Obesity, inflammation and the immune system
Or, how it’s all related and why the Ayurvedic Doctors may have been already onto something
This is a summary of the key points of an excellent review by de Heredia FP, et al (Proc Nutr Soc. 2012 Mar 20:1-7).
- An Inflammatory state leads to many chronic diseases like Obesity, metabolic disease and other associated health alterations.
- An inflammatory state is indicated by increased levels of pro-inflammatory proteins in the blood.
The chronic inflammatory response has its origin in the links existing between the adipose tissue and the immune system. Obesity, like other states of malnutrition, is known to impair the immune function, altering leucocyte counts as well as cell-mediated immune responses. In addition, evidence has arisen that an altered immune function contributes to the pathogenesis of obesity.
It also backs up the holistic approach that other practitioners (like Ayurveda) are using and that these types of chronic illnesses cannot be treated in isolation.
The researchers propose theories regarding the above phenomenon:
(1) the obesity-associated increase in the production of leptin (pro-inflammatory) and the reduction in adiponectin (anti-inflammatory) seem to stimulate immune cells;
(2) NEFA (non-esterified fatty acids) can induce inflammation through various processes;
(3) too many nutrients and adipocyte expansion initiate endoplasmic reticulum stress;
(4) hypoxia (lack of oxygen) occurring in hypertrophied adipose tissue stimulates the expression of inflammatory genes and activates immune cells.
In summary, the investigators state that
“there is a positive feedback loop between local inflammation in adipose tissue and altered immune response in obesity, both contributing to the development of related metabolic complications.”
We feel this excellent review supports the recommendations we make frequently on these pages. In other articles on this website we have seen and recommended a holistic approach to disease prevention which includes, amongst others, a healthy active lifestyle & a healthy diet.