Irisin - evidence for benefits resulting from physical activity
Irisin is a myokine with wide metabolic action, which makes it very similar to a hormone. Its serum level depends on the expression of the genes FNDC5 and PGC-1α which, in turn, are induced, among others, by physical activity, especially aerobic exercises. According to many studies, aerobic training lasting for 45-60 minutes significantly increased the level of irisin in blood or muscles, and was considerably more effective than endurance training. Irisin shows protective properties against type 2 diabetes by decreasing insulin-resistance and against atherosclerosis by the improvement of lipid profile and anti-inflammatory action. It helps patients with overweight and obesity struggle with an excess of adipose tissue, and induces the conversion of white adipose tissue to brown. It also improves metabolic profile by the acceleration of metabolism and increase in thermogenesis. This myokine reduces the risk of occurrence of metabolic syndrome. Also, the neuroprotective effect of irisin has been confirmed, which would indicate a tremendous role of physical effort in slowing down the course of neurodegenerative diseases in seniors. In addition, irisin acts through many signal pathways exerting an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-apoptotic and anti-cancer effects, which is a potential therapeutic goal. Unfortunately, further studies concerning irisin are still needed before it can be clinically used. However, already now it may be the tool for psychologists working with persons suffering from overweight, obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, neurodegenerative diseases, and many other disorders to motivate them for regular physical effort.
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