When it comes down to it, the aging process is merely a cascade of inflammatory reactions. Physical exercise can help reduce the inflammation, as can supplementation with the miracle plant substance resveratrol. Of the two options physical exercise works best, write Danish biologists at the University of Copenhagen in article that will soon be published in Experimental Gerontology.
When it comes down to it, the aging process is merely a cascade of inflammatory reactions. Physical exercise can help reduce the inflammation, as can supplementation with the miracle plant substance resveratrol. Of the two options physical exercise works best, write Danish biologists at the University of Copenhagen in article in Experimental Gerontology.
The concentration of inflammatory proteins TNF-alpha and Interleukin-6 [IL-6] is two to four times higher in elderly people than in young people. Elderly people’s bodies are full of low-grade inflammation reactions, which gradually impede their physical functioning. Insulin sensitivity decreases, muscles become weaker and fat mass increases – to name just a few of the developments associated with old age.
Physical exercise and plant-based substances such as resveratrol help delay this process. Both exercise and resveratrol activate the energy sensors AMPK and SIRT1, which in turn activate the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma co-activator 1-alpha [PGC-1-alpha]. PGC-1-alpha helps cells to manufacture more mitochondria – and therefore also generate more energy – and can also boost the production of antioxidant compounds.
But what works better? Physical exercise or resveratrol? And does PGC-1-alpha really play such a key role? The Danes answered the question by setting up an animal study using ordinary mice [WT] and mice without PGC-1-alpha [KO].
The researchers let some of their lab animals use a treadmill as much as they wanted [T]. These mice ran about six kilometres a week. Other mice had no access to a treadmill [UT]. Some mice were given ordinary feed [C]; others were given feed that contained 0.4 percent resveratrol [R].
The experiment started when the mice were three months old and lasted for one year. During this period the mice put on weight and built up more visceral fat [V=AT] and subcutaneous fat [S-AT]. Resveratrol supplementation inhibited the process, but exercise worked better. The combination of resveratrol and exercise worked best in the WT mice.
The concentration of TNF-alpha and IL-6 in the blood of the WT mice that did no exercise and were not given resveratrol increased during the aging process. Resveratrol inhibited a rise in TNF-alpha, as did exercise. Exercise inhibited the rise in IL-6 in the WT mice; the effect of resveratrol supplementation was not statistically significant.
During the aging process the amount of carbonyl protein [damaged proteins] in the muscle tissue of the WT mice increased. Both resveratrol and exercise reduced the increase. During the aging process the muscle cells also started to make an increasing amount of TNF-alpha. Exercise reduced this increase; resveratrol had no significant effect.
The researchers conclude from their experiments with the KO mice that PGC-1-alpha is indeed involved in some of the positive effects of both resveratrol and exercise, but not in all of them. They also conclude that the positive effect of exercise is stronger than that of resveratrol supplementation.
The dose of resveratrol that the Danes used was high. Converted into human terms you’re talking about 2-4 g per day. Perhaps the Dane’s opinion of resveratrol would have been more positive if they had used a lower dose.
There are animal studies in which resveratrol supplementation – using lower doses than the Danes did – enhanced the effect of endurance training on condition. There are also animal studies in which resveratrol in combination with endurance training helps to maintain the physical condition of aging lab animals – again using a lower dose than the Danes did. Finally, there are also human studies in which a daily dose of 150 mg has been shown to make overweight men healthier.
Role of PGC-1? in exercise training- and resveratrol-induced prevention of age-associated inflammation.
Olesen J, Ringholm S, Nielsen MM, Brandt CT, Pedersen JT, Halling JF, Goodyear LJ, Pilegaard H.
Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, August Krogh Centre, August Krogh Building, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Age-related metabolic diseases are often associated with low-grade inflammation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1? in the potential beneficial effects of exercise training and/or resveratrol in the prevention of age-associated low-grade inflammation. To address this, a long-term voluntary exercise training and resveratrol supplementation study was conducted.
Three month old whole body PGC-1? KO and WT mice were randomly assigned to four groups: untrained chow-fed, untrained chow-fed supplemented with resveratrol, chow-fed voluntarily exercise trained and chow-fed supplemented with resveratrol and voluntarily exercise trained. The intervention lasted 12months and three month old untrained chow-fed mice served as young controls.
Voluntary exercise training prevented an age-associated increase (p<0.05) in systemic IL-6 and adiposity in WT mice. PGC-1? expression was required for a training-induced prevention of an age-associated increase (p<0.05) in skeletal muscle TNF? protein. Independently of PGC-1?, both exercise training and resveratrol prevented an age-associated increase (p<0.05) in skeletal muscle protein carbonylation.
The present findings highlight that exercise training is a more effective intervention than resveratrol supplementation in reducing age-associated inflammation and that PGC-1? in part is required for the exercise training-induced anti-inflammatory effects.
PMID: 23916840 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]