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06.11.2015


Physical exercise boosts concentration of longevity hormone

We recently wrote about the longevity hormone klotho: it delays aging, reduces age-related symptoms and helps us to stay fit and healthy in old age. Physical exercise can help increase the amount of this hormone that the body produces, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh report in Frontiers in Physiology. If your condition isn't too bad to start with, at least.

Forms of klotho
Klotho is a protein. It's found in cell membranes, but there it functions as a receptor for fibroblast growth factor-23 [FGF-23]. FGF-23 enables cells to absorb phosphate. But klotho also circulates around the body in two free forms alpha and beta klotho.

What beta-klotho does exactly is not yet known.

Alpha-klotho functions as a rejuvenating hormone. You can read more about this here. So whenever scientists mention klotho, they are nearly always referring to alpha-klotho. The figure below, from a publication in Nature by the Japanese scientists who discovered klotho, shows the tissues that synthesise alpha-klotho. [Nature. 1997 Nov 6;390(6655):45-51.]


Physical exercise boosts concentration of longevity hormone


Muscles produce klotho, and exercise speeds up the metabolic rate of muscle cells. So are active muscles capable of producing more klotho if they get more exercise? That's the question that the researchers set out to answer by doing animal and human studies.

Animal study
The researchers got young mice (aged 3-4 months) and elderly mice (aged 22-24 months) run for 45 minutes on a treadmill at 70 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake. The exercise caused the concentration of klotho in the blood of both groups to increase, but the increase was bigger in the young mice than in the old mice.


Physical exercise boosts concentration of longevity hormone


Human study
The human study was a little more complex. The researchers performed an experiment with two groups of women who led a sedentary lifestyle. The first group was composed of 12 women in their 30s; the second of 7 women in their 60s. The researchers got the women to exercise for an hour. The younger women ran on a treadmill at 55 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake; the older women cycled at 45 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake.

In the figure below the bars on the left show that this exercise did not lead to a significant rise in concentration of klotho in the blood.


Physical exercise boosts concentration of longevity hormone


The researchers then got their subjects to train on treadmills, cycles and rowing machines 4-6 times a week for 12-16 weeks. At the end of this period the researchers repeated the hour-long trial. And this time the exertion did lead to a rise in the klotho level, as you can see in the figure above on the right.

Conclusion
"Taken together, these findings in murine and human models suggest that exercise is a potent stimulus to increase plasma klotho levels, but that the response may be dependent on physical fitness level as well as age", the researchers wrote.

"While this response to an acute exercise bout and training appears, from the current results, to be attenuated in older individuals, it should be noted that the training protocol for the aged individuals was slightly less intense and of a shorter duration than that of the young individuals."

"These differences in training intensity may confound the age-related differences in the response of klotho to acute exercise and further clinical studies are warranted. However, in our murine studies, where the exercise intensity was matched across age groups, a similar age-related decline in the klotho response following an acute exercise bout was also observed."

"Modulation of klotho expression through skeletal muscle contraction represents an intriguing relationship that may help explain the anti-aging effects of physical activity, and, as highlighted in this review, there is emerging evidence to suggest that such a relationship exists."

Source:
Front Physiol. 2014 Jun 17;5:189.

More:
More stress, less longevity hormone 01.11.2015

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