I was recently reading about a presentation put forth at the North American Radiological Society by a Research Fellow at the University of California San Francisco, which you can find here. Though this article concludes moderate activity may be the key to saving knees, this article also suggests that too much exercise led to early degenerative cartilage changes in the knees of healthy people aged 45 – 60 and in those at risk for osteoarthritis on examination of the structural changes of the knee using MRI over a period of 4 years.
I would argue, however, that for the average Canadian, sedentary lifestyles are perhaps more problematic and more prevalent in our North American population compared to those who participate in too much movement as evidenced by the numerous accounts of the increasing weight epidemic and diabetes, or “diabesity” problem.
Before you jump to the conclusion that too much exercise indeed predisposes a person to early degenerative knee changes, in defence of the importance of exercise, it may also be important to know that population in this study were at high risk for knee osteoarthritis because of family history, obesity, and/or a history of knee injury or replacement surgery.
Lin, W. et al. (2012). High levels of physical activity are associated with greater cartilage degeneration over a period of 4 years as assessed with T2 relaxation time measurements – 3T MRI data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Radiological Society of North America.
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I was reading two fantastic articles discussing nutrigenomics – how nutrients interact with our genes to produce health and disease. Despite the massive promotion of “low-fat” food labels, as a society we have seen the rapid increase in the prevalence of increased weight, obesity and obesity-related health conditions. There are many studies which suggest how lipogenesis, the production of fat, may be regulated in people. It is thought that more than 20 genes are involved in regulating fat storage, appetite, the ability to process glucose and energy use.
When it comes to our waistlines, a protein specifically secreted from our adipose (fat) tissue named leptin is often cited. Leptin is a protein which is transported to the part of our brain known as the hypothalamus. It is significant in the discussion of weight reduction and maintenance because its binding of specific receptors in our brain affect neuro/endocrine signaling and elicit the feeling of satiety after a meal. What we know is that food intake is controlled in part by inhibitory signals such as leptin; when this signal diminishes, this signals our body that it is time to eat.
When you gain weight, your lepin signaling becomes distorted. In addition to this, your body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas, and keeps your blood glucose at normal levels by moving it from the blood stream into the cells of your body. Conditions such as diabetes arise when your body becomes resistant to insulin, or does not produce enough insulin, meaning you need more insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. This creates a somewhat vicious cycle – you may be recommended to take more insulin to regulate your blood sugars, gain more weight as a result, and need more insulin use.
As your Naturopathic Doctor, nutrigenomics is one important component of your treatment plan that we examine. Signals such as leptin and insulin affect your ability to turn off your fat genes and reduce your waistline so you can swap your “fat jeans” for your “phat” jeans.
“Phat” – urban dictionary, meaning cool, trendy.
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