Sarah Peykar Rose Hills
The Impacts of Age, Gender, & Exercise Status on Metabolic Flexibility
Metabolic inflexibility shows relation to the prevalence of diabetes, specifically as a precursor of type 2 diabetes, and obesity. My research project will focus on determining metabolic flexibility in athletically trained vs. untrained, young and old participants through measuring the relationship between exercise status, age, gender, and the ability to oxidize carbohydrates and fatty acids. Those with type 2 diabetes are metabolically inflexible, and thus lack the mitochondria necessary to oxidize glucose and fat. Mitochondrial function is imperative for energy metabolism to produce cellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in skeletal muscles, which is used to store and provide energy for metabolic processes. As we age, mitochondrial DNA functionality decreases with the onset of mitochondrial abnormalities and mutations. However, studies have proven that endurance training can increase mitochondrial function and therefore, correlate with higher levels of metabolic flexibility. Through examining the respiratory exchange ratio (RER), the ratio between the oxygen consumed (VO2) and carbon dioxide produced (VCO2), my research will have the ability to address the implications of fuel utilization as a subject ages and/or exercises.