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From Kentucky, USA:

I am 26 years old and have been dependent on insulin for about 7 years now. I would like to know how diabetes affects muscle growth for someone who lifts weights 3 to 4 times a week. What happens when your sugar is high and low during training and after training? I also run a mile after weight training; is this good or bad to do?


If you are in good control the hormonal effect on lean body mass increase with exercise is minimal. Growth hormone levels tend to be high which increases nitrogen anabolism on the other hand IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor) levels tend to be low which has an opposite effect.

The effect of running after weight lifting will be to convert a form of calorie consumption that is primarily dependent on glycogen stores to one where the calories increasingly come from the breakdown of fat. Both energy stores are dependant on normal insulin levels and therefore on good control. Either form of exercise improves control of blood sugars though the actual mechanism is ill understood. The disadvantage and one that can be avoided by adjusting calorie intake and insulin dose is of course hypoglycemia.

Blood sugars that are too high due to insulin insufficiency or too low for any reason will diminish the amount glucose available for conversion into energy by muscle tissue and thus diminish the capacity for exercise and increasing muscle mass.

In summary, vigorous exercise is great for Type 1 Diabetes control; but make sure you adjust insulin and snacks so that you avoid hypoglycemia.


Original posting 23 Mar 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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