Health Biomarkers Series: The Most Powerful Way to Improve Them All

Posted on 10/31/2013 by Dr. Adrian den Boer
Categories: exercise, Health biomarker, heart disease

In the past nine weeks, I’ve written about important health biomarkers, ranging from basal metabolic rate to blood pressure.  While I’ve mentioned several specific ways to improve each in my posts, there is one extremely effective way to affect all of these: Increase your muscle mass!
While there are other specific things that can help each individual health biomarker, such as consuming cinnamon to increase insulin sensitivity, my patients frequently ask me, “What is the ONE thing I can do to greatly increase my overall vitality, health, and/or condition?”
My reply is almost always, “Exercise that increases muscle mass.”
Folks, you can affect almost every one of your health biomarkers with this one thing! By using the methods linked below to increase muscle mass, you can also have a marked effect on the following: 

- Increased basal metabolic rate (Wolfe, 2006)
- Decreased body fat (Wolfe, 2006)
- Improved insulin sensitivity (Wolfe, 2006)
- Improved bone density (Wolfe, 2006)
- Improved waist-to-hip ratio (Wannamethee, Shaper, Lennon & Whincup, 2007)
- Prevention of chronic diseases and illness (Wolfe, 2006) 
- Decreased age-related muscle loss and aging (Wolfe, 2006) 
- Decreased inflammation (Lambert, Wright, Finck, & Villareal, 2008)
- Improved cholesterol (Honkola, Forsén, & Eriksson, 1997)
The next question I get is, “What are the most effective methods to increase muscle mass?”
First, ANY exercise is good.  In fact, it is astounding how studies have shown that simply increasing the quantity of movement for the non-moving folks has a profound effect on their health.
However, for those of us that are already moving, the most effective methods are described in my posts here and here.
Combine these methods with emotional and spiritual balance, lots of plants in the diet, and adequate protein intake of at least 20 grams three to four times per day, and you’ll only continue to improve your health biomarkers exponentially!
Lambert, C., Wright, N., Finck, B., Villareal, D. (2008). Exercise but not diet-induced weight loss decreases skeletal muscle inflammatory gene expression in frail obese elderly persons. The Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol. 105, no. 2: 473-478.
Honkola, A., Forsén, T., Eriksson, J. (1997). Resistance training improves the metabolic profile in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Acta Diabetologica. Vol. 34, Issue 4: 245-248.
Wannamethee, S., Shaper, A., Lennon, L, Whincup, P. (2007). Decreased muscle mass and increased central adiposity are independently related to mortality in older men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 86, no. 5: 1339-1346.
Wolfe, R. (2006). The underappreciated role of muscle in health and disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 84, no. 3: 475-482.

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