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Inflammatory Cytokines: The Angry Fat Messenger

woman laying in bed with hands on stomach in discomfortCytokines, along with adipokines, are two hormone-like messengers made by fat cells. These messengers are released by cells and affect the behavior of other cells. Cytokines are proteins released by cells that have a specific effect on the interactions and communications between cells. There are two types of cytokines: pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory.

Inflammatory cytokines are the result of too much fat in the body. These inflammatory cytokines further increase fat storage and disease risk in the body. Here’s a look at how inflammation and obesity are related.

Inflammation has been shown to precede the development of obesity. Infusion of inflammatory cytokines into healthy, normal-weight mice caused insulin resistance, the primary promoter of fat production and storage. Research shows that elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines predict future weight gain.

Inflammation begins in the fat cells. More and more fat cells increase oxidative stress (rusting in the body) and fat cells are the first cells affected by increased inflammation, the beginning of a vicious cycle.

Inflammation of the fat tissue causes insulin resistance. TNF-a and C-reactive proteins (both cytokines released during the inflammatory response) have been shown to cause insulin resistance and weight gain in studies, especially around the mid-section is the result.

Inflammation also alters the brain control center of the hypothalamus causing leptin resistance, which accompanies insulin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that signals to the brain that you are full. When the hypothalamus becomes resistant to leptin, glucose and fat metabolism are impaired, resulting in weight gain and insulin resistance.

Inflammation in the gut also causes leptin and insulin resistance. Gut inflammation may occur through an increase of out of balance bacteria in the gut affecting caloric absorption and increasing fat storage inducing bacterial growth from eating a standard American diet and the metabolic by-product of the bacteria, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an endotoxin that can cause inflammation, insulin resistance in the liver, and weight gain.

In our next article, we’ll take a look at how rotating ketogenic principles into your diet can control these hormones that are making us fat.

Learn How to Control Your Fat Making Hormones

Everyone has the ability to learn more about their body and overcome weight gain by having a better nutritional understanding. Wondering if the ketogenic diet is right for you? Read more in our newest blog series about how to rotate keto principles into your own nutritional plan that WORKS for your body.

If you’d like to speak with us directly about specific nutritional goals, contact us today.
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