Yet another benefit of walking for arthritis! Leptin may play a role in inflammation in arthritis, and walking is an effective way to reduce levels in the body.
We discuss in this episode:
- The nature of rheumatoid arthritis and its relation with metabolism
- Leptin and the role of metabolic hormones
- Walking and other low-intensity activities as strategies to increase leptin levels
Hi, everybody. Today we’re going to explore the fascinating connection between metabolism and arthritis joint pain, and how a simple activity like walking can make a really big difference.
So let’s get started. As arthritis patients, you’ll all be very familiar with the unique challenges that it brings. So we won’t spend too much time explaining what arthritis is. But just very briefly, Arthritis refers to an inflammation of the joints leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. And the two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which can be caused by wear and tear on the joints over time, and rheumatoid arthritis. The risk factors for developing arthritis include age, gender, family history, obesity, and previous joint injuries. But did you know that your metabolism can also play a role in arthritis symptoms? And that connection is what we’re going to explore in more detail in today’s podcast. So firstly, let’s just consider what we mean when we say metabolism. So metabolism is the process by which our body converts our food into energy, and it’s a set of biochemical reactions that occur within any living organism, and these reactions are necessary to maintain life. These processes allow us to grow, reproduce, and to respond appropriately to our environment. More specifically, our metabolism can be divided into two distinct categories. So one of these is catabolism, which is the breakdown of organic matter into energy. And the second category is Anabolism, and this is where we build up the components of our cells within our body.When our metabolism is out of balance, this can lead to symptoms such as pain and inflammation in our joints. So taking care of our metabolism is essential for managing arthritis symptoms.
So now let’s take a closer look at how our metabolism can influence our joint health. So individuals with metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes are known to have a significantly increased risk of developing arthritis. And research indicates that a staggering 82% of people with arthritis have higher blood insulin levels. We know that insulin resistance, which is often seen in metabolic disorders, is connected to problems with our cartilage and to joint damage. And insulin resistance can also lead to increases in oxidative stress and inflammation which can further contribute to arthritis symptoms. If we have excess glucose in our blood, research has shown that this can lead to the formation of advanced glycation end products. And when these compounds interact with collagen, it can lead to damaged tendon structure and joint problems and reduction in muscle strength. High levels of cholesterol in the blood have also been shown to have a connection with the health of our tendons. Studies have found that altered tendon structure or tendon pain is often associated with a higher level of cholesterol in the blood and excess body weight itself can physically contribute to joint pain. So this can place our joints under undue stress, causing wear and tear over time. Fat cells themselves can actually produce hormones and cytokines that can worsen arthritis symptoms. However certain metabolic pathways such as those activated during a fasting diet can have anti-inflammatory effects. So all of this research and evidence suggests that there’s a clear link between our metabolic health and our joint health. Maintaining good overall metabolic health is actually crucial to ensure proper blood flow to our joints and other tissues within the body.
Now let’s talk briefly about leptin. Leptin is one of our body’s most powerful metabolic hormones and it’s produced within our fat cells and it acts as a messenger, signaling to the brain and informing our brain about our energy stores. So this hormone plays a vital role in regulating our appetite and our energy balance. But here’s the exciting part, Leptin also has an impact on arthritis. So in arthritis patients, imbalances in leptin levels can actually contribute to increased pain and inflammation in the joints, and elevated leptin levels can actually change inflammatory and immune responses within the joints. And individuals with arthritis have been shown to have higher serum levels of leptin. So by understanding and managing leptin, we can actively work towards reducing arthritis pain. So leptin is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding metabolism and joint health. So how can we influence our leptin levels? Well, here’s the good news. We can incorporate strategies into our lifestyle which can help to improve our leptin levels. Two of the most important strategies that we can include are weight loss and exercise. So shedding excess weight through a balanced and healthy diet and plenty of exercise can help to alleviate excess stress on the joints. And weight loss can also reduce the production of hormones and cytokines that can worsen arthritis symptoms. Regular physical activity such as walking and other low-impact exercises can actually promote bone and tendon strength. And exercise also helps to keep metabolic markers in check and of course, to help us to maintain a healthy weight. So by incorporating weight loss and exercise into your routine, you can target leptin signaling and reduce arthritic inflammation effectively.
So we all know how good walking can be for both our physical and mental health. And walking is a simple and accessible low-impact exercise, and it offers numerous benefits for metabolic health as well and our general joint health. But regular walking has also been shown to positively impact our leptin levels within the body. So as well as improving joint flexibility, and strengthening muscles, it can also aid in regulating those all important leptin levels. So by incorporating walking into our regular exercise routine, we can take an active role in managing our metabolism, and this can help to reduce arthritis pain. By reducing these all important leptin levels, walking can also help to address any underlying metabolic imbalances that can be associated with arthritis.
So let’s just sum up what we’ve been talking about during this episode, and we’ve spoken about leptin, this important hormone that’s involved in regulating metabolism and how it may be linked to the development and progression of arthritis symptoms and by promoting inflammation and joint damage. However, there is hope and we’ve spoken about strategies that we can use to target leptin signaling. So these include weight loss and exercise, and these strategies can actually potentially reduce inflammation and help to improve arthritis symptoms. And of course it’s important to promote general metabolic health anyway for our overall well-being. And by using these simple lifestyle changes, we can actually help to find new ways to prevent and manage our arthritis symptoms. As research in this area progresses, it’s important to stay informed and to collaborate closely with our health care providers, and remember that you have the power to take control of your metabolism. By doing so, this can actually help you to take control of your arthritis symptoms. So by getting moving, embracing, walking, and letting our body’s natural metabolic processes work in our favor. So thank you very much for listening to this episode and don’t forget to subscribe to the Rheumatoid Solutions YouTube channel for more great Content. And if you’re not yet a member, be sure to join our community at www.RheumatoidSolutions.com. Thank you and speak to you soon.