Exercise Promotes Protein Synthesis During Fasting

Active people often use brief periods of starvation to lose body fat rapidly. Unfortunately, starvation turns off biochemical pathways that promote muscle growth, most notably the mTOR pathway. During starvation, cells— particularly muscle cells— atrophy and use their cell content for energy. A Japanese study on starved mice, from the Juntendo University School of Medicine in Tokyo, found that exercise activated the mTOR pathway for protein synthesis and slowed down the starvation-related pathways linked to atrophy. People using short-term intermittent fasting for weight loss should include exercise, so that they minimize the loss of muscle mass. (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 456: 519-526, 2015)

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