Exercise changes DNA – even after just 1 workout
Patients at Solutions Acupuncture & Naturopathic Medicine learn very quickly when they come to our Phoenix office that I am not Anti-Western medicine. I love medicine! All types of medicine! I happen to practice Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture because I see that it is the most effective path for dealing with so many health issues. But certainly there’s a time and place for Conventional Medicine.
The area of Conventional Medicine that I believe holds the most promise, is Genetic Medicine; The ability to impact genetic expression may be the key to curing cancer, autoimmune disease , alzheimer’s etc.
I had always thought that this was an area of medicine that Naturopaths would be left out of; It’s really the provence of high-tech medicine. But a new study proves me wrong!
Exercise, even a single workout, has measurable effects of genetic expression.
Time Magazine is reporting on a study in the medical journal Cell Metabolism that measured changes in the DNA of muscles cells post-exercise. What these researches found was nothing short of astonishing!
Off the Couch and Into the Lab
How the study worked is like this: The researches took a group of habitual non-exercisers and put them on an exercise bike. Small samples of quadriceps muscle tissue was biopsied before and after exercise. The muscle cells after exercise showed increased gene activity and their DNA showed alterations in methylation levels. Methylation is a process of shifting Methyl groups around on the DNA which determines which switches get turned on and off – to produce different proteins, enzymes or increase or decrease cell replication. The point is, with billions of dollars being invested in genetic research every year, we have at our disposal already a potent modifier of genetic expression – Exercise! If you could put this effect in a pill, you’d have the wonder-drug of the century!
Hope for the Lazy!
What’s most heartening about this research is the benefits start right after your first workout! You don’t have to get into super shape to start influencing your genes. They did, however find that more strenous exercise led to even more changes. Just think of the compounded effect of years of exercise on your genes! (not to mention your jeans).
The lesson I take away from this research is that Lifestyle Changes – the Core of Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture – have profound impacts on our genetic expression. We are actually rebuilding ourselves day-in and day-out based on our lifestyle decisions.
This gives us incredible power over our own health. The question we all must ask ourselves is, what will we do with this power?