The Dangers of Visceral Fat

Weight Management

The fat cells that are harmful to your health.


Excess glucose consumption, coupled with inactivity, chronic stress and /or hormonal imbalance leads to an excess of fat storage. When fat storage is in excess, this means it may be found in areas that the body is not equipped to handle. In fact, excess fat stores typically find themselves within the deep layers of the abdominal cavity where our vital organs are also located. This is referred to as “visceral fat”

Visceral fat, is the damaging fat that causes increased inflammation and weakens the function of the organ tissue where it is being stored. Visceral fat is typically found surrounding the pancreas, liver, kidney, intestines and heart.  Hard and of a gel-like consistency, the obese will have more visceral fat than those of normal weight, but it is not reserved for the overweight.

An individuals susceptibility to develop visceral fat increases dramatically through ageing. Research indicates this unhealthy fat accumulates for a number of reasons. It is often the visual indicator to an individual that their lifestyle, diet and exercise routine may not be healthy as is needed. Manifesting in a manner that one must take notice, visceral fat is the type of fat storage indicative of dysfunction. If one leaves visceral fat to surmount, disease and death are the inevitable result.

Fat cells, storage and the inflammatory response.

 

Fat cells are able to increase in number (hyperplasia). They also increase in size. (hypertrophy). During the process of each, hyperplasia and hypertrophy, and due to the fact that our metabolism is linked up with our immune systems, a person will experience shifts in their overall immunity.

How this works is through the production and secretion of cytokines and adipokines. Cytokines and adipokines secrete chemical messengers otherwise known as inflammatory molecules, proteins and hormones that have the ability to communicate with the organs in the body. In doing so, the inflammatory response that is initiated interferes with the organ and its natural function.

One known adipokine, which is also considered to be a neurohormone is leptin. Leptin resistance is an underlying cause of obesity. It partakes in the vicious hormonal cycle that contributes to the storage of visceral fat.

 

 

Common causes of visceral fat (belly fat) storage:

 

  • Insulin resistance
  • Chronic emotional stress
  • Toxic overload
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Physical inactivity
  • Ageing
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Unhealthy eating and at the wrong time of day
  • Alcoholism

Potential consequences of visceral fat (belly fat)

References
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  • Matsuzawa Y, Fujioka S, Tokunaga K, Tarui S. Classification of obesity with respect to morbidity. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1992 Jun;200(2):197-201. No abstract available.
  • Visceral Fat Volume is a Better Predictor for Insulin Resistance than Abdominal Wall Fat Index in Patients with Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Ozlem Ozer Cakir1*, Mehmet Yildiz2 and Mustafa Kulaksizoglu3
  • Nam, S., Choi, I., Ryu, K., Park, B., Kim, Y., Kim, H., & Kim, J. (2015). The Effect of Abdominal Visceral Fat, Circulating Inflammatory Cytokines, and Leptin Levels on Reflux Esophagitis. Journal Of Neurogastroenterology And Motility, 21(2), 247-254. doi:10.5056/jnm14114
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  •  Visceral Adiposity, Insulin Resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine May/June 2010 4: 230-243, first published on March 2, 2010
  •  Donohoe, Claire L, Suzanne L Doyle, and John V Reynolds. “Visceral Adiposity, Insulin Resistance and Cancer Risk.” Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 3 (2011): 12. PMC. Web. 8 Aug. 2016.
  • Fontana L, e. (2018). Visceral fat adipokine secretion is associated with systemic inflammation in obese humans. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 15 November 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17287468
  • BW, V. (2018). [Depressive symptoms, cortisol, visceral fat and metabolic syndrome]. – PubMed – NCBI . Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 15 November 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21898316
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