Is Muscle Mass a Factor in Preventing or Controlling Gestational Diabetes?

Physical activity is known to be one way of preventing or controlling Type 2 diabetes and pregnancy-related diabetes which is known as Gestational diabetes. One reason for this could be a protective effect of muscle tissue. Scientists at St. Marianna University in Kawasaki, Japan, found a link between low muscle mass and insulin resistance.

Their study, reported on in November of 2018 in Endocrinology Journal, included 96 pregnant women with an average age of 34 years, diagnosed with Gestational diabetes. Their body mass index (BMI) averaged 22 kg/meter squared or an average healthy weight. Women with the lowest amount of muscle mass had the highest amount of insulin resistance. The researchers concluded building up muscle tissue rather than just adjusting body weight, could be important for preventing or controlling Gestational diabetes.

In September of 2018, the journal Clinical Science reported on a study that underscores the need for muscle mass to prevent Gestational diabetes. Investigators at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and several other research facilities in Chile and the United States, found microscopic RNA (ribonucleic acid), which plays a part in regulating genes, was programmed to lower insulin sensitivity in the muscles of women with diagnosed with diabetes during their pregnancy.

The microscopic RNA found in packages called exosomes originates in the placenta of pregnant women…

  • exosomes taken from women with Gestational diabetes lowered sugar taken up by muscles when given to participants with normal blood sugar levels.
  • when exosomes from healthy women were assigned to women diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, their muscles began to take up more sugar.

From these results, the investigators concluded exosomes could affect insulin sensitivity in healthy women and women who have been diagnosed with diabetes during their pregnancy…

  • deoxyribonucleic acid, abbreviated DNA makes up our genes, determining what we are. It is found in the nucleus of the cell and is made up of long sugar molecules and smaller molecules known as bases.
  • RNA forms itself along DNA molecules, getting its sequence of bases according to those of the DNA. RNA then goes out into the rest of the cell, or, in the case of exosomes, outside the cell to do the bidding of the DNA.

Once the particular DNA sequence coded for Gestational diabetes is known it might be possible to design a protein to cover that sequence so the RNA would not be able to attach itself. In the meantime, the best way known for preventing or controlling diabetes of pregnancy is to maintain a healthy weight and gain only the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy.

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