UCLA Logo It looks like good health calls for more and more fitness regimes that not only reduce body fat but also boost muscle mass. A recent study by David School of Medicine, UCLA scientists has disclosed that higher muscle mass is apparently crucial for reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes apart from having less body fat.

In the year 2010, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) revealed that sarcopenia is linked to growing insulin resistance for both obese and non-obese persons accompanied by higher proportions of blood glucose in obese people. This study made use of the same information to gauge this relation for 13,644 non-pregnant adults who had a minimum BMI of 16.5. The participants seemed to have varied levels of muscle mass other than only those with sacropenia.

After controlling certain factors like race, ethnicity, high BMI, and large waist for the analysis, it came to light that for every 10% rise in skeletal muscle index (SMI), there was a relative 11% decrease in insulin resistance along with a 12% lessening of pre-diabetes.

“Our findings suggest that beyond focusing on losing weight to improve metabolic health, there may be a role for maintaining fitness and building muscle mass. This is a welcome message for many overweight patients who experience difficulty in achieving weight loss, as any effort to get moving and keep fit should be seen as laudable and contributing to metabolic change,” commented Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology at UCLA.

Scientists expressed that though they were aware of a relation between low muscle mass and metabolic disorders, it was surprising that this relation sustained through the range of muscle mass. Since the survey was cross-sectional, and not interventional, the results of the study cannot be ascertained. However, the survey does put forth the vitality of keeping a check on one’s muscle mass in correlation to diabetes risk. The investigators have plans of expanding the study including imaging techniques to measure the quality of muscle in obesity and diabetic patients.

The findings will be reported in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.