And Yet Another Benefit of Exercise-Delay Onset of Osteoporosis


Researchers reported at the American Physiological Society’s Experimental Biology 2010’s conference (April 24-28) that the stage for osteoporosis is set before menopause but exercise can forestall it. It is known that decreasing estrogen levels are associated with osteoporosis but it is now believed that bone density starts to decline years before this according to Joseph Cannon, Keller Chair in Allied Health Sciences and principal investigator of the National Institute of Aging-funded study .
Cannon hypothesized that higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) decrease bone mineral density by influencing the production of cytokines (regulatory proteins produced by white blood cells). The researchers were especially interested in one cytokine, interleukin-1, that signals certain cells to transform into osteoclasts that break down and resorb bone.
They measured FSH and bone mineral density in 36 women between ages 20 and 50 and correlated higher FSH with lower bone density. Incubating FSH with white blood cells isolated from the women, interleukin-1 was stimulated and higher circulating levels of interleukin-1 was correlated with lower bone mineral density. In addition, subjects who exercised more than 180 minutes a week had greater bone density. Thus, the study provided more evidence that exercise is important to maintain bone density and seems to promote inhibiting factors that keep interleukin-1 and bone breakdown under control. The researchers plan more research to determine the mechanism of how exercise influences interleukin-1.

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