We know that obesity is a factor in a number of health issues, including diabetes. But until recently, there was a misconception that being overweight may offer at least one benefit: protecting your bones. Researchers had speculated that because obesity resulted in an increase in body mass, bone mass would increase as well, decreasing risk of osteoporosis and associated fractures in people who are overweight. However, they've realized that this simply isn't true. While people who are obese may have more mass, their increase in bone isn't of good quality. In fact, their risk of fractures actually goes up.
Past studies have linked obesity to type-2 diabetes. And these findings about bone health suggest that people with one or both of these conditions could have an increased risk of bone fractures. However, an animal study conducted at the University of Missouri has found that there may be a way to ward off obesity and type-2 diabetes – while strengthening bones at the same time.
For this study, the researchers examined rats who liked to eat too much, causing them to gain weight and ultimately become insulin resistant. This paralleled the path to type-2 diabetes in humans. They divided the rats into three groups. They allowed one group to overeat and exercise on running wheels. The second group also overate, but had to remain sedentary. The third group was also sedentary, but didn't eat too much. The researchers examined the rats' bones to see how the progression of insulin resistance and weight gain affected them.
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While all the rats gained bone mass, those who gained weight, but didn't exercise didn't gain as much bone mass in proportion to their body mass as the other groups did. So not only were they heavier, their bones were relatively weaker compared to the other two groups. What was interesting, however, was the group with the strongest bones. It wasn't the ones who didn't overeat. Instead, the rats who exercised actually gained bone strength compared to the other two groups. They also were less likely to develop insulin resistance and diabetes, which could be why their bones were healthier.
Of course, exercising doesn't give you a license to overeat. But this study does suggest it could strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of becoming obese or developing type-2 diabetes. I recommend a combination that the researchers didn't investigate: exercising while not overeating. I think this is the best way to keep your bones healthy.
However, if you're overweight, have type-2 diabetes, or are worried about your bone health, this study suggests that exercise could be very beneficial in slowing or reversing these issues. I recommend interval training. Even if you're just walking, it can work very well.
I also suggest you take a bone formula, such as Ultimate Bone Support to build your bones. I've seen this formula work exceptionally well when taken along with exercise. I'll be discussing this in more detail in the upcoming January issue of Second Opinion. You don't want to miss it. I'll show you an even easier way to exercise and protect your bones.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD