That regular physical exercise is necessary to maintain good health is well known, but despite this, science continues to find evidence that the benefits of sport go beyond what we usually attribute to it. For example, it is more unknown that sport has significant anti-inflammatory effects.
In this sense, an investigation carried out by scientists from the Department of Psychiatry of the University of California and published in the specialized medium Brain, Behavior and Immunity has found the mechanism by which these effects operate , which have a positive impact on patients with diseases such as arthritis, fibromyalgia or obesity.
The experiment was carried out on 47 participants who were made to walk for 20 minutes on a treadmill at a level adjusted to their physical condition, so that the intensity of the exercise was moderate, and blood samples were taken before and after after.
The anti-inflammatory mechanism
What they observed is that during the process the body releases a series of hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream , which activate adrenergic receptors on immune cells.
In turn, this activation triggers an immune response consisting of the production of many proteins from the group of cytokines, including some that regulate the production of TNF (tumor necrosis factor), a regulatory substance of local and systemic inflammation.
Specifically, they observed that the participants marked 5% fewer TNF-producing cells in their blood.
Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system necessary to heal from injuries and eliminate pathogens. However, when it becomes chronic, it can lead to the development of serious diseases such as diabetes, obesity or arthritis.
Therefore, this finding could have an important therapeutic potential for patients with chronic inflammatory conditions; In addition, the researchers point out, since these effects are observable with only 20 minutes of moderate exercise, it is easier to achieve the commitment of patients, since some of them may not follow a possible therapy if a more extensive or intensive exercise is required.