by Robert Goldman MD, PhD Iron Man Magazine
Insulin resistance, which can raise blood glucose levels above the normal range, is a major factor that contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. In that previous studies have shown very low muscle mass to be a risk factor for insulin resistance, Preethi Srikanthan, from University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues examined whether increasing muscle mass to average and above average levels, independent of obesity levels, would lead to improved blood glucose regulation. The researchers examined the association of skeletal muscle with insulin resistance and blood glucose metabolism disorders in a nationally representative sample of 13,644 individuals. Participants were older than 20 years, non-pregnant and weighed more than 35 kilograms. Demonstrating that greater muscle mass (relative to body size) is associated with better insulin sensitivity, the team concluded, “Across the full range, higher muscle mass (relative to body size) is associated with better insulin sensitivity and lower risk of [pre- or overt diabetes].”
Srikanthan, P. et al. (2011). Relative muscle mass Is inversely associated with insulin resistance and prediabetes—findings from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 96:2898-2903.
—Dr. Bob Goldman