You already know that HIV meds (and maybe the virus itself) raise blood fat levels. You may even take more meds to lower them. But pills may not be your only hope. A pioneering study of 120 HAART-takers (on meds at least six months) at Boston’s Beth Israel Medical Center shows that exercise may be significantly associated with lower levels of one group of fats, triglycerides. High triglycerides often signal a risk of pancreatitis and heart disease (see “ZIP Your LIPids,” POZ, October 2003).
In the study, those who regularly did aerobic and resistance (weight-training) exercise had lower triglycerides. The researchers suggest that enzymes produced by muscles post-workout initiate a triglyceride-lowering process. (Cholesterol and glucose levels didn’t respond the same way.)
University of North Carolina lipo pro David Wohl, MD, says, “This shows we should be recommending exercise.” (It can help bones, too—see “Bone Appétit”.) Until more research finds the optimal exercise routine for checking triglycerides, the general workout rule is 40 minutes or more of aerobic activity, with some weight training thrown in, three or more times each week.