Diabetes MellitusExerciseLiver Disease

Might exercise benefit diabetics with fatty liver?

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland believe this is the first study of its kind.

The results were presented during the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

First, the details.

  • 77 diabetic adults were divided into two groups.
  • Over 6 months, half participated in a moderate program of sustained aerobic exercise consisting of 45-minute sessions 3 times a week.
    • They could bicycle, run on a treadmill or take brisk walks.
    • In addition, they lifted stacked weights for about 20 minutes, 3 times a week, but not at a heavy-duty pace.
  • The other half of the participants avoided formal aerobic fitness or gym classes.

And, the results.

  • Special magnetic resonance imaging scans at the start and end of the study showed exercisers achieved lower levels of liver fat (5.6%), while levels remained the same in nonexercisers (8.5%).
  • There was better general fitness and less fatness among exercisers vs the nonexercisers.
  • The average peak oxygen uptake level during treadmill testing (aka V02; a measure of heart work) increased 13% among exercisers.
  • Muscles were stronger by 7%, while percentages of body fat and body weight were lower by 6% among exercisers.
  • Even waistlines shrunk on average by 2 inches with exercise.

Now we’re talkin’!

The bottom line?
“The benefits in improved fitness and fatness are clear, and physicians should really have all people with type 2 diabetes actively engaged in an exercise program,” concluded Dr. Kerry Stewart.

Dr. Stewart is Professor of Medicine and Director of Clinical and Research Exercise Physiology at Johns Hopkins. Here’s a link to 2 articles by Dr. Stewart that encourage “simple steps to get active and reap the benefits.”

9/21/08 16:45 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.