Anti-inflammatory effect of exercise may reduce disease risk


Exercise’s anti-inflammatory effects could help reduce the risk of arthritis, diabetes and obesity, according to a US study.

One 20-minute session of moderate exercise stimulates our immune system, creating an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, according to a study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity.

Immune response kick-started

The brain and sympathetic nervous system, which accelerates the heart rate and raises blood pressure, are activated during exercise.

During this process, hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine are also released into the blood stream. These trigger adrenergic receptors, which immune cells possess.

The immunological response includes the production of the protein TNF, a key regulator inflammation, says senior author Suzi Hong.

A single session of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five per cent drop in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF.

New treatment for number of diseases

Knowing how the regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins are started could help develop new therapies for those with chronic inflammatory conditions, including autoimmune diseases.

The study showed that the workout sessions didn’t have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Inflammation is a key part of the immune system, helping the body to heal itself after an injury, while also helping it defend itself against viruses and bacteria.

But chronic inflammation can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, celiac disease, obesity and other conditions.

Knowing that exercise could act as an anti-inflammatory is an “exciting step forward” in treatment possibilities, says Hong.


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