Good news – a new study has proven that exercise can prevent weight gain.  It also boosts the immune system and mental health.

The same mechanisms that make exercise beneficial for the brain also counteract fat and strengthen the immune system.

This is according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

In 2014, Karolinska Institutet researchers discovered a mechanism behind the beneficial effect of exercise on the brain.

A follow-up study found the same process also boosts fat metabolism and strengthens the anti-inflammatory properties of the immune system.

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Exercise cleans blood

In the earlier study, researchers found that trained muscles help to clean the blood in a way similar to the kidneys and liver.

Exercise turns stress marker into fat fighter

While exercising, muscles convert the stress marker kynurenine into kynurenic acid. High levels of kynurenine have been measured in people with depression and mental illness.

For the latest study, the researchers examined the function of kynurenic acid.

Related: Best exercise for weight loss: Weight training or cardio?

While exercising, muscles convert the stress marker kynurenine into kynurenic acid. In the study, kynurenic acid stopped mice from putting on weight

Using mice fed on a fat-rich diet that made them overweight and raised their blood sugar levels, they found that a daily dose of kynurenic acid stopped the mice putting on weight. It also gave them better glucose tolerance, despite no change in their food intake.

The researchers explain that kynurenic acid activates the cell receptor GPR35, which is found in both fat cells and immune cells. This leads to a conversion of white fat into energy-burning brown fat, and an enhancement of their anti-inflammatory properties.

“We’ve shown that kynurenic acid prevents weight gain despite excessive energy intake,” says Dr Jorge Ruas, principal investigator at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet.

“Our next step is to identify the complex chain of interacting molecules that’s affected by diet and training.”

Source: Karolinska Institutet via

Related: Can exercise boost brain power? 

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.