You might already know that inflammation in your body is linked to a variety of negative health outcomes, such as cancer or heart disease. But now, new research has linked two surprising factors. Scientists believe your body proportions might influence your brain structure.
Specifically, researchers examined body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio. Then they compared those figures with measures of gray and white matter in the brain, along with overall brain volume. What they found was surprising: Those with higher BMIs (specifically if the extra weight was carried around the waist) had lower brain volumes, specifically with regard to measures of gray matter.
What does this mean? An excess of fat in the midsection triggers the release of cytokines, which “turn on” the immune system. An immune system operating in overdrive will create inflammation in the body.
This inflammatory response can affect neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate. Production of insulin, glucagon, and C-reactive proteins is also disrupted. This adds up to changes in brain function, lowered brain volume, and altered operation. Even worse, functions such as mood, hunger signals, and stress response can be altered. This can lead to a cycle of inflammation that alters mood, then cravings for unhealthy foods, and then more inflammation.
So, what’s the long term result for brain volume and function? The jury is still out on that. But we already know that chronic inflammation leads to many other health problems, and that following a prescribed weight loss plan can help to reduce inflammation and slash risk of certain chronic diseases. Now we can add brain protection to that list.
For more information on a medically supported weight loss plan, that will help you reduce your BMI and belly fat, give us a call. We can also address issues with inflammation and your risk of certain age-related conditions, if those concern you.