People who exercise have different proteins that move through their bloodstream compared to people who do not, according to a new interesting study of the internal landscape of active and independent people.
The proteins involved affect many different aspects of our bodies, from immune response and blood sugar levels to wound healing, so the new results may bring us closer to understanding how exercise can improve our health at a deep molecular level.
Now, we can all agree, I hope, that physical activity is useful to us. It increases fitness, reduces disease risk, prolongs life, improves heart health, and makes us stronger and more beautiful in many other ways.
How Exercise May Make Us Healthier
But scientists have little knowledge of how successful the process is in achieving this. They can see or measure most of the desired outcomes of the activity. But many complex physiological steps are still vague.
In the last few years, however, there has been increasing scientific interest in going into the various “omics” of exercise. In general terms, the term omics refers to the identification and study of molecules related to different biological processes and how they work together. Genomics, for example, look at molecules related to gene processes. metabolomics in those involved in our metabolisms, and so on.
But one of the most compelling areas, “comics,” is protein, because it focuses on proteins, which are expressed by genes and then jump to innumerable other physiological processes throughout our bodies.
Proteins are at the heart of our busy internal biology.
But almost nothing is known about the protein of people who exercise and whether they may differ from those who rarely move and what it may mean.
So, for the new study, published in the journal Applied Physiology in November, researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder, began looking at the proteins of different people.
They collected 31 healthy young men and women, about half of whom were regular athletes, while the rest did not. They also recruited an additional group of 16 healthy middle-aged and elderly men, half of whom were physically active and half were stable.
They have measured each person’s aerobic fitness and signs of their health, including blood pressure and insulin control. They then drew blood and sent it to analyze the proteins.
In this study, the analysis investigated the presence or absence of about 1,100 known proteins as well as complex and exciting physiological indicators that show that some proteins have been expressed or not activated. At about the same time as each other or otherwise were interconnected.
The analysis found that, in total, about 800 of the proteins found in the blood-donor markers were found to be interrelated.
Analysts collect these proteins together based on how they are related. In the end, they concluded with 10 different “units” of proteins that they concluded were likely to work side by side to perform different physiological tasks.
Each unit contains anywhere from 14 to more than 500 proteins-related, although the amounts of each protein in a module can vary from person to person.
Interestingly, the 800 proteins included many already known to be involved in health-related processes, such as initiating or slowing inflammation and other immune system responses.
Finally, analysts checked to see whether the ten units were different in people who were active.
And much did. In five of these models, in fact, the levels of some proteins varied, and sometimes significantly, if someone practiced a comparison if it was stable. Many differences were evident in both younger participants and middle-aged people.
Perhaps more importantly, the researchers also found a reciprocal relationship between the composition of people’s units and their health. People who exercised at different levels of protein also had desirable blood pressure and insulin responses, and the reverse was true for inactive volunteers.
These data indicate that changes in protein levels are likely to be an integral part of the complex process in which training becomes healthy.
But many of the overlapping steps remain elusive, says Douglas Sills, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who supervised the study.
It is still not clear, for example, what molecular messages within the body are producing any particular proteins after exercise, he says, or exactly how these proteins begin in biological chain reactions that lead to other changes.
This study also looked only at people who were exercising for some time. You can not tell us whether different proteins will be found in the sedentary people exercising, or if any or all of these proteins are different after intense exercise