Effects of weight-control on Typ 2 Diabetes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Type 2 is a common and widespread disease and it is clearly related to overweight and obesity. The clinical manifestation of diabetes is also related to age. While only 2-3% of people under the age of 50 are afflicted, the prevalence of diabetes is rising continually with the progress of age. At an age of over 70 years, almost 20% are afflicted. So if we speak of a typical Person with diabetes, we think of an elderly person with long-time overweight. But in the last decades also younger people showed an increasing prevalence of diabetes. This may be due to an incline of obesity in our society and due to altered eating habits and less activity today.

While patients with diabetes often suffer under symptoms like chronic fatigue, polyuria and an increase of their thirst, diabetes itself can lead to other secondary illnesses in the long run. It weakens the immune-systems and makes the afflicted person more susceptible for systemic and local infections. It reduces the body’s capacity of healing, so that often time’s chronic wounds are prevalent. Furthermore Diabetes multiplies the risk of developing severe illnesses like stroke, heart-attack, kidney-failure and blindness.

This makes clear how essential it is, to treat the disease well and prevent further damage to the body. While older people often are treated with pills and if necessary also with insulin, especially younger people should be encouraged to change their lifestyle which can improve and in some cases even reverse their diabetes.

A recent study in England addressed the question, to what extend the loosing of weight can influence the diabetes. For this study they recruited 149 people at an age between 20 and 65 and a Body-Mass-Index between 27 and 45 that were diagnosed with non – Insulin – dependent Diabetes in the last 6 years. They gave them a special Formula-low-calorie-Diet which helped them to loose weight. Afterwards they got support in not gaining weight again. The participants of the study got no Diabetes-Medication at all. The results are astonishing: After 1 year 7% of 89 Persons that lost 0-5 kg decreased their diabetes, but already 34% of 56 Persons that had lost 5-10 kg completely reversed their diabetes! 28 people that lost 10-15 kg, 57% of them reversed their diabetes and with the 36 people that lost over 15 kg even 86% of them diabetes was completely reversed. The interesting thing was, that these effects were the same no matter how high the starting-level of obesity was. For example a person that lost from 130 to 115 kg had the same positive effects like a person that lost from 110 to 95 kg.

Altogether almost half of the participants of the study did not only reverse their diabetes, they also felt much better and gained more quality in life.  These results are really encouraging and they shall activate us to motivate Patients in their efforts to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. We should support them in losing weight which by itself can lead to an improvement or even a reverse of diabetes. It will make them feel much better and prevent the emergency of secondary diseases. All together it is the healthiest, cheapest and most natural medication we can offer. Patients should be taught that it is worth it to take responsibility for your life and become active.

 

Source: Lean MEJ, et al. Durability of a primary care-led weight-management intervention for remission of type 2 diabetes: 2-year results of the DiRECT open-label, cluster-randomised trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2019;7:344–55.

 

Endurance-training but not resistance-training is keeping our cells young

As the days are getting longer and warmer, more and more people feel attracted to go out and enjoy nature. You can also see more people out there bicycling or jogging and it seems that together with nature our drive to sports is awakening. The positive effects of sport are widely known. Activity is strengthening our cardiovascular system and it is able to prevent us from many kinds of various diseases. People who are doing sport are healthier, more balanced and live longer than people who are not active.

Just recently I was reading an article about the effects of sport on our cells that was very interesting to me. Professor Laufs from the University of Leipzig in Germany was examining the effects of different types of sport on the cells of our body and he found out, that it makes a great difference, what kind of sport we are doing! If you want to do sport, you have principally two choices: Either you can do endurance-training like swimming, running or cycling, or you can do resistance-training, and strengthen your muscles. You would typically do this with dumbbells or other fitness-devices in a gym. It was astonishing to me, that Professor Laufs found out, that endurance-training had a much greater benefit on the health of our cells, than resistance-training!  

Professor Laufs and his team were examining 266 inactive young people and putting them basically into 3 different groups. The first group was starting with endurance-training (running) 3 times a week, the second group was doing resistance-training (pumping iron) 3 times a week and the third group was continuing their inactive lifestyle from before. After six months blood-examinations were taken from the participants and their Leukocytes were examined for length of telomeres in the cell nucleus. Now Professor Laufs found out, that the length of telomeres in the “running-group” was increased, while resistance-training did not show these effects! But what does this mean?

The DNA contains our genetic information in the cell nucleus. It is packed in 46 Chromosomes. Now each Chromosome is “protected and sealed” by a special cap on each end, which is called “telomere”. The problem is, that this cap is shortening with each replication of the cell and that this shortening of telomeres is viewed to be an important mechanism of cellular aging. But there is one enzyme in our body, called “Telomerase” that can reverse this shortening of Telomeres. Now Professor Laufs found out, that the length of Telomeres and the activity of Telomerase was increased in the “running-group” compared to the “inactivity-group”, but that resistance-training (pumping) did not show the same effects! That means, that endurance-training like running, cycling or swimming has an outstanding potential of keeping our cells young!

To my knowledge this was for the first time, that it could have been scientifically shown, that sport can keep our cells young on a molecular level! The reason for the increased activity of telomerase in the running-group may be due to an increased level of nitric-oxide in the blood-vessels during endurance-training, which is acting like a hormone and providing different cellular changes. You can say, that we are made for moving outside and that by doing so, we can do our part for “healthy aging”. It was very interesting to me also, that sport is not all the same, but that endurance-training seems to be more healthie for our body than resistance-training! Resistance-training can be an addition or complement to endurance-training, but it can never replace it.  Another advantage of endurance-training is, that you can easily do it outside and get an additional extra-portion of fresh air and sunlight! And you can practice it in a group together with other people! So why don’t use the warmer and brighter days of springtime to go out and do some exercise? Your cells will love it!    

Source: “Endurance but not resistance training has anti-aging effects”, European Society of Cardiology, 27.11.2018 (ESC Press Office)

Link: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/endurance-but-not-resistance-training-has-anti-aging-effects