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July 19, 2017

We often hear how beneficial exercise can be for our bodies. However, most of what we hear often revolves around staying in shape, fighting obesity or boosting cardiovascular health. However, as medical research progresses, we keep discovering new things about the benefits of leading a physically active life. This time, researchers have found that exercise actually does a little more. According to a recent study, a 20-minute workout routine can produce anti-inflammatory effects. 


The Research

The research, which was published in the Journal of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, studied the impact that a 20-minute workout routine had on the human immune system.

The study was supervised by Suzi Hong, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and conducted by researchers from the San Diego School of Medicine, University of California. Their hypothesis stated that exercise could boost anti-inflammatory responses in the human body by triggering the sympathetic nervous system.

The body’s sympathetic human system is responsible for functions such as increasing blood pressure, the rate of breathing, and the heart rate. However, the system itself is activated through physical activity.

During this process, the human body begins releasing hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine, which go on to trigger the adrenergic receptors that are located within immune cells.

However, for the study, researchers wanted to observe if a 20-minute exercise session could initiate sympathoadrenergic activation in order to suppress monocytic cytokine production.

Monocytes are basically white blood cells that play a key role in immune functions. They help fight foreign bodies and pathogens with the objective of preventing infection and disease. Cytokines, on the other hand, are proteins that convert certain cells into effector cells. Effectors cells are cells that fight infected or cancerous cells.

One type of cytokine that is involved in this process is called TNF. TNF is responsible for differentiating and proliferating cells. However, it is also responsible for cell death and the promotion of inflammatory reactions. TNF is what creates an immunological reaction by sending inflammatory cells to the site of a wound or injury.

Though inflammation is necessary for the body in terms of immunity, excessive inflammation can cause other complications such as arthritis, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diabetes, and fibromyalgia etc.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that the body’s inflammatory reactions are kept under control.

For the study, researchers tested 47 patients by making them run on a treadmill for 20 minutes. The intensity was adjusted to suit each subject’s fitness level. After the test, Hong and the rest of the team collected blood samples from all subjects and compared it to the blood samples they collected before the treadmill test.



The blood sample analysis revealed that there was a significant reduction in inflammatory responses after the treadmill test, thereby, confirming the hypothesis.

Researchers also observed a reduction in the production of cytokine TNF. More specifically, it was found that 20 minutes of exercise can bring down TNF production by 5%. 

Disclaimer: The health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.

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