Sunday, July 1, 2012

Aerobics and Cholesterol Absorption by Jerry Brainum

   Aerobics, or endurance exercise, beneficially affects several cardiovascular risk factors. It lowers blood pressure, increases nitric oxide release in blood vessels and lowers elevated blood lipids, or fats, such as cholesterol. A new study, presented at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in San Francisco earlier this year, illustrated a novel way that aerobics lowers cholesterol.
The study measured levels of sterols, substances produced in the cholesterol synthesis pathway, in 30 sedentary subjects (20 women, 10 men, average age 59) before and after six months of aerobics training. The results showed a trend for a 20 percent increase in the sterol campesterol, along with an increase in protective high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and a lowering of blood triglycerides, or fat.

   The significance of this is that cam­pesterol interferes with the uptake and absorption of food cholesterol, as well as cholesterol produced in the body. That leads to increased cholesterol excretion and a lowering of blood cholesterol levels. Note that cholesterol, unlike fat, cannot be burned, and excretion is the only way the body can dispose of an excess. So aerobics may help prevent cardiovascular disease through this previously unknown mechanism.

Feeney, L.A., et al. (2006). Effect of endurance exercise on markers of cholesterol absorption and synthesis. Med Sci Sports Exer. 38:S483-S484.

©,2012, Jerry Brainum.Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.