Exercise Hormone May Protect Against Alzheimer’s

Everyone knows we need to exercise. For some folks, it isn’t hard; they enjoy exercising. For many of us, it’s a chore that we put off. Having more reasons to do it makes us more likely to stick to it. Exercise not only keeps you healthy but aids blood sugar levels. According to a new study, it may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The hormone irisin increases in the body after exercising. Irisin regulates glucose and lipid metabolism in fat tissues. It also appears to reduce amyloid-beta deposits in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid is a protein that can lead to organ damage.  

Older studies have shown that exercise appeared to reduce amyloid-beta deposits in mice. But researchers hadn’t known why. This study found that, in humans, it’s related to the hormone irisin. Understanding the cause helps researchers develop new therapies based on their findings.

The discovery suggests “a new target pathway for therapies aimed at the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a senior study author and director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Genetics and Aging Research Unit.

It’s amazing that discoveries of natural processes in the body can lead to new treatments. However, treatments often take years to develop and be introduced to the market. They have to be made, tested and cleared for safety. There is a far more immediate takeaway: exercise may help prevent Alzheimer’s. While drugs might be the researchers’ ultimate goal, we can all put this into practice in our everyday lives.

Whether you are physically fit or more sedentary, it’s good to think about how much movement and exercise you get in a day. Studies have found that weekend warriors can be as fit as people who work out daily. However, more is generally considered better. We’re not saying that you have to become a gym rat. But this study shows that doing something that gets your heart pumping once a day may improve your brain health! Putting some extra effort into your cleaning routine, parking farther away from the store and taking other small steps can add up!

Exercise doesn’t have to be unpleasant. You can go for enjoyable walks, take a fun class or dance around your home! Some people love treadmills and weight circuits at the gym, and that’s great, but everyone can find a form of exercise that works for them to help their body and brain stay healthy.  

Banner image: Andres Ayrton via Pexels

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