Exercise, Estrogen, and Energy
Are those the three ‘E’s? Not really, but they’re in the news and I’m in an alliterative mood.
Mostly meaning I’ve consumed copious cups of coffee culminating in a conspicuously caffeinated cortex. All my studying is done for the night, so here are some fun news stories I saw.
Exercise is useless for losing weight
Pretty much what we already knew, but today’s New York Times confirms it in this article:
“In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss” says Eric Ravussin, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and an expert on weight loss.
And though it’s pretty useless for men, it’s almost entirely useless for women because it makes us want to eat more to compensate for the burned calories:
In physiological terms, the results “are consistent with the paradigm that mechanisms to maintain body fat are more effective in women,” Braun and his colleagues wrote.
Life is so unfair. At least we live longer than men. And have more common sense. 🙂
(Okay, I was tired and over-caffeinated when I wrote that. The truth is that neither sex is smarter than the other or has more common sense in every area. We women are generally smarter than men in some ways, and men tend to be smarter than us in other ways. We also have different styles of thinking. I wrote a blog about it: “Are Men Smarter Than Women?“)
On the other hand, estrogen protects brain cells
Of course, apart from exercise, we have our advantages. Estrogen not only protects brain cells but promotes memory and learning. Most people don’t realize that both women and men have estrogen in their bodies, just as both women and men have testosterone.
However, women have more estrogen and men have more testosterone. Low estrogen levels have been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental problems in both sexes.
And helped make viruses split water molecules
Okay, maybe that was a stretch. But a team led by Dr. Angela Belcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has discovered how to use viruses to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The result is a potential energy source because you can, basically, burn the hydrogen in the oxygen to get energy.
It’s pretty exciting. The team genetically engineered a virus to split water molecules. That was impressive enough. But they discovered that over time, the viruses would clump together, making them lose some of their ability to split water molecules. The solution? They embedded the viruses in a microgel matrix to keep them apart and in position. Remember, these are incredibly tiny organisms, only a few molecules thick.
Could Dr. Belcher have done it without the extra intellectual boost she got from estrogen? And more important, how does that affect her ability to lose weight by exercising?
Those are things we will probably never know. 🙂
Copyright 2010 by Rinth de Shadley.