Scientists at Monash University in Australia have discovered a new enzyme that works to improve our health through exercise. Promoting the enzyme’s activity helps protect against the results of aging, improves metabolic health and can reduce type 2 diabetes.
The worldwide population over 60 years of age will increase substantially in the next 30 years. Type 2 diabetes incidence increases with age which will result in a larger number of cases in the future given current trends.
The increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes with aging is the developing inability of the body to respond to insulin. Often this is due to reduced exercise and physical activity as people age. However, it has remained a mystery how the exact mechanisms through which exercise and physical inactivity clear the way for the development of the resistance to insulin.
The team shows that skeletal muscle ROS (reactive oxygen species) generation through aging is key in the growth of resistance to insulin. Skeletal muscles will produce ROS and is increased through exercise. This then drives adaptive responses that are key to health benefits. Levels of the enzyme NOX4 in skeletal muscle are directly linked to age associated decline in sensitivity to insulin.
The research shows how the enzyme NOX4 is necessary for ROS to be induced from exercise and then trigger the responses needed for metabolic health. It is the key to the mechanism that can be targeted through drugs for protection against the consequences of aging.
Using mice the team found that NOX4 increases in skeletal muscle following exercise and leads to higher levels of ROS. This evokes adaptive responses that protected the mice from developing resistance to insulin which will otherwise happen with aging or an induced obesity diet. An abundance of skeletal muscle NOX4 in mice models led to a reduction in sensitivity to insulin.
By provoking the activation of the mechanisms coordinated by NOX4 with drugs, it might alleviate key aspects of aging including the development of type 2 diabetes and resistance to insulin.
They did find that one of the compounds is found naturally in cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. However, the amount required for anti aging effects might be more than a person would want to consume.
To view the original scientific study click below:
Skeletal muscle NOX4 is required for adaptive responses that prevent insulin resistance