Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sick Fat - The link between gut health, inflammation and metabolic challenges

Consider for a moment – your fat.  The fat around your belly, thighs, breasts, arms – this is not inert, benign tissue, this is a function organ, influencing your endocrine and immune system.

Which fat is the most problematic?  Let’s have a look at each kind:

1.       Subcutaneous fat – upper arms, back, legs, buttocks and subcutaneous abdominal fat – more benign, little harmful immune or metabolic effects

2.       Visceral fat – apple shaped, deep, around organs, men with ‘hard’ bellies – highly inflammatory and very biologically active fat

When fat cells become enlarged, their oxygen supply becomes inadequate, the cells begin to release hormones such as leptin – making you hungry and immune cells infiltrate, causing free fatty acids to be released into the body causing inflammation.  Since we know that almost all chronic degenerate disease is in an inflammatory, acidic environment, this isn’t just a, on no, I have to loose a few pounds problem, this become as a serious health risk and its dubbed – SICK FAT.

Do you have sick fat?  Consider your waist circumference to estimate your visceral or belly fat.Ideally, a waist circumference of < 70-75 cm in women and less than 75- 80 cm.

All you skinny people, don’t think you’re automatically off the hook.  “skinny fat” was a term coined for those who are metabolically obese, but normal weight.  So assessing actual fat levels is important for optimal health.

Why is this worth talking about.  Because, it means that your body’s fat is making you sick, it’s changing the way your immune system is responding to stimuli and leaving you primed for illness.  FAT cells release hormones (yup, its not just the brain or sex organs) which lead to this cycle of hunger, immune activation and increased fat.  It even causes a reallocation of nutrients, so even though you may think you’re getting enough nutrients from your daily multi, they’re not going where you need them to, leaving you fat yet undernourished!

The good news – there is a way to stop the cycle.  The link between gut health, inflammation and metabolic challenges is clear and resolvable.



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