills: Fit people have more fat-burning molecules in their blood than less fit people after exercise.
And the very fittest are even more efficient, on a biochemical level, at generating fat-burning molecules that break down and burn up fats and sugars, the study reports.
A better understanding of these fat-burning molecules, called metabolites, may not only boost athletic performance, but help prevent or treat chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease by correcting metabolite deficiencies, the researchers said.
The study, apparently the first of its kind, takes a look at how regular exercise -- that is, fitness -- alters metabolism right down to the level of chemical changes in the blood.
"Every metabolic activity in the body results in the product of [fat-burning] metabolites," said senior study author Dr. Robert Gerszten, director of clinical and translational research at Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center. "A blood sample contains hundreds of these metabolites and can provide a snapshot of any individual's health status."
Previous studies had investigated changes in metabolites generated by exercise, but researchers were limited to viewing a few molecules at a time in hospital laboratories.
But in the new study, a technique developed by the MGH Heart Center in collaboration with MIT and Harvard allowed researchers to see the full spectrum of the fat-burning molecules in action. They used mass spectrometry -- which can analyze blood samples in minute detail -- to develop a "chemical snapshot" of the metabolic effects of exercise.
To trace the fat-burning molecules, the researchers took blood samples from healthy participants bef
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