I’m feeling chubby and scientific today….a very dangerous combination!
Few of us regular folk work out for the sheer enjoyment of it. Most of us do it because we need to. I like the end results, but to be honest, if I could sit on my butt, drink wine and eat comfort food with the same result, I’d choose the latter. Unfortunately my biology doesn’t work that way (THANKS MOM!), so, as Yoda would say, “Work out I must.”
Thanks to a discovery I read today from an article in Health Magazine, there might just be a little more motivation to get my workout on a little more often: it seems that not only does a good workout put your body to work burning icky brown fat, but research shows that the release of the hormone irisin during exercise is thought to do double duty by stopping your body from forming new fat cells. Hallelujah!
Soon after the disovery of the existence of FNDC5, A.K.A. “irisin“, scientists began disputing whether irisin is just an inert, naturally ocurring hormone or if the human body is actually capable of increasing production and circulating it via exercise.
- A team of researchers at Harvard Medical School, led by Professor of Cancer Biology at Harvard Dana -Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Cell Biology and Medicine, Bruce M. Spiegelman, PhD, introduced the discovery of irisin and its production in both humans and mice, in 2012. Dr. Spiegelman presented the findings as part of a discussion, “Toward a New Generation of Therapies for Diabetes, Obesity and Muscular Disease,” at the University of Houston College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. But not everyone in the scientific community was convinced.
- Duke University questioned the Harvard results, suggesting that they couldn’t single out the prodution of exercise induced irisin due to the existence of other proteins in the blood that could have tainted the results.
In 2015, attempting to settle the dispute once and for all, Spiegleman and the rest of the Harvard team went back to work and conducted more precise testing using a technique called quantitative mass spectrometry to isolate the irisin protein.
For those of us not at the leading edge of scientific discovery think: Abby Sciuto of NCIS and her, frequently mentioned, “Major Mass Spec,” tool used for breaking down chemical components when the team is solving a crime.
Once the protein was isolated they were able to conduct a more precise 12 week study comparing the amount of irisin present in subjects who were sedentary to the amount present in the subjects who participated in a measured amount of aerobic interval training in the same 12 week period.
Their findings were published in the Aug. 13, 2015 issue of the Journal Cell Metabolism (Cell Metabolism, Vol. 22, Issue 4, p734–740), finally settling the lack of concensus.
The data concluded:
- The amount of irisin present in the blood of the sedentary subjects was 3.6 nanograms per mililiter of blood at the beginning and the end of the 12 weeks;
- The amount of irisin present in the blood of the participants in the aerobic training increased from 3.6 nanograms per mililiter of blood at the beginning to 4.3 nanograms per mililiter at the end of the 12 weeks (23.96% increase); and
- The 23.96 increase could be directly attributed to the amount of exercise the non-sedentary study participants completed.
That bit of science was good enough for me, so, while I toiled over the citations and details (plus the fun Yoda & Abby Sciuto references), I pulled my dusty Cubii under desk elliptical machine out and decided to create some irisin while I worked.
In a really shameless, totally unsolicited plug, I backed this fun device when it was under prodution as a Kickstarter campaign and then had to have major foot surgery, so it’s been sitting idle for about 4 months. It connects to my iPhone (via app), syncs with Fitbit, and is a non-impact way to not let your desk job ruin your good health!
In 125 minutes (2 hours 5 minutes) the health results for my semi-sedentary, Cubii workout while researching/blogging were more than I expected, although I was admittedly dripping wet when I finished:
- Burned 1243 Calories
- Took 14,244 Strides
- Logged 5.84 Miles from my dining room table & without shoes!
My only complaint with the Cubii software is that the calories burned comes in much lower than my Garmin Vivofit 2 (so, of course I am using the Garmin count) Hmmm. It gave me a good tally, but next time I’ll put my heart rate monitor on for an even more accurate calorie burning count.
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