If the brain no longer responds correctly to the hormone insulin (insulin resistance), this also has a negative effect on the metabolism in the body and the regulation of eating behavior.
A recent study shows that as little as eight weeks of exercise can help restore the brain's insulin sensitivity in severely overweight adults. This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for reducing obesity and diabetes risk factors in the future. The study has now been published in JCI Insight.
Fourteen women and seven men aged 21-59 years with a body mass index* of 27.5 - 45.5 took part in the study. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to determine insulin sensitivity in the brain before and after eight weeks of monitored endurance training.
The result: the exercise program improved insulin action in the brain to the level of a person with a healthy weight. "The exercise intervention increased the insulin-stimulated activity in brain regions that are responsible, among other things, for the perception of hunger and satiety and for the interaction of motivation, reward, emotion and exercise behavior," said the scientist. The improved insulin sensitivity in the brain had positive effects on the metabolism, the sensation of hunger decreased and the unhealthy visceral fat was reduced.
"The study suggests that insulin resistance in the brain may be reversible and could be a viable therapeutic target to restore central nervous system regulation of metabolism and body weight and counteract adverse effects of obesity," said the senior author of the study.
To verify whether improving brain insulin sensitivity in people at high risk of T2D actually has beneficial effects on metabolism and cognition, further controlled intervention studies are planned. They can also help clarify the underlying mechanisms.
Exercise restores brain insulin sensitivity in obese sedentary people
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