New research highlights 'widespread benefits' of exercise on metabolism

The connection between exercise and metabolism may be even more important to a person’s health than scientists previously thought, according to new research published in Cardiovascular Research.

The authors explored data from 52 study participants before and after they took part in an 80-day exercise program. All participants were young adult male soldiers, and the data was collected from March to August 2019.

The team noted “dramatic changes” in many of the approximately 200 metabolites they evaluated in each participant’s blood. Increased aerobic fitness was associated with shifts in a variety of metabolic substrates, including lipids, ketone bodies, arginine metabolites, endocannabinoids, and nucleotides.  

“These results show that metabolic adaptation to exercise is far more profound than previously reported,” senior author John F. O’Sullivan, MD, PhD, University of Sydney in Australia, said in a statement. “The results increase our knowledge of the widespread benefits of exercise on metabolism and reveal for the first time the true magnitude of these effects. This reinforces the mandate for exercise as a critical part of programs to prevent cardiovascular disease.”

In addition, an association was observed between the metabolite dimethylguanidino valeric acid (DMGV) and participants who did not experience the full metabolic benefits of exercise.

“This is intriguing because a recent study also found that this metabolite predicted who did not benefit from exercise,” O’Sullivan said in the same statement. “DMGV levels are influenced by genetics and diet, rising with sugary drinks and falling with vegetables and fiber. Measuring DMGV may identify people who need strategies other than exercise to reduce their cardiovascular risk.”