We all know that exercise provides countless benefits to our health. Aside from helping us shed pounds, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as other dangerous conditions. Scientists have recently identified a process that indicates the body might be “aware” on a cellular level that it is exercising. Such a find is groundbreaking for a few particular reasons.
Science Daily explains the process in more detail:
During physical activity — as the heart pumps more blood around the body — the Piezo1 protein in the endothelium or lining of the arteries taking blood from the heart to the stomach and intestines senses the increased pressure on the wall of the blood vessels.
In response, it slightly alters the electrical balance in the endothelium and this results in the blood vessels constricting.
In a clever act of plumbing, that narrowing of the blood vessels reduces blood flow to the stomach and intestines, allowing more blood to reach the brain and muscles actively engaged in exercise.
Scientists believe that one of the reasons exercise is so beneficial is that it controls blood flow to the intestines. Accordingly, they are experimenting with a drug called Yoda1 (yes, it is named after the beloved Star Wars character) which mimics the action of increasing blood flow to the endothelium. They hope that the drug could thereby enhance the benefits of exercise and address some of the root issues associated with ailments such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. By helping to move blood away from the stomach and intestines, and toward the heart and brain, Yoda1 might help to control some chronic conditions.