What is Glucose Response?

Glucose response or glucose tolerance is a measure of how fast your body can push glucose from the blood into the muscles and tissues. It is the ability to move glucose load.

Your glucose tolerance can be determined by a glucose tolerance test, which is also used for diabetes diagnosis. The glucose tolerance test helps identify any abnormalities in how your body responds to glucose after a meal.
How’s the test done?

In a healthy individual, a spike in glucose is seen within the first 15 minutes of glucose ingestion. The levels reach the peak at about 30 minutes after ingestion. After 30 minutes, a progressive decline is observed - the 2-hour value should ideally be 25% more than the fasting value - measurement of blood sugar levels after an eight-hour fast. A fasting value of less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. At 3 hours, the glucose levels should reach the baseline. However, for people with impaired glucose tolerance, the 2-hour value is much higher than the fasting value. For people with diabetes, the glucose value continues to rise till the 2-hour study period.

How Does Exercise Influence Glucose Response?

Exercising contributes to blood sugar maintenance by increasing insulin sensitivity. If your body is sensitive to insulin, it means that it can transport glucose from your blood into the cells to be used as an energy source. Exercising promotes glucose uptake by the muscles. This helps lower blood sugar levels. According to a study, a single bout of exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for at least 16 hours post-exercise.

How Does Genetics Influence Glucose Response To Exercise?

Genes modify the effects of regular physical activity on glucose homeostasis - the maintenance of balance of insulin and glucagon to keep blood sugar levels in check. People with certain changes in genes involved in blood sugar regulation, may have a lesser insulin response than others.

The PPARG Gene

The PPARG gene contains instructions for the production of a protein called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma. It plays a critical role in regulating insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis and can be associated with improved insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, PPAR-gamma has been implicated in the pathology of numerous diseases including obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cancer. This gene regulates the functions of other genes as well.

A loss-of-function mutation in the PPARG gene has been associated with insulin resistance, increased blood sugar levels, and increased risk of obesity. Loss-of-function mutations refer to changes in genes that result in reduced or complete loss of gene and protein function.

rs1801282

rs1801282, also known as Pro12Ala, is a single nucleotide polymorphism, or SNP in the PPARG gene. This SNP has been studied to modulate the glucose response upon endurance training. According to a study, the Ala carriers, or G allele carriers (people having GG type) experienced better improvements in glucose and insulin metabolism in response to endurance training.

The IL6 Gene

White blood cells express cytokines. Cytokines are a group of proteins that are expressed by the immune system. They play an important role in cell communication, especially during immune responses.

Some of these cytokines are termed interleukins - abbreviated as IL. IL6 or interleukin 6 is a cytokine that is produced at the site of inflammation. The IL6 gene contains instructions for the production of IL6 protein. Studies suggest that people who are susceptible to type 2 diabetes display features of low-grade inflammation years before the disease sets in.

The IL6 gene, other than its role in immune regulation, also influences glucose homeostasis and metabolism.

rs1800795

rs1800795 is an SNP in the IL6 gene. This SNP has been associated with the circulating levels of the IL6 cytokine. Studies have shown that the C allele of this SNP plays a role in decreased production of IL6 when compared to the G allele.

According to a study, there are differences in training-induced changes amongst the CC, CG, and GG types. The G allele was found to play a role in significantly decreasing the glucose concentration when compared to the C allele.

The LEPR Gene

The LEPR gene contains instructions for the production of a protein called the leptin receptor. The leptin receptor is turned on (activated) by a hormone called leptin. Leptin is released by fat cells. This hormone plays a role in regulating the satiety response in the body. A positive association has been recorded between the size of the fat cells in your body and the amount of leptin hormone - that is, the larger the fat cells, the more the leptin hormone levels.

Leptin has also been associated with glucose homeostasis. It regulates blood sugar levels either by direct or indirect action. Leptin can directly act on peripheral tissues like adipocyte (fat) tissues and muscle tissues or indirectly on the central nervous system.

  1. Leptin stimulates glucose uptake in muscle and brown adipose tissues (brown fat; white fat and brown fat are the two types of fat/adipose tissues found in the body).
  2. It inhibits the release of insulin and glucagon from β cells and α cells, respectively.
  3. It inhibits the release of corticosterone hormone from the adrenal glands - corticosterone stimulates glucose release under stressful conditions. This provides the body with the energy required to ride through the stressful period.
  4. It increases lipolysis (burning of fat) in white adipose tissue (white fat).
  5. There is an overall reduction in glucose output from the liver.

Even in the absence of insulin, leptin can regulate blood sugar levels.

rs1137100

rs1137100 is an SNP in the LEPR gene. This SNP has been associated with glucose tolerance and insulin response. It is also called K109R polymorphism. According to a study, K109R modulates exercise-induced changes in various measures of glucose homeostasis. The study revealed that 109R allele carriers or the G allele carriers had a better glucose response to physical activity when compared to K109 allele carriers or A allele carriers.

Other Factors That Influence Glucose Response

The Effects of Macros on Blood Sugar Levels

Out of the three macros - carbs, proteins, and fats - carbs have the most effect on blood sugar levels. The spike in blood glucose depends on the type of carbs (simple or complex) and the glycemic index (GI) of the food. GI is the measure of how much specific foods increase blood sugar levels.

The effect of fatty foods is seen more profoundly in people with diabetes. They tend to experience a higher insulin resistance upon fatty food consumption. That is, they may require more insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels.

When there’s adequate insulin, protein has very less effect on the sugar levels. However, when there’s an insulin deficiency, protein contributes to an elevation in blood glucose levels.

The Effects of Caffeine and Alcohol on Blood Glucose

In people with diabetes, consumption of caffeine leads to disruption in glucose metabolism. However, in healthy individuals, it has been known to increase insulin sensitivity; therefore, it lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Alcohol can either increase or decrease your blood sugar levels, depending on how much you drink. The liver plays a role in glucose homeostasis by releasing glucose when the levels are lower in the body. When alcohol is consumed, the liver gets busy with breaking down the alcohol. This can lead to low blood sugar levels.

The Dawn Phenomenon

The dawn phenomenon refers to the natural increase in blood sugar levels that occurs early in the morning. This is due to the changes in the hormonal levels in the body. It occurs both in people with and without diabetes. In healthy people, the insulin release is triggered, which brings the blood sugar levels back to normal. However, in case of diabetes, this doesn’t happen. As a result, those with diabetes may experience certain symptoms associated with elevated blood sugar levels.

Insufficient Sleep and Blood Glucose Levels

Even partial sleep deprivation can contribute to insulin resistance. This, in turn, can increase blood sugar levels.

Menstrual Cycle and Blood Glucose Levels

The different stages of the cycle impact your glucose levels in different ways. This effect can vary from woman to woman and even from month to month! While some women have reported an increase in blood sugar levels during their periods, others report a sharp decline in sugar levels! A few days before, after, and during your periods, the levels of estrogen and progesterone change. This can induce temporary resistance to insulin which can last for up to a few days and then drop off.

Exercise Recommendations For Increasing Glucose Tolerance

While any regular physical activity can help control blood sugar levels, certain exercise tips can help magnify the effects on blood sugar levels.

1. Brisk walking

Walking is probably one of the most prescribed activities for people with type 2 diabetes. Brisk walking, done at a pace that raises the heart rate, is considered a moderate-intensity exercise. Moderate-intensity exercises make your heart beat a little faster. This encourages your muscles to use more glucose.

2. Exercising after eating

According to a study, glucose levels hit the peak 60-90 mins after meals. So it is a good idea to begin your workout 30 mins post eating.

3. Yoga

When stress levels are high, cortisol hormone is released, which increases blood sugar levels. So, by managing stress, you can also keep your blood sugar levels in check. What better way to manage stress than yoga? According to a review study, yoga can help control stress and manage diabetes.

4. Checking your blood sugar levels

It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels both before and after exercise just to see how your body responds to exercise.

5. Resistance and aerobic training

Both these forms of training have proven to effectively reduce insulin resistance in previously sedentary older adults with abdominal obesity at risk for diabetes. However, combining both these exercises has been studied to be more effective than doing either one alone.

Summary

  1. Glucose response is a term used to describe how our body handles glucose - how fast glucose enters the cells and muscles, and the insulin response to glucose. Your glucose response can be measured by a test called glucose tolerance test or GTT.
  2. Insulin and glucagon are two hormones secreted by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood sugar levels by pushing them into the cells, and glucagon raises the levels by releasing stored glucose from the liver.
  3. Exercises help maintain blood sugar levels by promoting insulin sensitivity. After exercising, the muscles take up more glucose from the blood, thereby reducing your blood sugar levels.
  4. Certain genes influence the glucose response to exercise. One such gene is the LEPR gene, which has been associated with glucose homeostasis; people with the G allele of an SNP in LEPR experience a better glucose response to physical activities.
  5. Other than physical activities, a lot of factors influence your glucose response. They include macronutrient consumption, caffeine and alcohol habits, sleep habits, and the stage of the menstrual cycle.

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10683091/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840709/
https://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/54/suppl_2/S114
https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs1800795
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15180970/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15161768/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9416027/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14706966/
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2017.00228/full
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6145966/

What Is Pain Tolerance?

Pain is defined as an uncomfortable feeling in response to intense or damaging stimuli. An external stimulus like the pricking of skin, heat, or pressure is detected by the pain receptors. The pain receptors activate the nerve fibers nearby. The nerve fibers send signals through the spinal cord to the brainstem. From here, the signals are sent to the brain. This signal is interpreted as pain, and the brain sets off reflexes that can help stop or deal with the pain.

Pain can be a good thing. Pain alerts your brain and tells you that something is wrong. There is a potential illness or injury that needs to be taken care of.

The maximum amount of pain you can handle is termed pain tolerance. This is different from the pain threshold, which is the minimum point at which a stimulus like pressure or heat causes pain.

Pain can be acute or chronic. It can occur due to a specific injury or overall body aches. The level of pain you can tolerate depends on several biological and psychological factors. Pain tolerance or sensitivity varies from person to person.

Exercise and Pain Tolerance

Regular exercise has many benefits. It keeps you healthy, fit, and reduces pain. Research shows that exercise can help increase your pain tolerance also.

A study was done in 2014 to examine the effect of aerobic exercise training on pain sensitivity in healthy individuals. The results of the study show that moderate to high-intensity aerobic training increases ischemic pain tolerance in healthy individuals. The study focussed on ischemic pain, the burning pain you feel when your muscles don’t get enough oxygen, and pressure pain, the pain you feel when excess pressure is applied to a muscle. Other studies show that exercise increases pressure pain tolerance also.

Exercise is shown to increase pain tolerance in people who suffer from chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).

How Does Genetics Influence Pain Sensitivity?

Several genes that affect the way you perceive different kinds of pain have been identified. Apart from other factors, your genes also influence how you respond to pain.

COMT Gene

The COMT gene encodes an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase. This enzyme breaks down catecholamines, fight or flight hormones. This gene influences the development of our personalities, identities, and dispositions. Variations in this gene are associated with stress, pain, and anxiety.

rs4680
The GG genotype of this SNP is associated with higher pain tolerance compared to the AA genotype. The AG genotype is associated with intermediate pain tolerance.

Non-Genetic Factors That Affect Pain Sensitivity

Age: Pain tolerance increases with age; as you experience more pain, your body gets used to it.

Gender: Studies report that females are more sensitive to pain.

Stress: Stress can decrease your pain tolerance and make the pain feel more severe.

Chronic illness People with chronic illnesses like migraines tend to become more sensitive to pain.

Mental illness: People with depression or anxiety disorders have lesser pain tolerance.

Past experiences: Your past experiences influence how you perceive pain. For example, if you live in a cold climate for a very long time, you get used to the temperature conditions. This makes you less sensitive to extreme temperatures and increases your pain tolerance.

Expectations: This is a psychological thing. A person who expects more pain tends to feel more intense pain. Your coping strategies and thinking affect how you react to painful experiences.

How To Increase Your Pain Tolerance?

Exercise: Research shows that exercise is an effective way of increasing pain tolerance or decreasing pain sensitivity. Physical activities, especially aerobic exercises like cycling, can increase your pain tolerance. Pain tolerance increases as you work out consistently for longer periods of time.

Yoga: Studies show that people who regularly practice yoga have a higher pain tolerance. Yoga helps you relax, reduce stress, deal with depression and anxiety, and makes you more aware of your mind and body.

Vocalization: Vocalizing your feelings when you experience pain can help you tolerate it for longer. Studies show that people who say a simple ‘ow’ or curse while experiencing painfully cold water can withstand the pain for much longer. People who cursed seemed to have greater pain tolerance.

Biofeedback: This is a type of therapy that makes a person more aware of their body or mind and the response to stimuli like pain. The therapist will teach you techniques to control your response to pain. Mental imaging, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques are some of the methods used in this therapy.

Summary

  1. Pain is an uncomfortable feeling in response to intense or damaging stimuli. It alerts your brain and tells you that something is wrong.
  2. The maximum amount of pain you can handle is termed pain tolerance. This varies from person to person and is influenced by several biological and psychological factors.
  3. People with the GG genotype of SNP rs4680 found in the COMT gene have higher pain tolerance compared to people with the AA genotype. People with the AG genotype are found to have intermediate pain tolerance.
  4. Age, gender, stress, mental illnesses, chronic conditions, past experiences, and expectations influence the way you perceive pain and pain tolerance.
  5. Exercise, yoga, biofeedback therapy, and vocalizing your feelings can help you increase your pain tolerance.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/high-pain-tolerance#factors
https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/whats-your-pain-tolerance
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/high-pain-tolerance#causes
https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/how-exercise-helps-us-tolerate-pain/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24504426/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12595695/

What Is Blood Pressure?

When blood flows through your arteries, the force that it exerts against the wall of the arteries is measured as blood pressure. It can also be understood as the resistance offered by the blood vessels to the flow of blood. Blood pressure also takes into account the amount of blood that flows through your vessels. It is calculated by multiplying cardiac output and total peripheral resistance, which is the resistance provided by the walls of blood vessels.

Normal blood pressure readings are usually around 120/80 mmHg.

Blood pressure can fluctuate in response to changes in diet, physical activity, body size, health, and diseases that affect the blood vessels.

During exercise or high-stress situations, the heart rate increases, which leads to an increase in cardiac output. This leads to a rise in blood pressure.

Blood Pressure and Exercise

After a workout, your blood pressure normally rises due to an increase in physical activity and heart rate. It should return to its resting level in some time. The sooner it returns to its resting level, the more healthy you are.

When you exercise, your muscles need more oxygen, and hence, the demand for blood increases. To supply more blood to the muscles, the heart has to beat faster and pump a large volume of blood into the vessels. This large volume of blood being pumped increases the blood pressure.

Exercise increases your systolic blood pressure levels. This is a measure of blood pressure when your heart is beating. Diastolic reading is a measure of blood pressure when your heart is at rest in between heartbeats. This is not greatly affected by exercise.

During cycling, working out, swimming, or running, your muscles need more oxygen, and this increases the demand on the heart. Your heart starts pumping faster and harder, and this leads to an increase in systolic pressure.

The blood pressure readings after exercise vary from person to person.

After exercise, your systolic pressure can increase to a value between 160 mmHg and 220 mmHg. Beyond this is a cause for concern, and you need to talk to your doctor. It might be exercise hypertension, which is an extreme spike in blood pressure due to exercise.

Heavy resistance training that includes weight lifting can cause a greater increase in blood pressure compared to aerobic training. This is because of the increase in intra-abdominal pressure and compressive forces exerted by the equipment.

High blood pressure on exercising is usually a rise in pressure more than 140/90 mmHg after two hours of rest. Low blood pressure readings are anything below 90/60 mmHg after two hours of rest on exercising.

Exercise can also be an effective way of lowering blood pressure in hypertensive people. With age, you tend to get blood pressure related problems, but these can be controlled with the right medication and exercise. As you keep exercising, your heart works harder and becomes stronger. Your heart can pump more blood without exerting extra force on your arteries and this can bring your blood pressure levels back to normal. People with hypertension are not usually recommended to do heavy resistance training as this may lead to high spikes in blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about your exercise plan if you’re hypertensive.

How Does Genetics Influence Blood Pressure Response to Exercise?

GNAS Gene

The GNAS gene encodes a protein part of the G protein complex. G protein complexes are involved in many cell signaling pathways. It is involved in the changes of calcium and potassium ion concentrations within cells. These changes are important in regulating cardiac output and peripheral vascular resistance, which is used to calculate blood pressure. Variants of this gene are studied in relation to hypertension.

rs62205366
rs62205366 is an SNP in the GNAS gene. According to a study conducted, men with the T allele and a family history of hypertension had lower blood pressure after performing low-intensity aerobic exercise compared to those with the CC genotype.

Non-genetic Factors That Affect Blood Pressure Response to Exercise

Physical activity and fitness: Exercising consistently and remaining fit helps your blood pressure drop back to its resting state after exercise. This is because as you exercise, you strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Heart rate: Blood pressure recovery is faster in people with lower resting heart rates. Lower resting heart rate is also associated with good health and a lesser risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.

Smoking: Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate. It is also found to increase blood pressure recovery times after exercise.

Age: In older people, blood pressure spikes after exercise take a longer time to decrease than in younger people.

Obesity: Obesity is linked to a risk of cardiovascular diseases. People who are overweight or obese tend to take longer to recover from blood pressure spikes after exercise.

What Can You Do To Manage Blood Pressure?

An overall fitness plan targeted to your body type is an effective way to control blood pressure. Aerobic exercises are very effective at controlling high blood pressure. Aerobic exercises increase your heart and breathing rate gradually, and this makes your heart stronger, in the long run, reducing blood pressure. Aerobic exercises include running or jogging, jump rope, and exercising on the elliptical machine.

Increase the intensity of exercise gradually. If you feel any trouble like shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, or dizziness, stop immediately and consult a doctor.

Weight training can have long-term benefits in controlling blood pressure. Hypertensive people are usually asked to avoid lifting weights, as it causes a high increase in blood pressure. Weight training is a high-intensity workout and can lead to major spikes in blood pressure. This is a temporary risk. If done correctly, weight training can be beneficial in the long run.
While including weight training in your regular exercise plan,
- Use proper form and technique to minimize injury.
- Breathe easily and consistently, don’t hold your breath
- Don’t strain yourself too much. Stop the activity if you feel any unbearable pressure or pain.
- Lifting heavier weights might be more strenuous. Instead, opt for lighter weights and increase the number of repetitions.

Before adding weight training to your exercise plan, if you’re hypertensive, talk to your doctor to come up with a suitable plan that can help you.

Summary

  1. Blood pressure spikes during exercise because the blood supply-demand on the heart increases. Your muscles need more oxygen supply during exercise. The heart starts pumping faster, and this leads to a rise in systolic pressure.
  2. The sooner the blood pressure spike drops after exercise, the more fit and healthy you are. Some people have exercise hypertension, which is a constant high spike in blood pressure, and this is a cause for concern.
  3. Variations in the EDN1 and GNAS genes are associated with differences in blood pressure. Men with a history of hypertension, having the T allele of SNP rs62205366 found in the GNAS gene, were found to have lower blood pressure after aerobic activity. The G allele of SNP rs5370 found in the EDN1 gene puts people at a higher risk of hypertension.
  4. Fitness, physical activity, smoking, age, obesity, and heart rate influence blood pressure recovery times after exercise.
  5. Exercise can also be an effective way to control blood pressure in hypertensive people. Aerobic exercises can help lower blood pressure. Weight training, if done properly, can be effective in the long run.

References

https://www.healthline.com/health/blood-pressure-after-exercise#effects
https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-my-blood-pressure-and-heart-rate-changing-normally-during-exercise
https://www.verywellhealth.com/should-my-blood-pressure-be-12080-even-after-exercise-1764088
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17938376/
https://benthamopen.com/contents/pdf/VDP/VDP-6-56.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4738943/

What Are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are types of fat that are commonly found in the human body. The name ‘triglyceride’ means a combination of three kinds of fats combined with a form of glucose called glycerol. The three kinds of fats are - unsaturated fats, saturated fats, and a combination of both.

Triglycerides are majorly present in the fat deposits in the body. These are also present in the blood. These hold on to unused calories in the body and reserve them for future use.

Sources of Triglycerides

There are two ways your body receives triglycerides.

Most of the foods we eat are sources of triglycerides. Excess fat in food directly gets stored as triglycerides, while excess carbohydrates and sugars are converted to triglycerides by the liver and stored.

Triglyceride Levels and Exercise

Your triglyceride levels increase when you consume more calories than what your body can burn. When you exercise, you burn extra calories and hence prevent the increase in triglyceride levels.

A 1982 study analyzed the levels of triglycerides in endurance athletes after long sessions of working out. The study concluded that there was a significant decrease in serum triglyceride levels after 1-hour and 2-hour sessions of exercise.

Another study considered the effects of aerobic exercise on serum triglyceride concentration levels. The study included 38 patients with existing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). One group underwent aerobic training for eight weeks, and the other group remained sedentary.

The study concluded that people who exercised showed a lowered concentration of triglyceride levels.

A large-scale 2014 study analyzed the results of 13 independent studies relating aerobic exercise, resistance training, and combined exercise on triglyceride levels. According to the study:

Importance Of Triglycerides

Triglycerides are major energy sources in the body. Every unit of triglyceride contains more energy than one unit of protein or carbohydrates. That is why you feel full and sated when you eat a fat-based meal.

When you consume triglycerides, they reach the intestine. Here, they are combined with particles called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins transport lipid (fat) molecules through the plasma to other parts of the body.

Lipoproteins take the triglyceride particles to different muscles and tissues that need energy.

Triglycerides are stored in the fat tissues and the liver in the body. If you are suddenly deprived of food and are starving, stored triglycerides are broken down in the fat tissues and are used for energy. Triglycerides are hence very important backup energy sources.

According to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCED), here are the different categories based on recommended triglyceride levels.

Genetics And Its Influence On Exercise-induced Changes In Triglyceride Levels

Familial Hypertriglyceridemia - This is an inherited condition where the liver overproduces Very-Low-Density Lipoproteins (VLDL). VLDLs are responsible for carrying triglycerides to the tissues of the body from the liver. High VLDL levels also increase blood triglyceride values.

The CYYR1 Gene

The Cysteine and tyrosine-rich 1 gene (CYYR gene) contains instructions for the production of the CYYR protein. The exact functionality of this protein is not understood yet.

rs222158

The A allele of the SNP rs222158 of this gene affects triglyceride training-response. This allele is associated with decreased triglyceride levels in response to exercise.

The GLT8D2 Gene

The GLT8D2 gene (Glycosyltransferase 8 Domain Containing 2 gene) is responsible for the production of the GLT8D2 protein. This protein plays a role in glycosyl transfer.

rs2722171

The C allele of the SNP rs2722171 of this gene is associated with a decrease in triglyceride levels in response to exercise.

The RBFOX1 Gene

The RBFOX1 gene (RNA Binding Fox-1 Homolog 1 gene) produces the RNA binding protein fox-1 homolog 1. Abnormalities in the protein can lead to neurodegenerative diseases.

rs1906058

The C allele of this SNP is associated with an increase in triglyceride levels in response to exercise

Non-Genetic Influences On Exercise-induced Changes In Triglyceride Levels

The type of exercise - If you want to bring down your triglyceride levels with exercise, choosing the right workout regime is important.
Aerobic exercises are the best choices for lowering triglycerides. You can also try resistance exercises. High-intensity exercises are better as they quickly burn fat and help lower your triglyceride levels.

Excess fat consumption - When you keep consuming excess fatty-foods, even when you exercise rigorously, the body will always have excess fat reserves, and hence the triglyceride values will not decrease.

Excess carbohydrate consumption - People who consume excess carbohydrates and simple sugars are at high risk for developing high levels of triglycerides. This condition is called carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia.

Studies show that when more than 55% of the energy consumed is through carbohydrates, the body works in converting excess carbohydrates into fat.

As a result, even if you are controlling the amount of fat you consume and are working out, your triglyceride levels will not reduce as much as you expected.

Smoking - A study compared the fasting triglyceride levels in smokers and non-smokers. It concluded that smokers had high fasting triglyceride levels when compared to non-smokers.

Another study analyzed the effects of smoking on aerobic capacity and concluded that the muscles in the bodies of smokers receive less oxygen than in non-smokers, and hence smokers are unable to perform intensive workouts.

Smoking increases triglyceride levels and brings down a person’s ability to exercise effectively. As a result, in smokers, exercising does not cause a considerable reduction in triglyceride levels when compared to non-smokers.

Why Are High Levels Of Triglycerides Problematic?

Triglyceride levels can be identified with a simple blood test. When your blood shows higher levels of triglycerides, here are risk factors to consider:

Recommendations To Improve The Effectiveness Of Exercise In Lowering Triglyceride Levels

Try a combination of exercise and a calorie-restricted diet

The more regularly you work out, the more fat your body will burn. Studies show that when you don’t exercise and go on a calorie-restricted diet, it doesn’t affect triglyceride levels as much as exercise does. A combination of moderate to high-intensity exercise and a calorie-restricted diet plan works wonders.

Change your diet plan

Opt for a high protein and moderate fat and carbohydrate diet. A high-fiber diet is also considered beneficial. Restrict consuming trans and saturated fats. These changes help you exercise better and, as a result, reduce your triglyceride levels.

Slowly build your stamina

Sometimes, existing health conditions, age, and other related factors can prevent a person from taking up exercising. In that case, slowly build up your stamina. Start with low-intensity workouts like walking and then move on to aerobic and resistance training. With time, you will be able to work out enough to lower your triglyceride levels.

Summary

  1. Triglycerides are unsaturated and saturated fats that combine with a kind of glucose in the body called glycerol. Triglycerides are stored in the fat tissues and liver and are also present in blood serum.
  2. Triglycerides act as a reservoir of energy and are burnt when the body is starved.
  3. High levels of triglycerides can be a risk factor for heart conditions, stroke, arteriosclerosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  4. The more you exercise, the more fat stored in the body is burnt. This brings down triglyceride levels.
  5. Certain changes in the CYYR1, RBFOX1, and GLT8D2 genes all determine how exercise influences triglyceride levels in the body.
  6. The type of exercise you take up makes a difference in how quickly your triglyceride levels drop. Aerobic and resistance exercises are considered more effective.
  7. Excess consumption of carbohydrates and sugar and excess fat consumption bring down the effectiveness of exercise in lowering triglyceride levels.
  8. Smoking also hinders the ability of exercise to reduce triglyceride levels. A combination of a calorie-restricted diet and exercise works great in bringing down triglyceride levels.

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triglyceride

https://www.heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol/triglycerides
https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/zp3387
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186
https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=56&contentid=2967
https://www.medicinenet.com/how_to_lower_triglycerides_naturally/article.htm

Our muscles are divided into three major types, which include smooth, cardiac, and skeletal muscles. When people talk about building muscle, it is usually referred to the skeletal muscles.

Skeletal muscles are attached to the bones by tendons. Skeletal muscles undergo voluntary movement along with the bones. When the muscles are continually challenged to deal with resistance and weight, the muscle fibers undergo trauma, and this results in injuries. Satellite cells, a type of cells present outside the muscle fibers, are activated when your muscles are injured. These damaged muscle fibers are fused together and repaired by the satellite cells. This increases the mass and size of muscles.

Apart from challenging your muscle, certain hormones help build muscle too. These hormones include testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin growth factor. The hormones help build muscle by
- Activating satellite cells
- Inhibiting protein breakdown
- Managing muscle mass and repairing muscle cells
- Stimulating other hormones that promote muscle growth and protein synthesis
- Enhancing tissue growth
- Forming new blood capillaries

Exercise and Building Muscle

The best way to improve muscle mass is through exercise. Diet also plays a role in building muscle mass.

Resistance and strength training is highly recommended to increase muscle mass. Aerobic exercises also contribute towards muscle building. They stimulate the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. The amount of hormone varies with the intensity of exercise. Growth hormone increases your metabolism and aids in protein formation from amino acids to build more muscle. Training also stimulates the release of testosterone and improves the sensitivity of muscles to testosterone.

Testosterone, the male sex hormone, plays a significant role in muscle building. Men have more amounts of this hormone than women. They might be able to build muscle at a faster rate, but muscle building does not depend only on testosterone. There are also various other factors that decide muscle building. Studies have shown that men and women respond in similar ways to strength training.

Muscle Building and Body Shape

Muscle building varies depending on the body shape. A personalized training program that caters to the body shape can help build muscle at an optimal rate. The different body shapes are:
1. Mesomorphic: People with this type are generally more muscular and can build muscle at very fast rates.
2. Ectomorphic: People with this type usually have a slim or straight frame and cannot build muscle at very fast rates. They can gradually build muscle and strength through resistance training.
3. Endomorphic: People with type usually have a rounded or curvy frame. This body type also has a high tendency to store fat. Training focus should be on losing fat and gradually building muscle through strength and resistance training.

How Does Genetics Influence Muscle Building?

Several genes have been studied in relation to muscle building. Genes can determine how easy or difficult it is to build muscle mass up to a certain extent. Genetics influences your body type, muscle composition, and your response to diet and training.

IGF1 Gene

The IGF1 gene encodes a protein called Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1. IGF1 is an anabolic hormone that stimulates the growth of muscle, bone, and several other tissues in the body. It stimulates protein-building processes. This hormone aids in muscle building through a process called hypertrophy. Hypertrophy refers to the increase in muscle mass through exercise. Variations in this gene can determine how easy or difficult it is to build muscle.

rs35767
rs35767 is an SNP in the IGF1 gene. The minor allele, the T allele, is found to be associated with higher levels of circulating IGF1 and an increase in muscle mass compared to the C allele.

Non-Genetic Factors That Affect Muscle Building

Building Your Muscles Effectively

The best way to build muscle is through consistent, challenging, and long-term training. This will help you achieve the best results and build muscle mass.

Strength and resistance training
Strength and resistance training, at least twice a week, is highly recommended to build muscle. This training includes weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, using resistance bands. Increase your training volume gradually.

Aerobic exercises
Cardiovascular training is also essential to build muscle. While it might not have the same effect as strength training, aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and respiratory system. It increases your overall exercise capacity and can help reduce the risk of injury.

Talk to a trainer to develop the best workout plan for your body type aimed at building muscle mass. The right exercises and diet are beneficial.

Rest periods
Adequate rest periods in between workouts are very important to give your muscles time to repair. Muscles need to recover from all the resistance and injury caused during exercise. Without sufficient rest, the risk of injury is higher, and your fitness progression will also slow down.

Healthy diet
A healthy diet with a good source of protein will fuel your workout and build muscle. Protein-rich foods with the amino acid leucine are recommended. These include poultry, beef, lamb, eggs, milk products, and non-animal products like soybean, beans, nuts, and certain seeds.

Summary

  1. Muscle mass increases when you exercise consistently. Exercising provides more resistance and trauma to the muscles. To overcome this, the muscle fibers fuse together. This results in more muscle mass and size.
  2. Certain hormones, including testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin growth factor, help build muscle by activating cells to aid in muscle repair and enhancing tissue growth.
  3. Genetics partly influences your body type, muscle composition, and response to training and diet. The T allele of SNP rs35767 found in the IGF1 gene is associated with increased levels of the insulin-like growth factor hormone and more muscle mass compared to the C allele.
  4. Apart from genetics, other factors that include age and limb length also influence muscle building.
  5. Training consistently and including strength and resistance training is necessary for building muscle. Aerobic exercises also contribute to muscle building. Proper rest and a healthy diet are also essential.

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23022740/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20490824/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850449/
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-build-muscle#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319151

Muscle growth

Our muscles are divided into three major types, which include smooth, cardiac, and skeletal muscles. When people talk about building muscle, it is usually referred to the skeletal muscles.

Skeletal muscles are attached to the bones by tendons. Skeletal muscles undergo voluntary movement along with the bones. When the muscles are continually challenged to deal with resistance and weight, the muscle fibers undergo trauma, and this results in injuries. Satellite cells, a type of cells present outside the muscle fibers, are activated when your muscles are injured. These damaged muscle fibers are fused together and repaired by the satellite cells. This increases the mass and size of muscles.

Apart from challenging your muscle, certain hormones help build muscle too. These hormones include testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin growth factor. The hormones help build muscle by
- Activating satellite cells
- Inhibiting protein breakdown
- Managing muscle mass and repairing muscle cells
- Stimulating other hormones that promote muscle growth and protein synthesis
- Enhancing tissue growth
- Forming new blood capillaries

Genes related to muscle growth are candidates for gene doping. Manipulating these genes can make athletes gain muscle mass at a faster pace. Gene doping is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). There are other natural ways to gain muscle.

How Does Genetics Influence Muscle Growth?

Several genes have been studied in relation to muscle growth. Genes can determine how easy or difficult it is to build muscle mass up to a certain extent. Genetics influences your body type, muscle composition, and your response to diet and training.

MSTN Gene

Myostatin is a member of the transforming growth factor b (TGF- b) family, which is one of the regulating factors in the body. The MSTN gene is primarily expressed in skeletal muscle cells. It is regarded as a negative regulator of muscle growth, as it functions to inhibit myogenesis: muscle cell growth and differentiation. Many research studies on animals and humans have shown that overexpression of the MSTN gene has been associated with reduced muscle, while its inhibition leads to muscle hypertrophy and /or hyperplasia.

rs1805086
The rs1805086 polymorphism is located in exon 2 of the MSTN gene. Studies have shown that AG genotype is associated with worse performance while GG genotype is associated with better performance.

Non-Genetic Factors That Affect Muscle Growth

Age: With age, muscular strength reduces. A decrease in the cross-sectional area of muscle fibers and amount of tissue is observed in older people. Regular training and training started at an early age can help build and maintain muscle mass.
Limb length: People with shorter limbs find it easier to lift weights and do certain exercises compared to taller people. People with longer limbs also have advantages. They are better are overhead presses and deadlifts. Training suited to your body type, and limb length is essential for optimal results.

Building Your Muscles Effectively

The best way to build muscle is through consistent, challenging, and long-term training. This will help you achieve the best results and build muscle mass.

Strength and resistance training
Strength and resistance training, at least twice a week, is highly recommended to build muscle. This training includes weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, using resistance bands. Increase your training volume gradually.

Aerobic exercises
Cardiovascular training is also essential to build muscle. While it might not have the same effect as strength training, aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and respiratory system. It increases your overall exercise capacity and can help reduce the risk of injury.

Talk to a trainer to develop the best workout plan for your body type aimed at building muscle mass. The right exercises and diet are beneficial.

Rest periods
Adequate rest periods in between workouts are very important to give your muscles time to repair. Muscles need to recover from all the resistance and injury caused during exercise. Without sufficient rest, the risk of injury is higher, and your fitness progression will also slow down.

Healthy diet
A healthy diet with a good source of protein will fuel your workout and build muscle. Protein-rich foods with the amino acid leucine are recommended. These include poultry, beef, lamb, eggs, milk products, and non-animal products like soybean, beans, nuts, and certain seeds.

Summary

  1. Muscle mass increases when you exercise consistently. Exercising provides more resistance and trauma to the muscles. To overcome this, the muscle fibers fuse together. This results in more muscle mass and size.
  2. Certain hormones, including testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin growth factor, help muscle growth by activating cells to aid in muscle repair and enhancing tissue growth.
  3. Genes that promote muscle growth are candidates for gene doping. This is banned in sports.
    Genetics partly influences your body type, muscle composition, and response to training and diet. The T allele of SNP rs35767 found in the IGF1 gene is associated with increased levels of the IGF1 hormone and more muscle mass compared to the C allele.
  4. Apart from genetics, other factors that include age and limb length also influence muscle growth.
  5. Training consistently and including strength and resistance training is necessary for building strong muscle. Aerobic exercises also contribute to building muscle. Proper rest and a healthy diet are also essential.

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23022740/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20490824/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3024427/
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-build-muscle#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319151
https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/mstn/

Resistance training is a form of exercise or physical activity that increases muscle fitness by working an individual muscle or a group of muscles against some external resistance. This results in increased endurance and stamina.
Resistance training also helps build muscle power and keeps them toned.
The simplest form of resistance training is moving your body against gravity while doing a push-up, plank, and pull-up.

Basic Principles of Resistance Training

Specificity

According to the first principle of resistance training – specificity, the kind of exercises that you include in your resistance training must help you reach your fitness goal.

For example, for some people, losing their belly fat and toning the muscle may be the goal, whereas for another, increasing muscle strength and endurance may be the fitness goal. The kind of resistance training exercises will differ for both and will become very specific as they progress in their training. Also, specific exercises are more effective than just doing a few generic resistance exercises.

Progressive Overload

The next principle of resistance training is progressive overload. This means getting out of your comfort zone and pushing your body to do more. During resistance training, your body will adapt and become more efficient while you reach your fitness goals.

According to this principle, your muscles grow only when they are subjected to more stress than they are used to. In order to overcome progressive resistance during resistance training, your muscles get training to become stronger and larger. One need not increase progressive overload in a linear fashion.

Reversibility

This is one principle that all resistance trainees must remember– if you stop your resistance training for a few months to a year, all the gains you made ‘during’ your training will be lost, and you will be back to square one. Just like muscles get trained during resistance training, one can lose their muscle mass by not subjecting muscles to stress.

Progression and Individual Variability

This is an essential concept of resistance training, which states that all of us are different in the way we respond to muscle training. This is based upon our age, gender, genetics, and nutrition. While some people build muscles quickly, others take a while to get there with the same kind of workout schedule.

Muscle Strength and Recovery During Resistance Training

Gaining Muscle Strength During Resistance Training

When you are just beginning your resistance training, you may experience a quick increase in strength. This stage is followed by plateauing of the strength, i.e., you might not find an increase in your strength beyond this point. The next stage is an increase in muscle strength and size. However, this requires a lot more effort.

The initial increase in one’s strength during resistance training is due to a phenomenon called neural adaptation, wherein the nerves that supply the muscles tend to change their behavior based on muscle requirement. The nerve cells send signals frequently, and a lot of muscle units get deployed to fire when a muscle group contracts. This indicates the plateauing stage of maximum strength. However, even though you have reached your maximum strength and plateaued, the continued training helps to increase your muscle size. Continuing your resistance training post this plateau stage will get you past it.

Muscle Recovery During Resistance Training

Muscles, like any other body tissue, require periods of rest between workouts. Lack of adequate rest to your muscles affects their strength and growth. Ideally, after training a specific group of muscles, you need to rest them for at least 48-hours. This allows your muscles to relax and grow before your next workout session.

Benefits of Resistance Training

Resistance training has many benefits as per research, and these include:
- Improved physical performance in athletes
- Improved ability to control body movements
- Increased stamina and sustenance during a sport
- Increased walking speed
- Toning of muscles
- Improved muscle strength
- Reduction in belly fat
- Improved brain function
- Prevention of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases
- Improved mobility and balance
- Better posture
- Reduced chances of falls, therefore, reduces the risk of injuries
- Helps relieve insomnia
- Enhanced efficiency in sports and in performing daily tasks
- Improved brain function

How Does Genetics Influence Response To Resistance Training?

How your muscles grow, how much strength they can reach, and how resistance training affects them have a strong genetic component. There are several genes that have been found to affect muscle development, growth, and their response to resistance training.

Commonly associated genes include MSTN, CCL2, CCR2, LEPR, FTO, and SH2B1. Let’s understand more about their effects.

MSTN Gene and Resistance Training

The MSTN gene is a protein-coding gene that encodes the growth factor, myostatin. It regulates the size of muscles beginning in early embryonic development and continuing throughout life.

Two polymorphisms in the MSTN gene, A55T and K153R, have been shown to cause strength-training induced muscle hypertrophy among Chinese men.

The A55T variant is also called rs1805085. The GA and AA genotypes are associated with enhanced strength training-induced muscle building.

The K153R variant is also called rs1805086. The AG genotype is associated with enhanced strength training-induced muscle building as compared to the AA genotype.

LEPR Gene and Resistance Training

The LEPR gene or the Leptin Receptor gene is responsible for regulating body weight. This receptor is activated by the hormone leptin, which is released by the fat cells in the body.

rs1137101
rs1137101 is an SNP in the LEPR gene. In response to resistance training, adults with the G allele gained greater arm muscle volume and subcutaneous fat volume than adults with the AA genotype.

Non-genetic Factors that Affect Muscle Strength

Age

There is no age limit for when one can begin resistance training. However, the rate of muscle growth and development is greatest from 10-20-years of age. After reaching growth maturity, muscle growth and strength increase do not happen quickly.

Gender

Gender affects the quantity of muscles. Men inherently have more muscle mass than women, and the growth of muscles in men is favored by testosterone. The larger the muscle, the stronger a person is.

Type of Muscle Fiber

There are primarily two types of muscle fibers that come into play when it comes to training – slow-twitch and fast-twitch. The slow-twitch fibers are used for aerobic activities as they produce small forces for a long period of time. This makes them ideal for endurance-based activities. Fast-twitch fibers, on the other hand, produce strong forces for short periods, making them great for anaerobic activities and ideal for Olympic sports like weight lifting.

Though there is no gender difference in the distribution of slow and fast-twitch fibers, some people are inherently born with a higher percentage of one of the fiber types. While most marathon runners have higher slow-twitch fibers, football players may have higher fast-twitch fibers. During resistance training, fast-twitch fibers experience a greater increase in muscle size and strength and show faster results.

Limb and Muscle Strength

The length of your limbs is an important factor that determines if you can lift heavyweights. People with short limbs can lift heavier weights due to favorable lever mechanisms in their arms and legs. However, those with longer muscles have a larger scope of increasing their muscle size and strength as compared to people with shorter muscle lengths.

The Location of Tendon Insertion

Did you know that muscle strength is directly affected by where its tendon is inserted on the bone? The farther your tendon insertion from the joint, the greater your mechanical advantage. So, people who have forearm tendon attachments away from the elbow joint tend to lift more weight than those who have them close to the joint.

Lifting Techniques

In order to train your muscles well, you must ensure you are practicing good lifting techniques. The right techniques will bring about effective results.

Type of Program

Apart from all the factors mentioned above, your muscle’s response to strength training depends upon the type of training program you are undergoing.

Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations For Resistance Training

For an effective resistance training plan, a good diet and nutrition plan along with healthy lifestyle habits is crucial.

Count your calories: During your resistance training, you need to limit your calories. Using online calorie counters is a good way to keep track of your caloric intake.

Measure your food: It is common practice for athletes and sportsmen to measure the food they eat. Measuring food can seem tedious at first but is very useful in keeping track of what you are eating and how many calories you consume in a day. You can use a small scale with measuring cups and spoons for this exercise.

Eating sufficient amounts of macronutrients: While training, you must get sufficient amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats as these help in muscle growth and development and keep your body cells healthy. During resistance training, protein intake is particularly important because your muscles are made up of proteins.

Also, remember to consume sufficient calories each day as these fuel your workouts. Having an energy deficit prior to your workouts can make building muscle and endurance difficult. Always chart out a plan for foods during your resistance training, prior to it and after it. Having a large banana and 1 cup of cottage cheese or two whole wheat bread slices with egg whites, etc., make for great pre-workout meals.

Strict meal timings: Just as your workout timings are important, timing your meals and sticking to them consistently each day is important too.

Limit your drinking: Alcohol is bad for your health and even worse if you are resistance training for an event. Alcohol is very high in calories, and your body tends to burn this alcohol as fuel before burning other fuel types. Also, it can disrupt your next day’s schedule and interfere with your training schedule.

Avoid wrong foods: Eat only what does your body good. This means you must stay away from the bad foods that include sugary-foods, processed foods, etc.

Keep yourself hydrated.

Get a good night’s sleep and rest every day as this helps your body cells and tissues recover.

Summary

  1. Resistance training is an essential part of getting your body prepared for any sport or athletic event.
  2. The effectiveness of resistance training depends upon your body’s response to the external resistances provided in a progressive manner.
  3. Muscle growth, muscle development, strength gain, and recovery of muscles all have a strong genetic component. Variations in the MSTN, CCLr-CCR2, LEPR, FTO, and SH2B1 genes are said to have direct effects on how muscles react to resistance training.
  4. Other non-genetic factors such as age, gender, type of muscle fiber, etc., also affect one’s strength training, in combination with the existing genetic factors.
  5. In addition to a strict fitness regimen, healthy dietary and lifestyle habits are essential for resistance training.

References

< https://www.emedicinehealth.com/strengthtraining/articleem.htm>
https://cathe.com/4-principles-of-resistance-training-and-how-some-people-get-them-wrong/
< https://www.afpafitness.com/research-articles/factors-affecting-muscular-strength>
https://excellenceinfitness.com/blog/nutrition-for-fitness-training-the-facts-you-need-to-know
< https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24479661/>
< https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-016-3411-1>
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3500611/
< https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081265/>
< https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17235396/>

Blood Circulation

Proper blood circulation is vital for a person’s health. Circulation of blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to all the parts of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other toxins.

The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system, consists of the heart and blood vessels.

With the increase in physical activity, your muscles need more blood supply and oxygen. This increase in blood flow is essential to boost your workout and prevent muscle soreness. Better circulation can also strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Regular exercise and physical activity are needed to boost circulation, which is essential for health and physical fitness. Exercise strengthens the circulatory system and makes it more flexible and expansive.

Following a consistent training plan has several benefits concerning the circulatory system. It helps strengthen the heart and blood vessels, improves the efficiency of gas exchange, and boosts overall circulation.

Genes related to blood circulation are candidates for gene doping. They can increase the endurance and aerobic performance of athletes. Gene doping is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). There are other natural ways to improve blood circulation.

Causes of Poor Blood Circulation

Signs and Symptoms of Poor Blood Circulation

The signs and symptoms of reduced blood flow include
- Numbness
- Throbbing or stinging pain
- Tingling
- Swelling
- Cramping

How Does Genetics Influence Blood Circulation?

VEGFA Gene

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA) is a glycoprotein that helps form new blood vessels. This gene is expressed in various cells and plays an important role in vascular development, lymph genesis, tumorigenesis, and development. The gene activates signaling pathways during lack of oxygen to cells or tissues and promotes angiogenesis to supply adequate amounts of oxygen to cells or tissue. An increase in oxygen supply plays a vital role in an athlete’s performance and increasing endurance.

rs2010963
The C allele of SNP rs2010963 found in the VEGFA gene enhances gene expression. This leads to a greater adaptive growth of capillaries in response to aerobic physical exercise.

HIF1A Gene

The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) family of proteins regulates the activity of genes in low-oxygen environments. The HIF1A gene encodes proteins involved in the process of hypoxia, angiogenesis, and erythropoiesis(red blood cell formation) activation or regulation of glucose metabolism. This greatly helps in athlete’s endurance and aerobic dependence.

rs11549465
The rs11549465 C >T polymorphism is present in exon 12 of the HIF1A gene. The T allele is associated with increased transcriptional activity of the gene and hence increases the hypoxic resistance of cells (high glucose metabolism, high angiogenesis), offering better endurance to athletes.

Non-Genetic Factors That Influence Blood Circulation

Recommendations to Improve Blood Circulation

Exercising
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve blood circulation and strengthen the circulatory system. Walking, jogging, knee bends, yoga, stretching are very basic exercises that can boost circulation. Follow a training plan suited to your body and be consistent. Cardio or aerobic exercises can improve circulation and your breathing capacity.

Diet
- Include food sources that contain omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, kale.
- Eat foods rich in iron. These include red meat or spinach. Iron is needed for hemoglobin, which is the oxygen carrier.
- Drink lots of water. This helps flush out toxins from the blood.
- Include a rich source of antioxidants like tea, onion, pomegranate.
- A rich source of vitamin E and B vitamins helps improve circulation.

Smoking
Smoking is bad for your circulatory system. Nicotine is found to tighten blood vessels and restrict blood flow.

Massage
A good massage helps you relax and de-stress. It also improves blood circulation and promotes circulation in congested areas.

Maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk of health conditions and promote proper circulation.

Summary

  1. Proper blood circulation is vital for a person’s health. Circulation of blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to all the parts of the body and removes carbon dioxide and other toxins.
  2. With an increase in physical activity, your muscles need more oxygen. The blood supply to the muscles increases. Regular exercise improves blood circulation and keeps your circulatory system healthy.
  3. Poor circulation can be due to a number of conditions. Symptoms include throbbing or stinging pain, tingling, numbness, cramping.
  4. Gene doping can increase the endurance and aerobic performance of athletes. This is banned by the WADA. There are other natural ways to boost circulation.
  5. The C allele of SNP rs2010963 found in the VEGFA gene leads to increased growth of capillaries and more circulation in response to aerobic physical exercise. The T allele of SNP rs11549465 is associated with increased aerobic capacity and endurance.
  6. A good massage, a balanced diet, consistent physical training, and avoiding smoking can help improve blood circulation.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4551211/
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320793#_noHeaderPrefixedContent

Power is the amount of energy produced per unit of time. Muscle power is the kind of force your muscles exert at high speeds in a given period of time. Any activity that requires speed and high force will need more muscle power.

People with high muscle power are stronger, agile, and can handle intensive physical activities better.

Muscle power is a very important feature of functional performance for Olympic trainers. Trainers, athletes, and sportsmen and women, all constantly work hard in improving their muscle power to better their performance.

Activities like sprinting, weight lifting, high and long jumping, punching, and fast kicking all require high muscle power.

For common people, muscle power could be a factor that determines their longevity.

A study analyzed the relationship between muscle power (upright row movement) and mortality in 3878 adults between the years 2001 and 2016. The study concluded that those who have low Mean Muscle Power (MMP) during daily movements had chances of early mortality

Muscle Power, Strength, and Endurance

The terms muscle power, strength, and endurance are often interchangeably used. There are subtle differences between these, and you need to use them right.

While some people have higher muscle power genetically, others can improve their muscle power with the right food and training.

How Does Genetics Influence Muscle Power

ACTN3 Gene

The ACTN3 gene is called the ‘Speed Gene’ and is a highly discussed gene in athletes and Olympic trainers. This gene helps make the alpha-actinin-3 protein that helps in quick contractions of the fast-twitch muscle fibers.

A particular polymorphism of this gene is found in elite power athletes and sprinters who need more muscle power to function.

rs1815739

The C allele of the SNP rs1815739 of this gene is associated with more muscle power and elite athletic performance](https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.01080/full.

AGT Gene

The AGT gene helps make a protein called angiotensinogen and converts angiotensinogen I to angiotensinogen II. This protein controls blood pressure levels in the body and balances the levels of salt and fluids.

rs699

A study analyzed the effects of AGT gene polymorphisms in muscle power in 63 power athletes, 100 world-class athletes, and 119 non-athletes.

The study concluded that the C allele of the SNP rs699 of this gene increases angiotensinogen II levels in the body and aids more muscle growth after power training.

DMD Gene

The DMD gene helps make a protein called dystrophin. This protein is important in muscle movement and helps in strengthening muscle fibers and aiding in contraction and relaxation of muscles.

rs939787

A 2016 Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) analyzed the relationship between DMD polymorphisms and muscle power.
The study concluded that the T allele of the SNP rs939787 of this gene was excessively present in power athletes when compared to endurance athletes. This allele was hence associated with power and performance.

Non-genetic Factors That Affect Muscle Power

Age

The ability to improve muscle power and strength is high in younger trainers. As a person ages, the ability of the muscles to grow and strengthen reduces.

Gender

Men have more muscle tissues than women because of the presence of the male hormone testosterone. Larger muscles aid better muscle power, and this is true for both normal individuals and Olympic trainers.

Muscle Length

Olympic trainers with longer muscle fibers find it easy to exert more muscle power than those with shorter muscle fibers. People with longer muscle fibers develop more power, muscle size, and strength with the right training.

Right Training

Your muscles get stronger and more powerful when you use them right. People who go through power training extensively find their muscle power, strength, and endurance improving with time.

Diet

Diet, without a doubt, is a very important factor that determines muscle power. When your muscles are well-developed, they get the ability to perform better. A good diet improves muscle power, muscle strength, and muscle endurance, while a bad diet can cause muscle loss and decrease muscle power.

A 2016 study concluded that a diet rich in foods like red meat, butter, potatoes, and oily gravies could bring down muscle performance. This is especially true for older individuals.

Recommendations to Improve Muscle Power

Power Training

One of the best ways to improve muscle power is to take up power training. Power training is similar to resistance training but done faster.
These are some of the effective power training exercises you can try out to improve muscle power.

Repetitive Training

Lifting heavyweights may be good for muscle strengthening. However, if you want to improve muscle power, you should concentrate on lifting mid-range weights repeatedly. A higher number of repetitive exercises done quickly helps make the muscles powerful.

Nutrition

Choosing the right nutrition will help improve muscle power quickly while training. Some of the vital nutrients for power training are:

  1. Proteins - Proteins are important to help the body handle all the intensive training it goes through. If you are taking up endurance and power training to increase power, then you may need up to 1.2 to 1.6 grams of proteins per body weight (in kg) every day.
  2. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants - Trainers who lack essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in their meals find themselves feeling tired and unable to push their muscles to perform. Widen your food choices or consider supplements for these essential nutrients.

Summary

  1. Muscle power is the force exerted by the muscles at high speeds for a specific time period. Higher muscle power makes a person agile and strong.
  2. Power trainers and elite athletes need high muscle power to perform effectively. Better muscle power is related to a lower mortality rate in normal individuals.
  3. Sprinting, high and long jumping, kicking, punching, and kicking are activities that require high muscle power.
  4. Genetic polymorphisms in the ACTN3, AGT, and DMD genes can all increase/decrease muscle power in Olympic trainers and athletes.
  5. Age, gender, right diet, and muscle length are all factors that influence muscle power.
    Power training exercises, performing repetitive actions, and choosing the right nutrition can all help a trainer improve muscle power.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3245773/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223128738_Training_for_Muscular_Power
https://www.jospt.org/doi/pdf/10.2519/jospt.1983.5.1.7
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/muscle-strength
https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/gene/dmd/

What Is Erythropoietin?

Erythropoietin, also known as EPO, is a hormone produced by the kidneys and liver. It is essential for the production of red blood cells (RBCs) that carry oxygen.

The kidney cells responsible for producing erythropoietin are sensitive to oxygen levels. They synthesize and release more erythropoietin when they detect low oxygen levels in the body. About 10% of erythropoietin is produced by the liver.

The main function of this hormone is promoting the development of red blood cells by the bone marrow.

Erythropoietin and Exercise

Training leads to an increased oxygen demand from the muscles, which is met by oxygen transport through red blood cells. Blood supply needs to be increased, and more RBCs need to be produced to meet the oxygen demand of the muscles.

Optimal levels of erythropoietin in the blood can increase oxygen transport and energy levels. Differences in erythropoietin levels are based on several factors, including nutrition, underlying conditions, and genetics.

EPO is available as a drug in the market. It can enhance an athlete’s performance by facilitating increased oxygen supply to the muscle cells. This gives the athlete an unfair advantage over others. Artificially increasing EPO levels can increase the number of red blood cells and ultimately enhance the aerobic capacity and endurance performance of the athlete. This is called blood doping and is banned in most professional sports since the early 1990s.

Nutritional factors and underlying conditions can affect the amount of erythropoietin in the blood. The amount of this hormone is also partially influenced by genetics. Variations in the EPO gene dictate the production and levels of erythropoietin in blood.

EPO as a drug is normally used to treat severe anemia because the body produces lower amounts of this hormone in anemic conditions. EPO drugs are also used in the treatment of End-Stage Renal Disease, cancer, and HIV.

EPO Levels

The normal range for EPO in the body is 4 to 26 milliunits per liter (mU/mL) of blood.

How Does Genetics Influence Erythropoietin?

Variations in the EPO gene, the gene that encodes this hormone, can lead to differences in the levels of erythropoietin produced by the body.

rs1617640 and Erythropoiesis
The rs1617640 is a T→G polymorphism present in the erythropoietin (EPO) gene. It has been associated with decreased EPO expression, suggesting it could negatively affect endurance performance. Studies have shown that the TT and TG genotypes are associated with increased erythrocyte, hematocrit, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration values resulting in aerobic advantage for athletes.

Non-Genetic Factors That Affect Erythropoietin Levels

Health conditions: Chronic kidney disease(CKD) can lead to a decrease in erythropoietin levels and lead to anemia.
Chronic low oxygen levels, anemia, or rare tumors can result in excess erythropoietin.

Increased EPO Levels

Higher levels of EPO are usually due to chronic low oxygen levels or when EPO is produced by rare tumors. This leads to a high red blood cell count, which is called polycythemia. Polycythaemia usually has no symptoms but can lead to weakness, fatigue, headache, itching, joint pain, and dizziness. High EPO levels will thicken the blood and can lead to clotting, heart attack, and stroke.

If an athlete takes repeated doses of EPO to increase performance, it can stimulate the development of antibodies against EPO, and this can lead to an attack on EPO produced in the body also. This leads to a decrease in red blood cells and results in anemia.

Decreased EPO Levels

Low levels of EPO are usually caused by chronic kidney disease, and this results in anemia. Levels of RBC can also be reduced due to a number of other conditions, including hypoxia due to exercise and high altitudes. Synthetically made erythropoietin is given as a supplement to treat this. It is also used for patients with some rare types of cancer.

Tests To Detect EPO In Blood

The first test used to detect EPO was introduced at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. This is a combination of a blood and urine test to confirm the possible use of EPO.

In 2003, urine tests alone were accepted to detect the use of recombinant EPO.

The methods used to detect EPO are constantly being modified and improved to increase sensitivity. This is being done in order to detect the newer versions of EPO and EPO biosimilars that are used in doping.

Athlete Biological Passport

Athlete Biological Passport is a unique, personalized, and electronic record of an athlete’s biological values taken over time from multiple blood samples.

The main aim of this is to construct a profile and determine the natural levels of hormones and other chemicals in the athlete’s body. This information will help avoid the false positives that occur in doping tests due to naturally higher levels of EPO.

Recommendations For Maintaining Your Erythropoietin Levels

Lower levels of erythropoietin may be a result of your genetic predisposition to decreased EPO gene expression and RBC count.

Include food such as beef, spinach, kale, prunes, raisins, legumes, nuts, milk, cheese, carrots, red peppers, watermelon, grapefruit, and cantaloupe in your diet. These food types can help increase RBC production.

If the RBC count and erythropoietin levels are low even after supplementing through diet, consult a physician to find the underlying cause.

Summary

  1. Erythropoietin, a hormone produced by the kidneys and liver, is needed for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen. The main functions of this hormone are promoting the development of red blood cells by the bone marrow.
  2. Training leads to an increased oxygen demand by the muscles. To meet this demand, more EPO is necessary. Consuming synthetic EPO to improve aerobic capacity and endurance performance is considered blood doping and is banned in sports. Gene doping involves using gene therapy to introduce genes that can enhance athletic performance.
  3. The T allele of SNP rs1617640 found in the EPO gene leads to increased RBC count and aerobic capacity. Athletes with the TT and TG genotype have an increased aerobic advantage over the other genotype.
  4. Increased levels of EPO can lead to blood clotting, heart attack, and stroke. Blood screening and urine tests are widely used to detect EPO. Tests are being improved to detect newer synthetic forms of this hormone.
  5. Athlete Biological Passport was designed to keep a record of an individual’s natural levels of various hormones and other chemicals. This will help in the accurate detection of doping.
    Certain food items like beef, spinach, red peppers, and watermelon can increase RBC production. Consult a physician if you have lower levels even after changing your diet.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3579209/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24504226/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205200059.htm
https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/erythropoietin
https://www.medicinenet.com/erythropoietin/article.htm
https://www.wada-ama.org/en/questions-answers/epo-detection

© Copyright 2010-20 - Xcode Life - All Rights Reserved
heartheart-pulsegiftchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram