By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald (M. Tech Hom UJ)
The fat around your belly button is a special type of fat called visceral adipose tissue (VAT). This fat surrounds your organs inside your abdominal cavity including your liver, pancreas and intestines.
VAT is composed of 10% macrophages (a white blood cell that is meant to control inflammation). When homeostasis is disrupted by higher amounts of fat storage, macrophages become pro-inflammatory and secrete several pro-inflammatory markers including IL-6. IL-6 levels are directly proportionate to your waist circumference(WC) - increased WC=increased IL-6.
So the more weight you carry around your waist, the higher your inflammatory markers.
So how does this affect weight loss?
The answer is not straightforward, but the short answer is that increased inflammation = increased cortisol (the anti-inflammatory hormone). Increased cortisone suppresses insulin which eventually leads to insulin resistance. Your pancreas compensates for the insulin resistance by secreting higher than normal levels of insulin, and as we know, insulin favors fat storage.
Increased fat = increased IL-6 = increased cortisol = insulin resistance = increased fat.
Fat propagates fat.
To lose weight, you have to take into consideration the obstacles to weight loss created by the biochemical and metabolic imbalances created by visceral adipose tissue. Eating less and exercising more won't cut it! It will only leave you frustrated and ready to give up.
So step one in losing weight: fight the inflammation!
How can you do this?
1. Eliminate pro-inflammatory foods. This includes conventionally raised aimal products (milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, animal fat),
2. Include foods that can fight the inflammation, ginger, curcumin, omega 3 rich foods),
3. Moderate exercis,
4. Get enough sleep, 7-8 hours of good quality sleep every night),
5. Drink a good quality omega 3 with a high ratio of EPA.
To be continued in a second installment tomorrow...