Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Do Exercise, High Metabolism Lead to Early Death?

Previous research suggests exercise can lead to cell damage, but recent findings show this does not necessarily lead to an early grave.

It sounds crazy, but research has shown a link between seemingly healthy things, like exercise and a high metabolism, and an early death.

Here's how that works. When you exercise, or your body metabolizes food, oxygen molecules (O2) can split into single oxygen atoms (O), otherwise known as free radicals. By itself, a single oxygen atom is not a threat, However, should it join up with hydrogen atoms, something called a reactive oxygen species (ROS) will form.
As explained by Wikipedia, ROS can damage proteins in your body. Damaged proteins lead to decreased cell function. Decreased cell function leads to decreased organ function, and eventually the complete organism ceases to function.

Because of free radical theory, you might expect active organisms die sooner than inactive organisms. But that's not necessarily the case. According to a Dutch study presented at this year's American Physiological Society conference, it's probable that "antioxidants help prolong life by limiting the damage that oxidative stress can cause to cells,"
reports ScienceDaily.

The study tracked three groups of mice. Two were active (runners) and one was inactive. One of the active groups were caged with running wheels (so they could exercise), but the other was not. As previous research predicated, the active groups had shorter life expectancies. However, the group caged with running wheels (the ones that exercised) lived longer. One possibility is that, "tissues in other areas of the body generated additional antioxidants to help cope with the increased oxidative stress brought on with increased activity and metabolic rate," one researcher explained.

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Pound360 Archive

About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.