Two weeks of exercise training improves beta cell function and reduces pancreatic fat in adults with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, research suggests.
Finland scientists found that this short-term training particularly reduced ectopic fat (fat that accumulates in abnormal parts of the body) in the pancreas, and could be a valuable method of reducing type 2 diabetes risk.
The researchers assessed 54 adults with either prediabetes ortype 2 diabetes aged between 40-55 years, and randomised them to either two weeks of sprinting or continuous medium-intensity training.
The primary outcome being assessed was pancreatic fat, with excess fat known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, while researchers also monitored beta cell function and insulin sensitivity.
Before the study bega, the men involved had higher amounts of pancreatic fat and impaired beta cell function compared to healthy men.
Both exercise types were shown to decrease pancreatic fat similarly in healthy men and those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Men and women experienced similar improvement in beta cell function as a result of exercise.
“This study shows for the first time that exercise training decreases pancreatic fat content regardless of baseline glucose tolerance,” said the authors.
“In particular, individuals with fatty pancreas benefited from exercise training. As an accumulation of ectopic fat in the internal organs, including the pancreas, is a key factor in obesity and the development of type 2 diabetes, this study shows that exercise training is an effective way to decrease ectopic fat accumulation and hence reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
The findings were published in Diabetologia.
Editor’s note: Exercise is important in improving health, but diet is the fundamental variable in helping to prevent and treat prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. For more information on how eating healthy, real food can improve your health, mood and energy levels, visit our award-winning Low Carb Program.

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