Scientists at Monash University, Australia, have shown in a new study how a key enzyme protects against aging.

As well as providing further scientific corroboration for what we already know – that exercise is just about the best thing you can do to improve your life – the discovery also opens the door to potential interventions to promote the activity of this enzyme.

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Exercise: actually slows aging


Over the next thirty years, the proportion of people worldwide over 60 years old will double. This will bring with it a variety of problems, not least of all an increase in chronic diseases, with serious social and economic consequences.

One of the many ailments that accompany aging is type 2 diabetes. The conditions develops as a result of a condition known as insulin resistance, an inability for the body to respond to insulin, and this is often caused by reduced physical activity as we age.

However, the precise mechanisms by which physical inactivity facilitates the development of insulin resistance have until now remained a mystery.

A team of scientists at the Monash University Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), led by Professor Tony Tiganis, have discovered that one factor that is instrumental in the development of insulin resistance is reductions in skeletal muscle reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation

According to Professor Tiganis, skeletal muscle constantly produces ROS and this is increased during exercise.

“Exercise-induced ROS drives adaptive responses that are integral to the health-promoting effects of exercise,” he said.

The research team show how an enzyme called NOX-4 is essential for exercise-induced ROS and the adaptive responses that drive metabolic health.

In mice the researchers found that levels of NOX4 are increased in skeletal muscle after exercise. This leads to increased ROS, which in turn elicits adaptive responses that protect mice from the development of insulin resistance, which would otherwise occur with aging or diet induced-obesity.

Insulin resistance DOUBLES risk of major depression: shocking recent study

insulin resistance

Research out of Stanford School of Medicine has revealed that insulin resistance can double a person’s risk of having major depressive disorder.

What’s more, that risk applies, regardless of whether you’ve ever suffered from depression before.

“If you’re insulin-resistant, your risk of developing major depressive disorder is double that of someone who’s not insulin-resistant, even if you’ve never experienced depression before,” said Natalie Rasgon, one of the researchers.


Importantly, the scientists have shown that the levels of NOX4 in skeletal muscle are directly related to age-associated decline in insulin sensitivity.

“In this study we have shown, in animal models, that skeletal muscle NOX 4 abundance is decreased with ageing and that this leads to a reduction in insulin sensitivity,” Professor Tiganis said.

“Triggering the activation of the adaptive mechanisms orchestrated by NOX4 with drugs, might ameliorate key aspects of ageing, including the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes,” he said.

“One of these compounds is found naturally, for instance, in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli or cauliflower, though the amount needed for anti-ageing effects might be more than many would be willing to consume.”

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