Researchers noticed how blood markers associated with inflammation, immune response or remodeling of arteries that normally occur after tissue damage, infection or other types of stress. In their research, levels of two of these markers dropped significantly in African-American men but not in Caucasian men following the time they started with their strength training six weeks ago.
Bo Fernhall, the dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago claimed that resistance exercise training is more beneficial among young African-American men than in Caucasian men of the same age. Fernhall led the study while teaching in the department of kinesiology and community health at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The participants in the study were composed of 14 African-American and 18 Caucasian selected based on their body mass index, cardiovascular fitness and age. According to their records, none had been trained in endurance or resistance exercise prior to the study.
African-Americans known for having a higher risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease compared to Caucasians, Fernhall noted that African-American are more prone to hypertension, stroke and kidney disease.
The said problem has started at an early age.
In another study led by Fernhall and his doctoral student, Kevin Heffernan(an author on the new paper as well) found that resistance training affects the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood of African-American, but not Caucasian, men. This protein indicates the level of systemic inflammation. The levels of CRP affected after an in injury or infection occurrence, and chronically elevated levels are sometimes connected with heart disease and cancer.
The new study concentrated on finding other markers that could signal trouble in the arteries: MMPs, which help in remodelling blood vessels after injury or infection; and 8-isoprostane, a marker of oxidative stress that involves chemically charged ions or molecules called reactive oxygen species. The finding suggested that resistance training can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases for African-Americans, but not the Caucasians. The researchers were amazed to find out that initial levels of MMP-9 were much lower in African-Americans prior to the weight training.
According to Illinois doctoral student Marc Cook, it maybe because MMP-9 has diverse effect on the vasculature of African-Americans compared to Caucasians.
Cook believes that the drop of MMP-9 was connected with the increase in muscle strength,in the African-American men . He sees the reduction in MMP-9s and 8-isoprostane has a positive result for the African-American men.
Cook pointed out how earlier studies had shown showed “aerobic exercise actually reduces oxidative stress, and reduces iosprostane, but they never did think that it is also the case with strength training.
Cook believes he now know what to say when African-American men ask him why they should exercise.
“If you don’t like cardiovascular exercise if you don’t like running on a treadmill, if you can’t play basketball or you’re not good at it, you can lift weights and improve your health, especially when it comes to high blood pressure, which happens to run in our family,” he said. “If you just want to lift weights and you do it on a regular basis, you could improve your function.”
“The overall goal of our departmental research here at the U. of I. is to explore the use of exercise as adjunct therapy for disease while providing a public health message and evidence about how exercise is beneficial, even at an early age,” said Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Jeffrey Woods, a co-author on the study.