For some, working out just doesn’t pay off.
A recent study published in Cardiovascular Research by the Heart Research Institute (HRI) and The University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre has found a correlation between a specific metabolite, dimethylguanidino valeric acid (DMGV), and the inability to gain many of the health benefits associated with exercise.
The study was performed on 52 young newly enlisted male soldiers in 2015. The authors performed plasma metabolomic analyses before and after an 80-day aerobic and strength exercise schedule. They analyzed the changes in hundreds of metabolites before and after exercise. The researchers discovered that there was a considerable variation, from one individual to another even though the test group was composed of healthy young army recruits who maintained the same schedule and diet.
After the exercise regimen, the authors identified major differences in many classes of metabolic substrates such as lipids, ketone bodies, arginine metabolites, endocannabinoids, nucleotides, markers of proteolysis, products of fatty acid oxidation, microbiome-derived metabolites, markers of redox stress, and substrates of coagulation.
Interestingly, DMGV followed maladaptive metabolic changes to exercise. The authors found that those with increasing DMGV levels, after the exercise regimen, had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A positive correlation was found between increasing DMGV and total body fat, LDL cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure.
Dr. Yen Chin Koay, the first author of the study, says:
“We found levels of a molecule called dimethylguanidino valeric acid appear to indicate how much a person benefits physically from doing exercise. People with higher DMGV might be working out hard and eating well but they don’t reap the same rewards from their hard work as those with naturally lower levels of the metabolite.”
“Despite being just as young, working out just as much and eating just as well, the hard work didn’t pay off for these guys.” says Dr. Koay.
The study concludes that DMGV can be a useful marker of inadequate metabolic response to exercise.