Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Intense exercise can alter our DNA

Every since human find out the existence of gene, the common knowledge about it is that, we cannot change it once inherited. However, scientists have significant shown that intense exercise can immediate alter DNA as change the regulation of gene can led to increase in enzymes that burn fat and sugar to support the body. Exercise not only strength our muscle but also transform the gene into more energy productivity way.

 Scientists taken some muscle samples from healthy volunteers before and after the exercise and they found the patterns of methylation have changed, the methylation is the processtion of addition of methyl group and use to control gene expression and occurs when chemical attach to DNA. In contract, demethylation is the chemical processing of removal of methyl group. Methylation and demethylation both play an important role for regulate the gene transcription which is used to turn on and turn off or at least slow down the gene production at exact time and position on DNA.  

On the other hand, the researchers recruited 14 volunteers who did not exercise frequently, as a result they found a part of demethylation of three gene involved in regulating other gene to generate energy from sugar that before and 20 minutes after their intense exercise. There are further studies shown that the hardest the exercised the better level of demethylation. It is noted that exercise did not change DNA itself but rather that exercise can change the gene expression to be more flexible. After an intense exercise, the muscles are chemically changed as it released calcium as helping muscles to work better and more efficiently. It is clarified that the muscle adapts whether we do use it or not.

The researchers also found a separate experiment that the effect of caffeine on rat muscles cells had shown a similar pattern of decreases in DNA methylation and the activity of particular genes had increased. As the effects of caffeine release the calcium into muscle tissue is similar to contracting muscle, It is very likely that there is a connection between the calcium concentration and demethylation. Perhaps the caffeine might also influence muscle at the same way but exercise cannot instead by drinking coffee as most of physical effect of caffeine goes on the central nervous system not the whole body muscle.

However, this mechanism of DNA demethylation was unclear. There is clarifying research shown that the effects of methylation were a short time effect. The researchers found the healthy volunteers’ DNA methylation level recorded 48 hours after 3 weeks exercise program had returned to the same as before.

This is a great news that exercise as a external factors can change gene expression and indicating more flexible than once thought. It is amazing that exercise can actually rewrite the person’s genetic code. With further researches, there are hopes that this will help our muscle to adapt changes in our environment in the future.


[1] Mahmoud Z,2012, Intense exercise can alter your DNA, Bio News, viewed 14 March 2012.

[2] Berres R, Yan J, Egan Bat. 2012, Acute ecercise remodels promoter methylation in human skeletal muscle, Volume 15, Issue 3, 405-411

Image [3] Change your DNA with just 20 minutes of regular exercise, Daily News, viewed 14 March 2012.

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