Today we'll look at the results of a recent study that examined the effects of a short, moderate-intensity exercise session on cellular inflammatory responses. In other words, the researchers wanted to find out if short exercise sessions diminish inflammation.
The incredible study results shed light on the relationship between inflammation and bone damage, osteoporosis, and osteopenia.
We'll look at the nuts and bolts of inflammation and bone remodeling, and you'll learn how to use this study's findings to protect and strengthen your bones.
Acute Exercise And Inflammation
Multiple studies have shown that dietary choices can reduce systemic inflammation. But a recent study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity by researchers from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, posited that even a short, moderate-intensity (acute) session of physical activity would reduce inflammation.
They tested this hypothesis by asking 47 participants to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes at a rate that constituted moderate exertion for each participant. The researchers took blood samples before and after the exercise sessions to test for levels of tumor necrosis factor cytokines (TNF).1
TNF is a protein secreted by cells of the immune system to perform a particular function. One of TNF's core functions is signaling for the body to amass inflammatory cells. This function can be useful, as when the body needs inflammatory immune cells to fight off an infection. But too much inflammation causes unwanted health conditions, contributing to diabetes, obesity, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, and osteoporosis.2,3
When the researchers tested the participants' blood samples, they found that 20 minutes of moderate exercise reduced the number of cells that produce TNF by 5%.1
In one of the study authors’ own words:
“Our study shows a workout session does not actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half an hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient.” 1
Researchers found that 20 minutes of moderate exercise was enough to decrease damaging inflammation.
Inflammation and Bone Health
Studies have linked inflammation to damaged bones and to excessive bone loss, leading to or worsening osteoporosis and osteopenia. There are a number of cytokines and other inflammatory proteins that regulate both the immune response and bone resorption. As a result, the activity and proliferation of immune cells during inflammation affects the bone remodeling process carried out by osteoclasts (the cells that remove old bone) and osteoblasts (the cells that deposit new bone).3
For example, C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive marker of systemic inflammation, present in people with immune and inflammatory diseases. Studies have linked elevated CRP levels to low bone mineral density.3
RANKL is a TNF-family molecule that plays several roles in the immune system, such as regulating T cell/dendritic cell communication and lymph node formation. RANKL is also part of the development and activation of osteoclasts and the stimulation of bone resorption.3
RANKL is so important for bone resorption that Big Pharma has created drugs like Prolia (denosumab) that interrupt RANKL's function to reduce bone resorption, in an attempt to increase bone mass.4 However, the interruption of the bone remodeling process, just as with bisphosphonates, leads to unhealthy bones that are riddled with microcracks and weakness.5
Inflammation causes RANKL expression and the proliferation of cytokines that cause accelerated bone resorption. This molecular co-incidence of inflammation and bone loss underscores the importance of exercising on a regular basis to reduce inflammation and support bone remodeling.
The proteins that cause inflammation also interfere with the creation and activation of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, causing bone loss.
Reduce Inflammation To Protect Your Bones
Now that you know about the anti-inflammatory power of a moderate 20-minute workout, you have another simple, repeatable, strategy for reducing inflammation and protecting your bones. That's one more reason why you should never take osteoporosis drugs that artificially alter the bone remodeling process.
Regular weight-bearing exercise is already a core component of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. This study confirms that Savers are on the right path to staying strong and fracture free.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.