Ever thought what helps burn fat across your body while exercising?
According to a study, it is a molecule in our muscles that is produced during exercise and contributes to the beneficial effects of exercise on metabolism.
"Our finding bolsters the underlying notion that signals generated in exercising muscle are released into the circulation and influence other tissues such as fat cells and liver," said senior author Robert Gerszten at Massachusetts General Hospital, the primary teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.
The researchers knew that a protein called PGC-1? regulates metabolic genes in muscle and contributes to the response of muscle to exercise.
But how this protein conveys signals to other tissues was unclear so far.
Gerszten and his colleagues forced the expression of PGC-1? in muscle cells and then looked for metabolites that were secreted from the cells.
They identified ?-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA) as one such metabolite and found that it increased fat cells' expression of genes that are involved with burning calories.
BAIBA also decreased weight gain and helped balance blood sugar levels in mice, said the study published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Further research revealed that BAIBA levels rise during exercise and are inversely associated with metabolic risk factors.
"The findings suggest that BAIBA may contribute to exercise-induced protection from metabolic diseases. Manipulating BAIBA - or enzymes that generate BAIBA - may have therapeutic potential," said Gerszten.