Study shows exercise may lower homocysteine levels in overweight adults

Elevated levels increase heart disease risk

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A study by two researchers in the West Virginia University School of Medicine shows that exercise may lower homocysteine levels – a cardiovascular disease risk factor – in overweight adults.

George A. Kelley, D.A., and Kristi S. Kelley, M.Ed., researchers in the WVU Department of Community Medicine, studied the effects of exercise and physical activity on homocysteine levels in adults. Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood. Studies have shown that high levels of homocysteine increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The researchers pooled the results of five studies that included 167 men and women of varying ages, weights and activity levels. Among participants who were overweight or obese, there was a 32 percent decrease in homocysteine levels. “That’s a large reduction,” George Kelley said.

The large drop in homocysteine in the overweight population contrasted with the overall rate, a decrease of 8 percent, which was not considered significant.

The study appears in the October issue of the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, the official research journal of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.

For this study, the researchers used a meta-analytic approach. In meta-analysis, the results of multiple studies on a particular topic are consolidated to try and reach conclusions about a body of research and provide direction for future research.

“There needs to be additional research, but these findings may be particularly important in states like West Virginia, which has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country,” he said.

Some 700,000 people die from heart disease each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


For more information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 11-06-08

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