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As of 2013, less than half of high school students met current recommendations for level of physical activity. A much higher percentage of adolescent males participate in vigorous physical activity than do their female peers. White students are significantly more likely than black or Hispanic youth to meet recommended levels of physical activity.   In 2013, 50 percent of white students met recommended levels, compared with 41 and 45 percent of black and Hispanic youth, respectively. In 2013, ninth- and tenth-graders were more likely than eleventh- and twelfth-graders to get the recommended amount of physical activity (51 and 49 percent, versus 45 and 44 percent, respectively).
2013 estimates of vigorous physical activity among high school students (Grades 9-12) are available for select states and cities from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS): see Table 96.
Students from California, Oregon, Washington, and Minnesota were not included in the survey in any year. 1 Estimates do not include youth who dropped out of school and therefore may not reflect total national values.
Early childhood programs and policy should make development of social and emotional competencies a school readiness priority.
Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, catch us on YouTube and sign up to stay current with the latest news and updates with our E-News. Science, Technology and Medicine open access publisher.Publish, read and share novel research. Exercise and ImmunityHilde Grindvik Nielsen1[1] University College of Health Sciences – Campus Kristiania, Oslo, Norway1. However, there is growing concern, both internationally and in Hong Kong, over the problems of health facing students in the past decades.
The Audit Commission, Hong Kong (2009) has recently conducted a review titled a€?Healthier Lifestyle for Primary School Childrena€? to examine the Governmenta€™s efforts in fostering a healthier lifestyle for primary school children. Smoking, drinking, physical inactivity and obesity are classified as some of the risk factors that are detrimental to health.
The importance of physical fitness resulted from physical activity engagement is associated with improved health measurements (Malina, 1994) and reduces health risks induced by sedentary lifestyle (Pemberton & McSwegin, 1993).
Regular physical activities had been proved to be important means of not only maximizing human physical performance, but also productivity.
It is generally supported that attaining a certain level of fitness reduce health risks (Pemberton & McSwegin, 1993). However, it is shown that school children nowadays do not engage in sufficient physical activity for the benefit of health (Armstrong, 1990) and the evidence is accumulating that heart disease begins in childhood and adolescence (Harris, 1989).
It should also be noted that adult behavior has been proven to be so resistant to change, efforts need to be directed at children for the promotion of health through physical activities and active lifestyles before heart disease risk factors start to build up (Sleap, 1990).
On the whole, studentsa€™ health problems may result from nutritional deficiencies and unhygienic living conditions. Local education reform is oriented from better preparing students for rapid globalization, technological, economic and social changes, has been launched early twentieth-first Century. Concerning the curriculum framework, the following coherent and sequencing learning targets have also been recommended for use of the schools for promoting a€?Health and Fitnessa€? (Curriculum Development Council, 2002, p.
In 2007, the Curriculum Development Council and Hong Kong Examination and Assessment Authority published the PE Key Learning Area Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4a€“6). In the Curriculum Guide, the concept of healthy living is further elaborated as a€?it fosters the development of a lifelong interest in participating in sport and physical activity. There were the consensus of views generated from PE teachers concerning physical activity and health. Health is an important goal for students, new initiatives to promote the awareness of the health concepts like a€?heath-related fitnessa€?, a€?healthy livinga€?, a€?active lifestylesa€?, a€?lifetime sportsa€? and a€?public healtha€? have been initiated and promoted in the current revival as justification for PE in the school curriculum. Having said that, Sleap (1990) alerted us that there might be some PE teachers who would urge caution and reservation of promoting healthy living through PE. As a matter of fact, it has been commonly promoted with the mode of cross curricular approach ending up less effective and efficient health promotion programmes in respective subjects.
As a matter of fact as revealed in the survey on PE lesson time of Primary 4 students (2008-09) conducted by the Director of Audita€™s Report No.52 titled a€?Healthier Lifestyles for Primary School Childrena€?, it was found that 95 (23%) of 409 responding primary schools allocated less than 70 minutes lesson time for PE. However, there are four major reasons for including health as an important objective of school PE.
On the other hand, the Director of Audit Commission recommends that more schools in Hong Kong to participate in the a€?School NutriAgent Project (SNAP)a€?. Have these school health programmes equipped children with skills to practise healthy living? Have they helped children to carry health beyond their classrooms - to their families and communities? Sleap (1990) reviewed and suggests a number of health projects held successfully in primary schools in the USA and Australia for reference of PE teachers.
It is always difficult to realize or substantiate fully in particular learning area like PE concerning the promotion of healthy living for the students. Obviously, simply involving students in physical activities, games, sports and group activities may not adequately enhance studentsa€™ healthy living. Teachers are key players in any educational activities as they directly involve in learning and teaching for the students. In return, opportunities for teachers to acquaint with professional skills and knowledge have to be provided.
The annual Summer School for PE Teacher 2011 aims to help and familiarize PE teachers with knowledge and skills in nurturing studentsa€™ Healthy Living through PE and to build up knowledge-based sharing culture.
To enrich PE teachersa€™ professional knowledge of learning and teaching for promoting studentsa€™ healthy living. Copyright©2011 Department of Health and Physical Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, All Rights Reserved.
1)  An individual who does a 60 minute run every morning, but spends the rest of the day being completely sedentary.
2)  An individual who spends all day on their feet, walking and moving at a slow pace, but never raising their heart rate above 100 beats per minute. To get future posts delivered directly to your email inbox or to your RSS reader, be sure to subscribe to Obesity Panacea.
For clarification, it is increased risk of death in a finite period (12 years in this case). Great article Travis!Good reminder to take advantage of the free time during the holidays to add more activity to my day! You mention that too much sedentary time, in particular TV watching time, is a risk factor for disease and mortality.
Travis is an obesity researcher, Certified Exercise Physiologist, public speaker, writer and distance runner.
Peter is a published researcher, university lecturer, freelance writer, and general health enthusiast. We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. This slide shows the relationship between levels of physical activity and clinically diagnosted depression (CES-D Scores of 16 or more). For adolescents, participation in sports, physical education classes, or any other type of regular exercise helps to build and maintain healthy bones and muscles, controls weight, and has positive psychological benefits. Department of Health and Human Services redefined the recommended levels of physical activity, from 20 minutes of vigorous activity at least three days a week, to 60 minutes of activity (that includes vigorous exercise some of the time) at least five days a week.
Within all racial and ethnic subgroups, levels for males are between 19 and 25 percentage points higher than those for females. Among females, Hispanics were also more likely than blacks to meet recommended levels of physical activity (35 compared with 29 percent). Additionally, students from Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, and Pennsylvania were not included in the 2013 survey. In surveys conducted in 1999 and later, respondents were allowed to select more than one race when selecting their racial category.
IntroductionEpidemiological evidence suggests a link between the intensity of the exercise and the occurrence of infections and diseases. They are mainly produced in the bone marrow and help to defend the body against infectious disease and foreign materials as part of the immune system. The exogenous antioxidants include among others vitamin E (?-tocopherol), vitamin C and coenzyme Q.
The effects of physical activity on serum C-reactive protein and inflammatory markers: a systematic review. Risk of upper respiratory tract infection in athletes: an epidemiologic and immunologic perspective. Infectious and lymphocytic myocarditis: epidemiology and factors relevant to sports medicine. The concern has probably resulted from an increase in studentsa€™ health problems resulted from problematic lifestyles or living.
As one's health habits and physical activity improve, one can move to a higher level of healthy state. Morris (1984) elaborates the relationship between health and physical fitness in a 'continuum' with a scale continues moving throughout life, ending with death at the extreme unhealthy state in the left and it moves to the right when health condition becomes better as physical fitness level improves because of physical conditioning. The benefits of physical activity for improving cardio-respiratory function, reducing coronary artery disease risk factors, decreasing mortality and morbidity, decreasing anxiety and depression etc. In the guide, helping students develop a€?active and healthy lifestylea€? has been recommended as an important goal for building healthy communities. Recently, a study on the interface of PE curriculum in Hong Kong has been initiated after the Summer School for PE Teachers (Li, Cruz & Yeung, 2008). He quoted McNameea€™s (1988) terminology of a€?naturalistic fallacya€? for explaining that although a€?there is empirical evidence regarding activity levels and hypokinetic disease, it does not necessary follow that PE should have to do anything abouta€? (Sleap, 1990, p. In the case of PE from observation, health has been commonly promoted through introducing and engaging students in health-related fitness activities and assessment. SNAP aims at empowering teachers and parents, through Department of Health training and support, with the self-efficacy in nurturing a healthy eating habit among school children. Uton Muchtar Rafei, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region (1997) also suggests that a€?health education in schools must become more comprehensive if children are to be empowered to pursue a healthy lifestyle and to work as agents of changea€?.


Achieving such a goal and translate it into our realistic and practical learning targets especially through PE need to be thoroughly clarified and discussed. Nevertheless, developing studentsa€™ healthy living through PE is a valid educational endeavor. Subscribe to Obesity Panacea and have future posts delivered regularly to your email account or your RSS reader. The one thing that came to mind while reading this was the fact that it may not be the actual sitting that increases mortality risk, but rather what might be done while sitting (i.e.
Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. It is not clear if this effect is due to the physical, physiological or psychological effects of exercise. Between 1993 and 2005, the percentage of high school students meeting the former level of recommended physical activity remained fairly steady, ranging between 63 and 69 percent. Estimates presented only include respondents who selected one category when choosing their race. The innate immune system appears to respond to chronic stress of intensive exercise by increased natural killer cell activity and suppressed neutrophil function.
There are normally between 4x109 and 11x109 white blood cells in a liter of healthy adult blood [2] (Table 2).
The lipid-soluble ?-tocopherol is considered the most efficient among the dietary antioxidants, because it contributes to membrane stability and fluidity by preventing lipid peroxidation. 1) Vitamin E, the major lipid-soluble antioxidant which plays a vital role in protecting membranes from oxidative damage, 2) Vitamin C or ascorbic acid which is a water-soluble antioxidant and can reduce radicals from a variety of sources.
The association of many health problems with inactivity, sedentary lifestyles or living in student population has reached at an alarm stage.
Without physical exercise, further inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles can lead to poor fitness and sickness (Haskell, 1989).
Thus, a wide concept of healthy living should be incorporated instead of limit ourself with physical activity and fitness. The Curriculum Guide for Primary School PE (Curriculum Development Committee, 1985) appears to place its emphasis on skill-related activities. Accordingly, the PE Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide recommends that a€?motivate students to regularly participate in physical activitiesa€? and a€?help students to acquire a healthy lifestylea€? (Curriculum Development Council, 2002, p. The PE Elective provides the knowledge and skills to enable students to participate in physical activity for fun and self-enhancement in a safe mannera€? (Curriculum Development Council and the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, 2007, p.
In some cases, the School Physical Fitness Award Scheme which has been established in 1988 to replace the ED-AAA 5-star Award Scheme as co-curricular activity for promoting health.
The Commission also suggests that the Education Bureau should advise primary schools to allocate at least 5% (which is about 70 minutes per week) lesson time for PE class. Sharing with good and relevant practices from and among PE researchers and practitioners are important if the concept promoting studentsa€™ healthy living through PE is to be successfully implemented. Their ability to create an optimal environment, structure learning goals, experiences, activities and select appropriate methods play a vital role for nurturing studentsa€™ healthy living. From theoretical and practical perspectives of helping students to develop healthy living through PE has merit, structuring learning experiences of these skills in the PE curriculum, teachers must be willing and be capable of planning, organising and evaluating relevant learning experiences for their students. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Between 2005 and 2009, about one-third of high school students met the revised recommended levels of physical activity, with no significant changes over the period.
The measured effects of exercise on the innate immune system are complex and depend on several factors: the type of exercise, intensity and duration of exercise, the timing of measurement in relation to the exercise session, the dose and type of immune modulator used to stimulate the cell in vitro or in vivo, and the site of cellular origin. Coenzyme Q or ubiquinon is also lipid-soluble, and has the same membrane stabilization effect as vitamin E. Studies confirmed that physical inactivity, sedentary and problematic lifestyles have led to a rise in hypokinetic diseases such as coronary disorder, hypertention, obesity, and musculoskeletal disorder (Pemberton & McSwegin, 1993).
Childhood obesity has posed a growing threat to public health and creates significant socioeconomic burden to society.
Below is the list of risk factors identified by the American Heart Association (Nieman, 1995, p. ACSM (2006) concludes that a€?there is a clear inverse relationship between activity and mortality risk across activity categories, and the risk profile indicates that some exercise is better than none, and more exercise -up to a point- is better than less.
In the preface, it states that a€?regular exercise in fitness activities leads to the improvement in physique and physical skills should be promoteda€? (p.
It refers to a€?a way of living based on regular physical activity and a cluster of related healthy behaviours which leads to health, vigour, vitality, self-respect and the control of onea€™s destinya€? (Sharkey, 2002).
All of the above practices may hinder PE teachers for initiating and providing sufficient physical activities practices for their students in improving health. The Department of Health should advise primary schools to consider developing policy on physical activity alongside that on healthy eating and document the policy and disseminate it to stakeholders. Close partnerships between several players like health and education planners and implementers, environmentalists, NGOs, teachers, parents and community leaders are required.
How PE can be treated as a means for promoting studentsa€™ healthy living needs further discussion, sharing and debate. Accordingly, they have to continuously improve the quality of their teaching and be prepared to be reflective and innovative through professional development programmes. It is an appropriate time to look into the issue and to see how the concept of healthy living can be promoted in the field of PE. Here I was thinking that it was totally OK to surf the couch guilt-free after my daily workout. Most psychiatrists now commonly prescribe physical activity for many of their depressed patients. The wording of the question was changed in 2011, so results are not comparable to previous years. When comparing immune function in trained and non-active persons, the adaptive immune system is largely unaffected by exercise.Physical activity in combination with infections is usually associated with certain medical risks, partly for the person who is infected and partly for the other athletes who may be infected. In this way, the immune system works in a coordinated manner to monitor the body for substances that might cause problems. Ascorbic acid or vitamin C (water-soluble) is, however, the predominant dietary antioxidant in plasma. Evidence also indicates that such problems trouble the health condition of most adults and students in Hong Kong (Chung, 1996; Speak, 1989).
Thus public health efforts should be directed towards getting more people more active of the timea€? (p.
The PE curriculum aims should help students a€?develop motor skills and acquire necessary knowledge through physical activities and cultivate positive values and attitudes for the development of an active and healthy lifestylea€? and a€?acquire good health and physical fitness and body coordination through an active lifestylea€? (Curriculum Development Council, 2002, A A p.
Opportunities and platform have to be provided so that PE teachers can be shared and nurtured for incorporating respective understanding and skills in their school PE curriculum for promoting studentsa€™ healthy living.
Thus through the initiation of this project, PE teachers can be acquainted with necessary skills and knowledge of structuring relevant learning experiences for nurturing healthy living for the students through a variety of professional development programmes namely conference and workshops. In 2011 and 2012, about one-half of students met recommendations, with no significant changes over the period. The risk of infection is greatest in team sports, but also in other sports where athletes have close physical contact before, during and after training and competitions.This chapter starts with a short introduction of the immune system followed by a description of free radicals’ and antioxidants’ role in the immune system and how they are affected by physical activity. The apprehension of increased rates of ROS production during exercise is part of the rationale why many athletes could theoretically profit by increasing their intake of antioxidant supplements beyond recommended doses. 3) Glutathione, which is seen as one of the most important intracellular defense against damage by reactive oxygen species. In the PE Syllabus for primary school (Curriculum Development Council, 1995), it was stipulated that a€?through physical activities, PE teachers should ensure: a€?to improve the organic system, the neuro-muscular system and physical fitness of pupilsa€? and a€?to stimulate pupilsa€™ interest and desirable attitudes towards physical activities and to encourage them to take part in sports, physical training and recreational activities actively and regularlya€? (p. The chapter will also focus on need of antioxidant supplementation in combination with physical activity.
The neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells, they account for 65 to 70% of all leukocytes [2]. Table 4 shows an overview of the localization and function to the enzymatic antioxidants which protects the cell against oxidative stress.
In addition to these "big three", there are numerous small molecules that function as antioxidants.
Moreover, a€?Health and Fitnessa€? have also been included as one of the 6 subject specific strands to be delivered in PE. However, there is also relatively little opportunity for teachers to share and debate on concrete and practice teaching ideas on how the above objectives can be promoted fully. The different theories regarding the effect of physical activity on the immune system will be discussed, along with advantages and disadvantages of being active, and finally effects of physical activity on the immune system are described.
When activated, the neutrophils marginate and undergo selectin-dependent capture followed by integrin-dependent adhesion, before migrating into tissues. It is the timely initiative to revisit the current curricular practices so that studentsa€™ healthy living can be promoted through PE.
Leukocytes migrate toward the sites of infection or inflammation, and undergo a process called chemotaxis. There is broad evidence suggesting that physical exercise affects the generation of ROS in leukocytes [3,15] which may induce muscle damage [12,23] and may explain phenomena like decreased physical performance, muscular fatigue, and overtraining [16]. The immune systemThe immune system is large and complex and has a wide variety of functions. Chemotaxis is the cells’ movement towards certain chemicals in their environment.Granulocytes along with monocytes protect us against bacteria and other invading organisms, a process that is called phagocytosis (ingestion).
Detrimental influences of free radicals are due to their oxidizing effects on lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and the extracellular matrix.
However, the available data to support the role of ROS in relation to physical exercise are highly inconsistent and partly controversial.
These controversies are probably due to the different methodologies used to assess ROS, generally including time-demanding and laborious cell isolation procedures and subsequent cell culturing that most certainly affects the ROS status of these cells in an uncontrolled and unpredictable manner. There are several factors which influence or affect the daily functioning of the immune system: age, gender, eating habits, medical status, training and fitness level. After they are released from the bone marrow they can circulate in the blood for 4 to 8 hours.
Physical activity and antioxidant supplementationA very important question in this context is whether exercise-induced oxidative stress is associated with an increased risk of diseases.


The immune system does a great job in keeping people healthy and preventing infections, but problems with the immune system can still lead to illness and infections. The great disparities as to whether ROS production increases or decreases after physical exercise should be considered when comparing different studies of antioxidant supplementation and exercise-induced oxidative stress; likewise the differences in antioxidant dosages used, the biological potency of different forms of the same antioxidant and the different manufacturers’ products. The immune system is separated in two functional divisions: the innate immunity, referred to as the first line of defense, and the acquired immunity, which, when activated, produces a specific reaction and immunological memory to each infectious agent. The numbers of granulocytes in the blood depends on the release of mature granulocytes from the bone marrow and the body’s need for an increased number of granulocytes (i.e. The main explanations for the inconsistencies of the effect of antioxidant supplementation on oxidative stress seems to be due to the different assay techniques used to measure in vitro neutrophil ROS production, the exercise mode [22], and the fitness levels of participants.The human body has an elaborate antioxidant system that depends on the endogenous production of antioxidant compounds like enzymes, as well as the dietary intake of antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
Still, there is not enough knowledge at present as to whether the body’s natural antioxidant defense system is sufficient to counteract the induced increase of free radicals during physical exercise or if additional supplements are needed [27]. The innate immune systemThe innate immune system consists of anatomic and physiological barriers (skin, mucous membranes, body temperature, low pH and special chemical mediators such as complement and interferon) and specialized cells (natural killer cells and phagocytes, including neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages [1] (Table 1). Until now, the majority of investigations address the effects of exercise on markers of oxidative stress, and not the occurrence of disease. When the innate immune system fails to effectively combat an invading pathogen, the body produces a learned immune response. If a bacterial infection occurs, the neutrophils travel to the infected area and neutralize the invading bacteria.
However, most research points to a beneficial effect of regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on disease prevention [22] [27].8. Different methods for detection of free radicals and antioxidantsThe work of getting reliable and validated measures of both free radicals and anti-oxidants is still ongoing. The eosinophil granulocytes do not phagocytize and are more important in allergic reactions. The most common methods for detecting free radicals are: 1) Electron spin resonance (ESR) and “spin trapping”, which quantify and generate free radicals. Monocytes make up between 3 and 8% of the leukocytes in the blood [2], and circulate in the blood for about 1 to 3 days before moving into tissues throughout the body. 2) Flow cytometry, which is a technique for counting, examining and sorting microscopic particles suspended in a stream of fluid, and 3) Chemiluminiscence Luminol, which is a method used to detect free radicals with chemical reactions (Table 6).
Monocytes are, like the neutrophil granulocytes, effective phagocytes, and are responsible for phagocytosis of foreign substances in the body.
When the monocytes leave the blood barrier, they differentiate in the tissues and their size and characteristics change.
Macrophages are responsible for protecting tissues from foreign substances but are also known to be the predominant cells involved in triggering atherosclerosis. The acquired immune systemThe second kind of protection is called adaptive (or active) immunity [2]. C-Reactive Protein (CRP)C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein presented in the blood and rises in response to inflammation. Its physiological role is to bind to phosphocholine expressed on the surface of dead or dying cells to activate the complement system. The complement system is the name of a group of plasma proteins, which are produced by the liver, and is an important part of the innate immune system. The complement system has an important role in the fight against bacteria and virus infections.
The level of CRP increases in many types of inflammatory reactions, both infections, autoimmune diseases and after cellular damage.
During the healing process the level of CRP decreases in a relatively short time (?h ~ 12-24 hours in the blood).The levels of CRP increase more during bacterial infections than viral and can thus be used to distinguish between these two types of infections. This distinction between bacteria and viruses are often useful because antibiotics (such as penicillin) have no effect on viral infections, but can often be very useful in bacterial infections.Recent investigations suggest that physical activity reduce CRP levels. Higher levels of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are consistently associated with 6 to 35% lower CRP levels [3]. Longitudinal training studies have demonstrated reductions in CRP concentration from 16 to 41%, an effect that may be independent of baseline levels of CRP, body composition, and weight loss [3].
The mechanisms behind the role physical activity plays in reducing inflammation and suppressing CRP levels are not well defined [4].
Chronic physical activity is associated with reduced resting CRP levels due to multiple mechanisms including: decreased cytokine production by adipose tissue, skeletal muscles, endothelial and blood mononuclear cells, improved endothelial function and insulin sensitivity, and possibly an antioxidant effect [4].
This is due to an exercise-induced acute phase response, facilitated by the cytokine system, mainly through interleukin- 6 (IL-6). Exercise training may influence this response, whereas there is also a homeostatic, anti-inflammatory counter-acute phase response after strenuous exercise.
Inspiring polluted or cold air is considered a significant aetiological factor in some but not all sports people [6].
The common cold is generally caused by virus infections and is self-healing and most of the times free of problems, but sometimes bacteria will follow and cause complications (e.g.
Mononucleosis (“kissing disease”) and throat infections are usually caused by various viruses.
Infections in the heart muscle (myocarditis) can be due to both virus and bacteria and represent a problematic area within the field of sports medicine [7].4. CytokinesCytokines are substances secreted by certain immune system cells that carry signals locally between cells, and thus have an effect on other cells.
The term cytokine encompasses a large and diverse family of polypeptide regulators that are produced widely throughout the body by cells of diverse embryological origin.A pro-inflammatory cytokine is a cytokine which promotes systemic inflammation, while an anti-inflammatory cytokine refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation. IL-6 can be both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory.Heavy physical activity produces a rapid transient increase in cytokine production and entails increases in both pro-inflammatory (IL-2, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, TNF?) and anti-inflammatory (IL-1ra, IL-10) cytokines.
Many studies have investigated the effects of different forms and intensities of exercise on its plasma concentration and tissue expression [9-11].
The effects of physical exercise seem to be mediated by intensity [10] as well as the duration of effort, the muscle mass involved and the individual’s physical fitness level [12].Increases in IL-6 over 100 times above resting values have been found after exhaustive exercise such as marathon races, moderate exercise (60–65% VO2max) and after resistance exercise, and may last for up to 72 h after the end of the exercise [13]. One explanation for the increase in IL-6 after exhaustive exercise is that IL-6 is produced by the contracting muscle and is released in large quantities into the circulation. Studies have shown that prolonged exercise may increase circulating neutrophils’ ability to produce reactive oxygen metabolites, but the release of IL-6 after exercise has been associated with neutrophil mobilization and priming of the oxidative activity [14]. Free radical damaging effects on cellular functions are for IL-6 seen as a key mediator of the exercise-induced immune changes [13].5. ROS formation is a natural ongoing process that takes place in the body, while the antioxidant defense is on duty for collecting and neutralizing the excess production of oxygen radicals. Many sources of heat, stress, irradiation, inflammation, and any increase in metabolism including exercise, injury, and repair processes lead to increased production of ROS [15]. ROS have an important function in the signal network of cellular processes, including growth and apoptosis, and as killing tools of phagocytising cells [15]. The granulocytes and the monocytes produce ROS like superoxide anion (O2-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), peroxynitrite (ONOO-), and hydroxyl radical (OH ). Superoxide anion (O2-), an unstable free radical that kills bacteria directly, is produced through the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase-mediated oxidative burst reaction [16].
Superoxide anion is generated in both intra- and extracellular compartments and when nitric oxide (NO) and O2- react with each other, peroxynitrite (ONOO- ) can form very rapidly [17]. Peroxynitrite is a strong oxidation which damages DNA, proteins and other cellular elements. Strenuous exercise leads to the activation of several cell lines within the immune system, such as neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages, which all are capable of producing ROS [19].
During resting conditions, the human body produces ROS to a level which is within the body’s capacity to produce antioxidants. During endurance exercise, there is a 15- to 20-fold increase in whole body oxygen consumption, and the oxygen uptake in the active muscles increases 100- to 200-fold [20]. This elevation in oxygen consumption is thought to result in the production of ROS at rates that exceed the body’s capacity to detoxify them. Oxidative stress is a result of an imbalance between the production of ROS and the body’s ability to detoxify the reactions (producing antioxidants).
In the literature, there is disagreement whether or not oxidative stress and subsequent damage associated with exercise is harmful or not. This ambiguity may partly be explained by the methods chosen for the different investigations [18].
Experimental and clinical evidence have linked enhanced production of ROS to certain diseases of the cardiovascular system including hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis [21]. This is unfortunate since NO increases blood flow, allows monocytes to adhere to the endothelium, decreases blood clots and prevents oxidation of LDL. Free radicals react with substances in the cell membrane and damage the cells that line the blood vessels. If there are sufficient antioxidants present, it is believed that the harmful processes in the blood vessels can be slowed down. On the other hand, free radicals are not always harmful, but can serve a useful purpose in the human body. The oxygen radicals are necessary compounds in the maturation process of the cellular structure. AntioxidantsAn antioxidant is a chemical compound or a substance such as vitamin E, vitamin C, or beta carotene, thought to defend body cells from the destructive effects of oxidation.
Antioxidants are important in the context of organic chemistry and biology: all living cells contains a complex systems of antioxidant compounds and enzymes, which prevent the cells by chemical damages due to oxidation. We can influence our own antioxidant defenses by eating food that contains satisfactory amounts of antioxidants (Table 3). A diet containing polyphenol antioxidants from plants is necessary for the health of most mammals [23].
Antioxidants are widely used as ingredients in dietary supplements that are used for health purposes, such as preventing cancer and heart diseases [23].
However, while many laboratory experiments have suggested benefits of antioxidant supplements, several large clinical trials have failed to clearly express an advantage of dietary supplements.




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