Research

Heat therapy to promote mitochondrial function in muscles

According to a study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, heat therapy can restore and boost the function of mitochondria in our body. The researchers have demonstrated the efficacy of the heat therapy in retaining the mitochondrial number and functions in an individual.

The mitochondrion is also called the “powerhouse” of the cell. It facilitates cellular respiration which is crucial for the survival and function of the cell. Mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to various health problems and chronic diseases. It may lead to malfunctioning and premature death of the cells. People born with mitochondrial diseases suffer from,

  • Kidney, heart, liver, and lung conditions
  • Thyroid problems
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Diabetes
  • Increased risk of infections

Some studies also link exercise to augment the generation of new mitochondria, as well as enhance the function of existing ones. Studies suggest two hours of exercise daily for a healthy mitochondrial count. However, people with chronic diseases are not able to exercise daily and thus cannot reap this benefit.

Research at Brigham Young University confirms that heat therapy equally works on humans like that on rodents. The researchers employed 20 individuals for the study. The participants had not exercised for three months. During the study, the participants were given shortwave diathermy to the thigh muscles of one leg.

Shortwave diathermy is a therapy that uses heat generated by electrical impulses. This therapy was given for two hours daily and continued for six days. The therapy heated the treated thigh muscles by approximately seven degrees Fahrenheit. This imitated the increase in temperature that exercises cause on the muscles.

In order to test the effects of the therapy, the mitochondrial content of the participants’ leg muscles was checked after the first day and 24 hours after the last day of treatment. The researchers found that the therapy increased the mitochondrial function by an average of 28 percent. Moreover, the heated legs exhibited enhanced levels of certain mitochondrial proteins.

Thus, the researchers concluded that heat treatments benefit people by improving the number and function of their mitochondria. This therapy works for individuals who cannot engage in long-term exercises.

A regular exercise not only keeps your mitochondria functional, but it also offers various health benefactions like,

Exercise aids a healthy weight loss, protecting you from certain diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight minimizes the risk of developing diseases like Type-II diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Exercise improves your mood. This is because your body releases endorphins while exercising. These are hormones that induce positive feelings, reducing your perception of pain. In addition, exercise makes your brain more sensitive to serotonin and norepinephrine. These two hormones relieve anxiety and feelings of depression.

Exercise also adds to the health of your brain. It speeds up the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain. Exercise also increases the size of the hippocampus. It is the part of the brain that is necessarily required for memory and learning. Moreover, exercise helps inhibit the changes that contribute to your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise strengthens your muscles and bones. It allows you to move better and makes muscles and bones less prone to injuries.

Exercise augments your corporal energy levels. If you are facing frequent feelings of fatigue, you must opt for a healthy and regular exercise routine. Regular exercise increases your energy levels and addresses the symptoms of fatigue and tiredness.

Moderate exercise increases the levels of antioxidants in your body. It boosts your protection against oxidative stress and prevents premature aging. However, note that too much physical activity can cause oxidative stress thus don’t go for excessive workouts.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan has studied bio-medical sciences and loves to contribute her research into the field of health through her writing. Her expertise includes product reviews and health news reporting but she enjoys writing research-based news, the most. Twitter- @MichelleKwan19

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