Blood Sugar

Exercise Triggers Muscle to Burn Fat Via Newly Discovered Mechanism

by Mike Mutzel





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About this Podcast:

A recently published study of approximately 20,000 subjects found a strong correlation between metabolic health and the degree of muscle fatness—the marbled meat-like appearance scientists call myosteatosis.

Good quality muscle is characterized by low ectopic fat infiltration. Muscle mass and muscle quality are linked to better health outcomes, researchers have found.

Although it’s long been known that insulin resistance and the associated decline in metabolic health is linked with fat being deposited in organs like the pancreas, liver and heart, researchers haven’t yet developed a muscle quality index of sorts.

This team developed a new way to reliably assess muscle quality in humans using CT imaging combined with metabolic health indexes. Poor metabolic health was defined as having two or more components of the metabolic syndrome.

Higher levels of poor-quality muscle were found in metabolically unhealthy subjects when compared to metabolically healthy subjects. Interestingly, even though the obese subjects tended to have higher levels of overall muscle mass compared to the non-obese subjects, the obese subjects had significantly higher levels of poor-quality muscle. Even more, the presence of poor-quality muscle was independently associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome in non-obese men and women.

In conclusion, the quality of muscle may be as or more important than the overall quantity of muscle. The combination of real food nutrition with sufficient resistance and aerobic exercise seems to be the secret sauce for supporting the formation of high-quality muscle.


Show Notes:

01:31 Marbled unhealthy muscle is characteristic of insulin resistance. Fats are depositing in tissues and over-filling fat cells.

REF: Kim, H.-K., Lee, M. J., Kim, E. H., Bae, S.-J., Kim, K. W., & Kim, C.-H. (2021). Comparison of muscle mass and quality between metabolically healthy and unhealthy phenotypes. Obesity, 29(8), 1375–1386.

02:25 Myosteatosis is the fat building up in muscle. About 70% of glucose goes into muscle tissue.

03:12 There is a strong correlation between metabolic health and the degree of muscle fatness. The more unhealthy you are, the more unhealthy your muscle.

05:35 Obese study subjects had significantly higher levels of poor-quality muscle, which was independently associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome.

05:50 Muscle Fatness/Obesity/Bone Loss is osteosarcopenic obesity, which is characteristic of overweight people who lose muscle and bone.

REF: Ormsbee, M. J., Prado, C. M., Ilich, J. Z., Purcell, S., Siervo, M., Folsom, A., & Panton, L. (2014). Osteosarcopenic obesity: the role of bone, muscle, and fat on health. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 5(3), 183–192.

09:30 Lifting to failure means that you cannot do another. Intensity matters.

10:44 With intense exercise, muscle was able to signal white adipose tissue via an extra-cellular vesical. It is a direct mechanism.  This causes increased sensitization to catecholamine stimulation of lipolysis.

REF: Vechetti, I. J., Peck, B. D., Wen, Y., Walton, R. G., Valentino, T. R., Alimov, A. P., et al. (2021). Mechanical overload-induced muscle-derived extracellular vesicles promote adipose tissue lipolysis. The FASEB Journal, 35(6), e21644.

11:48 Lipolysis is the release of energy.

12:30 The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate.

12:55 Pushing your muscles to failure can directly enhance your fat cell’s ability to release stored energy.

13:00 Fat oxidation occurs within the mitochondria within muscle tissue and liver.

13:30 Many fat lipids are recycled. This recycling declines as you become more insulin resistant.

14:37 Healthy skeletal muscle contributes to whole body glucose metabolism, leptin levels and insulin sensitivity. Frequency of workouts and intensity matter when it comes to muscle.

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