Building Muscles to Fight Diabetes

Increasing lean muscle mass—known to be a key in fighting frailty associated with aging (a condition called sarcopenia)–may also help protect against diabetes. A new study reports that every additional 10 percent of skeletal muscle mass is associated with reductions of 11 percent in insulin resistance and 12 percent in prediabetes or diabetes.

Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues recently evaluated the data on 12,644 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, from 1988 to 1994, and discovered the connection. After adjusting for other contributing factors for diabetes, including generalized and abdominal obesity, they found that individuals with the greatest muscle mass were 63 percent less prone to the disease.

“Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass,” says Srikanthan. “This is a welcome message for overweight patients that experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as contributing to metabolic change.

Source: Natural Awakenings Magazine, June 2012

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