10. The Serious Health Risks of Belly Fat
The risks of belly fat don’t end with insulin resistance and chronically high levels of cortisol, though the long-term consequences of these conditions are best avoided (type II diabetes and osteoporosis, to name two).
A much more potentially dangerous issue associated with belly fat is increased levels of chronic inflammation, which rises through at least two pathways.
First, the free fatty acids released by the belly fat trigger a protein called “Nuclear Factor kappa B” (NFκB), which is a key regulator in our immune response. When NFκB is triggered, it turns on genes to allow cells to proliferate and flourish and to prevent cell death. In particular, it affects two particular sorts of cells: monocytes and macrophages, which are both types of white blood cells and a part of our immune response.
[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]Even though belly fat is a huge health risk, it is relatively easy to get rid of![/quote]
What we traditionally think of as “belly fat” is actually a mixture of fat cells and the white blood cells just mentioned, and while the blood cells may seem innocuous compared with the fat, they are actually a quite dangerous presence all on their own. Once present in large amounts, the macrophages and monocytes begin to release pro-inflammatory cytokines, increasing the level of chronic inflammation throughout the entire body.
The second way belly fat increases inflammation is by creating pro-inflammatory cytokines through its own fat cells. When we have a healthy amount of belly fat, it releases proper amounts of these cytokines (which are a lot like hormones, but more limited in function), but when our belly fat expands, so does the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, contributing further to chronic inflammation!
Comments are closed.