Researchers at the School of Medicine have shown how exercise changes the body at a molecular level and have identified blood markers of fitness.
A simple blood test may be able to determine how physically fit you are, according to a new study conducted by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The test could complement treadmill tests, a more traditional clinical evaluation of fitness, and provide individuals with far more nuanced information about their body’s molecular response to exercise.
The blood test is an offshoot of a complex study conducted by a team of researchers that took hundreds of thousands of molecular measurements from a group of individuals before and after exercising.
“Everybody knows exercise is good for you, but we really don’t know what drives that at a molecular level,” said Michael Snyder, PhD, professor and chair of genetics. “Our goal at the outset was to conduct a highly comprehensive analysis of what’s happening in the body just after exercising.”
The team tracked molecular markers of a wide array of biological processes, such as metabolism, immunity, oxidative stress and cardiovascular function. Hundreds of thousands of measurements from 36 study participants provided a window into the sea of chemical fluctuations the body experiences during intense exercise. To the scientists’ knowledge, such comprehensive measurements of post-exercise molecular fluctuations have never been performed. What’s more, the team saw that the participants who were most physically fit shared similar molecular signatures in their resting blood samples captured before exercise.