Washington: With a little exercise and dieting, overweight people with type 2 diabetes can still train their fat cells to produce a hormone believed to spur HDL cholesterol production, according to medical researchers from The Methodist Hospital and eight other institutions.“What we’re learning is that even overweight people who are physically active and eating a healthy diet are getting benefits from the lifestyle change,” said principal investigator Christie Ballantyne, M.D., director of Methodist’s Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.“When you exercise and diet, you’re improving the function of your adipose tissue, your heart and vascular systems, and even muscle performance. You’re getting a lot of benefits that you may not see by just looking at the weight on a scale,” he explained.The Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention is part of the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center.Ballantyne said that while a causal relationship between adiponectin production and increases in blood HDL cholesterol levels is not yet proven, this latest study supports models putting the fat hormone somewhere in the controlling pathway of liver HDL cholesterol synthesis. Adiponectin’s role in fat burning and sugar storage is well established.Ballantyne and his team examined patient data from Look AHEAD, a randomized, multi-center clinical trial examining the effect of a lifestyle intervention designed to produce weight loss on risk for cardiovascular disease.To be eligible for Look AHEAD, participants must have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and also deemed overweight or obese.Participants were assigned to either an “intensive lifestyle intervention” program in which they were encouraged to become more physically active and to limit their calorie intake or a program including diabetes support and education.Look AHEAD participants have had their blood drawn at regular intervals, with testing for various biomarkers, including HDL cholesterol and the fat hormone adiponectin, in its many forms. Study participants are also weighed and given a fitness (exercise stress) test.
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