2014/03/a7038_exercise_default

Nobelist proposes unconventional view of type 2 diabetes causation

At 85, Nobel laureate James D. Watson, the co-discoverer of the double-helix structure of DNA, continues to advance intriguing scientific ideas. His latest, a hypothesis on the causation of type 2 diabetes, will appear in the online pages of The Lancet, the British medical journal.

Watson’s hypothesis, which is featured as the Lancet cover story in the U.S. print edition dated March 1-7, 2014, suggests that diabetes, dementias, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers are linked to a failure to generate sufficient biological oxidants, called reactive oxygen species (ROS). Watson also argues the case for a better understanding of the role of exercise in helping to remedy this deficiency.

“The prevalent view of type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Watson says, “is that an excess of intracellular oxidation causes inflammation, which in turn kills cells in pancreatic tissue.” Proper function of those cells, it is well understood, is critical for the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels.

Over the last several years Watson has been puzzling out an alternative view, based on facts reported in the peer-reviewed literature of medicine and molecular biology. (He makes clear that he is not a medical doctor, rather a student of science.) He does not question that pancreatic tissue in people with type 2 diabetes is indeed inflamed. But he does present a novel theory of why. “The fundamental cause, I suggest, is a lack of biological oxidants, not an excess,” he says.

For years, Watson knew, doctors have been telling patients with incipient type 2 diabetes — those with high blood sugar levels — to exercise, often before putting them on a well-proven glucose-lowering drug regimen such as Metformin. Exercise seemed to Watson the key to the puzzle: what was it about exercise that served to benefit people with high blood sugar?

There were important clues, he speculated, in the chemistry of oxidation and reduction reactions. The body’s cells cannot survive without making both oxidants and antioxidants. “There is a delicate balance” between the two, Watson observes. Physical exercise prompts the body to make large numbers of oxidants — molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS. In a cellular organ called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), one such “species,” the oxidant hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), helps forge chemical bonds (disulfide bonds) which stabilize proteins as they fold.

When there is not enough oxidation in the ER, Watson says, proteins emerge unfolded, and cannot function. This, he proposes, causes the inflammation that harms the pancreas, sometimes causing type 2 diabetes. Hence, Watson suggests, exercise, which promotes oxidation, plausibly can have a beneficial effect on those with high blood sugar. Such benefit would be lessened if not abolished, he speculates, if such an individual consumed large quantities of antioxidants — just as athletes who take large quantities of antioxidant supplements do not seem to benefit or benefit less from their exertions.

Watson has two take-home messages for his audience. “The first

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Comments

    • xXMrSweet
    • March 1, 2014
    Reply

    I’m 15, 189 pounds (13.5 stone) and am going to do this work out everyday
    and only eat breakfast lunch and dinner (obviously healthy meals) i’m not
    gonna snack or anything. It is my goal to loose weight, i have watched a
    lot of your videos as research and well i think i’m ready! I start right
    now! and hopefully can lose this weight! 

    View Comment
    • King Rob
    • March 1, 2014
    Reply

    Hey Mike, I weigh 165 pounds and I’m new to really working out, so how much
    weight do you recommend I use on these exercises?

    View Comment
    • Steve Cea
    • March 1, 2014
    Reply

    Great tips thank you very much !! 

    View Comment
    • bobby emert
    • March 1, 2014
    Reply

    i’m almost 17 im gonna try this man i have gotten progress on my own thing
    just not to the full potential

    View Comment
    • queerp
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    ‘m pretty new to weight training… well sorta. I guess you could just say
    new to getting back into it. I was just wondering,what would be a good
    weight for dumbbells to get decently muscular and strong without getting
    lots of bulk and looking like a bodybuilder. I’d rather have a an Olympic
    athlete or soccer player type body. Sorta like the statue of David I guess,
    just a little bigger. I know I’ll need to switch up my diet a bit to lower
    my body fat percentage a little more, but when it comes to the weight
    lifting part, I’m wondering what would be a good weight. I’ve been
    borrowing my brother’s dumbbells that are 15 lbs. Seems like a decent
    weight for starting out again, but they’re not very difficult to lift. I
    mean, they aren’t super easy, but I can still do several sets with 10-15
    reps, and I think I’ll need more weight soon. I don’t really like the kind
    of dumbbells that you can keep adding weight on unfortunately, so I want to
    make sure I buy a good weight that won’t end up feeling useless to me in
    the future. I’ve tried my brother’s 30 lbs dumbbells, but they’re too heavy
    for most workouts right now, and who knows, maybe 30 lbs dumbbells would
    give me more bulk than I want in the first place. I really don’t know… I
    hope someone can give me some tips. Thanks

    View Comment
    • Sarang Nerurkar
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    I have got a good body

    View Comment
    • meskisz
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    Love the internet. Don’t need to go to a gym for consulting :D.

    View Comment
    • tigertruckerman
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    He works in my local takeway,honk kong garden

    View Comment
    • torpa98
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    What are good weights/ dumbbells for beginner? 60- 65 kg

    View Comment
    • Piotr Sienkiewicz
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    This prick is “teaching” people how to train WRONG. And, because he has
    some muscles, he must know how to train. Therefore, he is teaching wrong
    DELIBERATELY. Why? Because if people do NOT have results, they will come
    back to him. And then, this slimy slimebag can make some money on them. How
    pathetic it is…

    View Comment
    • Jj Ramirez
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    @Piotrsienkiewicz ure probably just fat or not as fit as him

    View Comment
    • mohamed elman
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    omg i was doing push up wrong all the time! omg omg!! thx for the help mike

    View Comment
    • MrBlubbles
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    I do this workout for about 30 mins everyday is that ok or is it not a lot
    because I’m just a beginner I’ve been doing it for about a week now?

    View Comment
    • E MAD
    • March 2, 2014
    Reply

    Do you have a running programe in your training regime mike??

    View Comment

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