Burning Bone Fat: Another Reason To Hit The Gym

It's been long argued and endlessly proven that exercise and staying active is one of the most imperative choices we can make for ourselves and our physical health. New research is showing that the specific act of running actually helps to burn fat that can accumulate in your bone marrow.

Bone health is exceedingly important and one of the ways to ensure your bones are getting the proper care and nutrients is to be mindful of overall body fat composition. The more fat in the bone marrow, the more susceptible you may be to certain bone health red flags. Researchers in North Carolina took to the lab, using obese mice as their model to see exactly what running would do to the fat in bone marrow.

One of the main clinical implications of this research is that exercise is not just good, but amazing for bone health, says Maya Styner, MD and lead author of the study. In just a very short period of time, we saw that running was building bone significantly in mice. I see a lot of patients with poor bone health, and I always talk to them about what a dramatic effect exercise can have on bones, regardless of what the cause of their bone condition is. With obesity, it seems that you get even more bone formation from exercise. Our studies of bone biomechanics show that the quality and the strength of the bone is significantly increased with exercise and even more so in the obese exercisers.

While many people think of bone as this sturdy entity that doesn't really have much dynamic power, there is actually quite a lot of activity that goes on intrinsically in the marrow. It helps to coordinate the cartilage and the bone while also working through cycling immune cells, blood cells and various other cells in the body. For eons, the fact that marrow produces fat has been largely puzzling to so many medical professionals. After much research, in recent years a number of studies have shown that the greater the fat composition around and in the bone marrow the more susceptible to fractures and breaks that bone is.

There is a huge correlation between marrow fat and low bone density, which means a bone is way more prone to breaks. Wherever the presence of fat looms, its undeniable that the introduction of exercise is helpful to the burning of fat.

The Study

Two different groups of mice were used. One group was fed a lean diet while the other was fed a high-fat diet. This was done from birth to four months old. Half of the mice in each group were given the running wheel while all of their progress and milestones were closely logged. After a six-week time period, the evidence was clear. There was a significant reduction in the amount of fat cells, and the size of fat cells, on the mice given the running wheel.

The obese mice obviously started out with a greater amount of fat cells and they were still able to lose a significant amount by running on the wheel fairly often. All in all, the conclusion was as Styner stated above: Exercise is essential in burning fat within bone marrow and this is ultimately good for the health of bones.

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