Muscle loss study finds potential key to prevent diabetes and obesity

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered that blocking a protein molecule known as myostatin can prevent age-induced muscle loss. The study’s findings, which were published in the journal Cell Metabolism, have implications for preventing chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and may help bedridden patients.

The NTU researchers discovered that myostatin binds to muscles and reduces cells’ energy generator components, known as mitochondria. This “lack of energy” leads to decreased muscle tissue. Small amounts of mitochondria being lost is essential for cell generation, but when people suffer from an ailment and are bedridden, they have disproportionate amounts of myostatin.

“Over the years, our research has revealed that this type of muscle wasting is initiated by excess levels of myostatin in the body,” said research author Ravi Kambadur, Ph.D., an associate professor at NTU. “If we block myostatin from binding to cells, then muscles won’t waste away and we can then mitigate the effects of aging and chronic diseases.”

According to the study authors, inhibiting the myostatin protein also causes the body to go into “fat-burning mode.” Keeping the body in this state would help ward off obesity, which, many times, is the culprit behind type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes facts
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes due to obesity, family history or lack of adequate physical activity. Nearly 25.8 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of diabetes and nearly 7 million are undiagnosed. If the current trend of diabetes development continues, nearly one-third of U.S. adults will have the condition by 2050.

Diabetes prevention
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that a key part of diabetes prevention is smart dieting. The source recommends eating large amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. People should also try to cut back on their sugary drink consumption and snack foods. Individuals can consume more vegetables by starting their meals with a salad or eating soups that have vegetable-based broths. According to the University of Maryland, omega-3 fatty acids can also help patients manage diabetes by raising good cholesterol levels and reducing triglycerides and apoproteins. People can get omega-3s from chia seeds, flax seeds and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.

Being physically active is also conducive to warding off diabetes, reports the ADA, because it can help lower blood glucose levels. People should try to engage in a mixed regimen of physical activity that includes walking exercises, strength training exercises and aerobic activities.