Posted by: Hourglass PJ22 JAN 2014
Although the benefits of physical activity are well known, the metabolic changes producing these benefits are less clear. However, researchers at the Harvard Medical School have recently demonstrated that a protein, PGC-1a (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha), regulates metabolic genes in muscle and contributes to the response of muscle to exercise.
Through experiments in cells and mice, they forced the expression of PGC-1a in muscle cells and then looked for metabolites that were secreted from the cells. They identified beta-amino-isobutyric acid (BAIBA) as one such metabolite and found that it increased fat cells’ expression of genes that are involved with burning calories. It also decreased weight gain and helped balance blood sugar levels in mice.
Analyses done in human studies have revealed that BAIBA levels rise during exercise and are inversely associated with metabolic risk factors such as fasting blood sugar levels, insulin, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.