Fat to Thin Quenches Inflammation!

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There are numerous benefits related to maintaining a healthy body mass and apart from personal comfort and self esteem the reduction of excess fatty tissues has been proven to show a great deal of change in circulating markers of inflammation. Pro inflammatory cytokines are understood to be involved with a wide range of adverse health conditions and it is generally accepted that managing to keep these low molecular weight molecules in a state of balance will provide benefits to all tissues in the body – including the brain.

Two types of cytokine in particular are related to obesity – IL-6 and TNF-α and raised levels will undoubtedly have adverse effects and reduce capacity for a healthy life. This study out in GUT demonstrates that excessive weight loss is an effective anti-inflammatory strategy.[1]

Significance of this study

What is already known about this subject?

  • Adipose tissue is a major source of pro-inflammatory cytokines in morbid obesity.
  • Serum levels of various pro-inflammatory cytokines decrease after successful weight loss whereas levels of adiponectin increase.

What are the new findings?

  • Expression of various pro-inflammatory cytokines is more pronounced in adipose compared to liver tissue in patients with severe obesity.
  • Adipose tissue may be the major cytokine source in obesity.
  • Excessive weight loss massively decreases subcutaneous fat expression especially of IL-6 but also of TNFα whereas adiponectin and its receptors (types I and II) expression increases.

How might it impact on clinical practice in the foreseeable future?

  • Excessive weight loss is an effective anti-inflammatory strategy.
  • Targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, TNFα) could improve obesity-related inflammation and insulin resistance.


Exercise and Your Noggin

One of the best mechanisms for losing weight is regular exercise. Exercise is well understood to increase metabolic needs and so place an increased demand on energy stores. However, exercise has many other benefits to offer and these should be promoted to your patients at the same time to add extra value to their programme including:

  • Increased neurogenesis or added brain cells and increased IQ
  • Our brains have adult stem cells that become less responsive to stimulus for division as we age. Bone-morphogenetic protein is the brake on this process, making our brains slower and less nimble.[2]
  • Exercise suppresses BMP and increases the gloriously named ‘noggin brain protein’ that enhances brain function[3] – even a small amount of exercise has a beneficial effect, so get out and grow your brain!


Adverse Inflammation is the sine non qua of medicine and we as Nutritional Therapists have a wide range of strategies to correct people’s inflammation cascade. Motivation for change is very hard and many patients simply do not engage in changes long enough to create a new way of living. Using this information you can inspire the early adopters and promote long term brain health through reduced body mass and increased exercise activity.


[1] Moschen, RA et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of excessive weight loss: potent suppression of adipose interleukin 6 and tumour necrosis factor α expression. Gut gut.2010.214577Published Online First: 21 July 2010 doi:10.1136/gut.2010.214577 View Full Paper

[2] Gobeske KT, Das S, Bonaguidi MA, Weiss C, Radulovic J, Disterhoft JF, Kessler JA. BMP signaling mediates effects of exercise on hippocampal neurogenesis and cognition in mice. PLoS One. 2009 Oct 20;4(10):e7506. View Full Paper

[3] Samanta J, Alden T, Gobeske K, Kan L, Kessler JA. Noggin protects against ischemic brain injury in rodents. Stroke. 2010 Feb;41(2):357-62. Epub 2009 Dec 17 View Abstract

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