While diet has the greatest impact on your weight, exercise is an important part of the total equation. It’s the ultimate levering agent for optimal health too. Exercise influences your biology in so many ways, it’s virtually impossible to pin down its benefits to one particular thing.
That said, recent research suggests a fat-burning hormone, released during exercise, plays a role.1,2,3,4 This hormone, irisin (aka, FNDC5), helps your body shed fat and keeps body fat from forming in the first place. As reported by Epoch Times:5
“Irisin appears to work by boosting the activity of genes and a protein that are crucial to turning white fat cells into brown cells. It also significantly increases the amount of energy used by those cells, indicating it has a role in burning fat.”
Tests show irisin is able to suppress fat cell formation by 20 to 60 percent. Normally, your body produces only small quantities of irisin. Exercise is the key to boosting its production.
Fat-Busting Hormone Also Improves Heart Function and More
Previous research into the effects of irisin — which is also classified as a myokine,6 meaning a cytokine or chemical messenger produced by muscle — suggests it has a number of beneficial health effects, including:7
- Reducing arterial plaque buildup by preventing the accumulation of inflammatory cells, hence lowering your risk of atherosclerosis
- Increasing the metabolic rate and energy expenditure in your myocardium (the thickest layer of your heart muscle)
- Increasing mitochondrial biogenesis
- Inducing telomere elongation in cells.8 In humans, telomere length and integrity plays a role in diseases, disease susceptibility and aging.
Short telomeres are a risk factor for many diseases, including decreased immune function, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, atherosclerotic lesions and DNA damage
Irisin May Improve Diagnosis of Common Endocrine Disorder
Interestingly, irisin may also be used as a marker for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in teenage girls.9 As such, it may allow doctors to diagnose the condition easier and result in earlier treatment.
PCOS10 is the most common endocrine and metabolic disease affecting women of reproductive age (puberty to menopause). An estimated 10 to 20 percent of women of reproductive age struggle with this problem.
While many of the symptoms involve the ovaries, these abnormalities are the result of a much larger metabolic problem. Common criteria for a diagnosis of PCOS include:
- The complete or almost complete lack of ovulation
- Increased androgen (male hormone) production; facial hair and/or acne
- Hyperinsulinemia (insulin resistance with elevated serum insulin levels)
Any hormone problem that interferes with normal ovulation results in what is known as a “polycystic” ovary which, regardless of the cause, will produce increased amounts of androgen. Conversely, increased androgen production interferes with normal ovulation.
Evidence suggests obesity plays a role in the androgen excess syndrome; overweight women produce increased androgens even if they have no underlying abnormality in the adrenal gland.
Dr. John Lee, who has written about PCOS on my website, also believes in utero exposure to xenobiotics — environmental pollutants that mimic estrogen — can be a causative factor.
The Benefits of Brown Fat
Getting back to the main focus of this article, irisin appears to be an important player in weight loss associated with exercise. As mentioned, a key part of this benefit is due to its ability to transform white fat cells into brown fat cells, the latter of which primarily burn energy rather than storing it.
Based on animal models, researchers estimate that just 50 grams of brown fat (which is less than what most study volunteers have been found to have) can burn about 20 percent of your daily caloric intake, so the impact of having more brown fat can be rather significant.
Research has shown that certain groups of people tend to have more brown fat than others, and there are direct correlations between the activation of brown fat and metabolic measures of good health. For example:
- Slender people have more brown fat than obese people do
- Younger people have more brown fat than older people
- People with normal blood sugar levels have more brown fat than those with high blood sugar
Brown Fat Is More Akin to Muscle Than Fat
As newborns we have a healthy supply of brown fat to keep warm, but by adulthood we lose most of our brown fat stores, which are typically found in the neck area, around blood vessels (which helps warm your blood), and “marbled” in with white fat in visceral fat tissue. The good news is you can increase your supply of brown fat. In addition to exercise, brown fat can be activated through cryotherapy,13,14 meaning exposure to cold temperatures such as ice baths or cold showers.
Interestingly, brown fat actually behaves more like muscle than fat, which helps explain its fat-burning capabilities. Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D., has published a number of studies on brown fat,15 and in one, he identified a “master switch” that promotes the production of brown fat. This molecular switch, known as PRDM16, regulates whether immature cells will turn into brown fat or into muscle cells.
So white and brown fat cells have very different origins. Brown fat is more closely related to muscle. Another set of researchers from Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center found yet another trigger for brown fat — a bone morphogenetic protein called BMP-7, which also promotes bone growth.16,17,18 BMP-7 acts as a growth factor for brown fat.
The Importance of Brief, High-Intensity Workouts
As mentioned, irisin is a kind of myokine, or muscle-derived chemical messenger or protein. In 2014, I interviewed Dr. Doug McGuff on this topic. In that interview (included above for your convenience), he explained the significance of myokines and the most effective way to boost their production. Myokines are very anti-inflammatory, and research suggests myokines may play an important role in combating metabolic syndrome and cancer, for example. As noted by McGuff, myokines:
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Increase glucose utilization inside your muscles
- Increase liberation of fat from adipose fat cells
- Increase burning of fat, and inhibit body fat irrespective of calorie intake
- Inhibit release and effect of inflammatory cytokines produced by body fat
Your diet is one of the major ways in which you can give either the right or wrong tissue the competitive advantage. By eating inflammatory foods, such as sugar/fructose, grains, other high-net-carb foods, trans fats and processed foods in general, your body will generate inflammatory cytokines. And you simply cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. No amount of exercise will successfully create enough myokines to out compete the inflammatory cytokines produced by an unhealthy diet.
That said, in combination with a healthy fat-burning diet, one of the most effective ways to boost myokines is by high-intensity strength training, also known as SuperSlow weight lifting. Regular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can also be used, but SuperSlow strength training is more effective for boosting myokines. (Both will boost human growth hormone (HGH), which is another potent fitness and anti-aging hormone.)
While high-intensity strength training gives you all the benefits of HIIT — including all the cardiovascular benefits — it also induces a rapid and deep level of muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue triggers the synthesis of more contractile tissue, along with all the metabolic components to support it — including more myokines. To learn more about high-intensity strength training, please see this previous article on SuperSlow weight lifting.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!
Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
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Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?
True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:
To your health!
PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...
I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.