NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In a small study of overweight and obese adults, 3 months of aerobic exercise, with no change in diet, led to a significant decrease in body fat and a spontaneous drop in calorie intake. The amount of weight loss and the reduction in calorie intake were directly related to blood levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
“The reduction in calorie intake could be related to the effect of BDNF,” Dr. Henry Anhalt of the Animas Corporation, West Chester, Pennsylvania told the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco.
“It is possible that the increases in this compound in fact suppress appetite; however, this was not directly tested,” added Anhalt, who moderated a press conference where the study was reported.
In the study, Dr. A. Veronica Araya and colleagues from the University of Chile Clinical Hospital in Santiago evaluated blood levels of BDNF before and after 3 months of aerobic exercise in 15 overweight or obese men and women. The 7 men and 8 women, ages 26 to 51 years, exercised on a treadmill and bicycle.
At the end of the 3-month exercise period, study subjects showed a significant drop in body weight, waist size, and percentage body fat.
They also experienced a fall in blood pressure and spontaneously began consuming fewer calories each day. At the same time that these effects were occurring, blood levels of BDNF rose markedly.
In a statement issued through the Endocrine Society, Araya said: “It is important to clarify the factors involved in the response to different weight loss therapies, because we could find a marker to predict response to the intervention.”