(from Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, November 2011)

A new study reports that in addition to previously touted health advantages of lean muscle mass, it may also help protect against diabetes.  The study found that every additional 10% of skeletal muscle mass was associated with an 11% reduction in insulin resistance and a 12% lower risk of transitional, prediabetes or diabetes.

Dr Preethi Srikanthan, MD, and colleagues at UCLA examined data on 13,644 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found a strong relationship between muscle mass and improved insulin resistance.

Dr Srikanthan concluded, “Increases in muscle mass above even average levels were associated with additional protection against insulin resistance and prediabetes.”

Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to help cells take in and use glucose, the sugar that’s the body’s main source of energy.  Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s muscle, fat and liver cells don’t respond properly to insulin.  Consequently, excess glucose/sugar builds up in the bloodstream and sets the stage for diabetes.

According to Dr Srikanthan, “Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass.

“This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss . . . . Any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change.”

To stay abreast of Lake County Battles Obesity, visit Ron Graham’s blog for the Lake County General Health District at   Visit often.  The life and limb you save may be your own.


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