Posted on Oct 28, 2022, 5 p.m.
A study recently published in Endocrinology conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine has revealed that short-term lifestyle changes can disrupt blood vessels' responses to insulin. This study is believed to be the first to provide human evidence, as well as the first to show that men and women react differently to these changes.
According to W.H.O. cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of global deaths, claiming an estimated 17.9 million lives annually, more than 4 out of 5 of these deaths being due to heart attacks and strokes, with one-third of these deaths occurring prematurely in those under the age of 70.
Vascular disease affects the circulatory system, arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and the body’s network of blood vessels, some types of this disease include but are not limited to aneurysms, atherosclerosis, blood clots, coronary artery disease, stroke, varicose veins, and vasculitis. Vascular insulin resistance is a characteristic of obesity and type 2 diabetes that contributes to vascular disease.
In this study, the researchers examined vascular insulin resistance in healthy men and women by exposing them to 10 days of reduced physical activity by reducing their step counts from 10,000 to 5,000 per day while increasing their sugary beverage intake to 6 cans of soda a day.
"We know that incidence of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease is lower in premenopausal women compared to men, but we wanted to see how men and women reacted to reduced physical activity and increased sugar in their diet over a short period of time," said Camila Manrique-Acevedo, MD, associate professor of medicine.
The results revealed that a sedentary lifestyle and increased sugary intake caused a decrease in insulin-stimulated leg blood flow and a decrease in levels of the protein adropin which regulates insulin sensitivity and is an important biomarker for cardiovascular disease, but interestingly this was only seen in men.
"These findings underscore a sex-related difference in the development of vascular insulin resistance induced by adopting a lifestyle high in sugar and low on exercise," said Manrique-Acevedo. "To our knowledge, this is the first evidence in humans that vascular insulin resistance can be provoked by short-term adverse lifestyle changes, and it's the first documentation of sex-related differences in the development of vascular insulin resistance in association with changes in adropin levels."
The researchers would like to build on this study by next investigating how long it takes to reverse these vascular and metabolic changes as well as more fully examining the impact of the role of gender in the development of vascular insulin resistance.
The study, "Young women are protected against vascular insulin resistance induced by adoption of an obesogenic lifestyle," was recently published in the journal Endocrinology. Part of the support for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health and a VA Merit Grant. The content does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agency. The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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