Metabolic activity of abdominal fat
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Some recent observations show that the inner abdominal fat works like an organ of its own that releases hormones, fats and other substances into the blood. This mode of operation was initially surprising because body fat was considered to be a largely inactive substance.
It will probably be several years before the activity of visceral fat has been researched sufficiently thoroughly. Only then will it be possible to correctly assess the involvement of internal abdominal fat in cardiovascular diseases.
However, the research results to date are already quite interesting and provide a better understanding of why internal abdominal fat poses a health hazard.
release of blood lipids
The main activity of the internal abdominal fat is apparently the release of fat components into the blood.
Exactly for this activity the internal belly fat is also intended, because it should serve primarily as fast energy storage.
When you don't have a chance to eat, either because you are out hunting or because there is no food available at the moment, then internal belly fat gives its fats (lipids) to the blood.
From there, the energy of the fats can be used where it is needed.
But nowadays there is hardly ever a hunt on foot lasting several days or a real food shortage in the industrial countries.
If the abdominal fat still performs its task as intended, too much fat gets into the blood.
It is then also referred to as elevated blood lipid levels.
These are mainly triglycerides, also called neutral fats. These are basic components of the different types of fat.
A triglyceride consists of a molecule of glycerol with three fatty acids attached thereto. The nature of the triglyceride varies depending on the fatty acids involved.
The body can gain energy from the triglycerides in order to move or maintain its warmth.
The metabolism is also able to convert fats into carbohydrates to maintain blood sugar levels and nourish the brain. But because this conversion consumes energy, the body prefers to get the carbohydrates for blood sugar directly from food.
If one has a lot of internal abdominal fat and there is no lack of food, the blood fat levels can increase so much that there is a health risk for the body. High blood fat levels promote the development of arteriosclerosis and can thus increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Besides fats, the inner abdominal fat releases hormones, especially oestrogens, into the body.
These estrogens are produced by the internal abdominal fat, making this fat a real hormonal gland. The inner abdominal fat is therefore a real organ and not just a simple fat store.
To a reasonable extent, this hormone production is very useful because it relieves the woman's ovaries of estrogen production.
This is particularly noticeable in the menopause. Women with a little stomach often suffer less from menopausal symptoms than extremely slim women. The dreaded osteoporosis also occurs less in women with a light stomach than in very slim women.
However, this advantage affects fewer women who are severely overweight, as the abundant fat deposits make them sweat a lot. They usually do not move very much, so that osteoporosis can be aggravated.
The hormonal advantage of estrogen production in the abdomen therefore comes from a small stomach, not from a very large one.
Men also need a certain amount of oestrogen, which is beneficial for a smooth skin and full hair.
Oestrogen production in the abdomen provides the men with the necessary oestrogen.
But too much stomach is also hormonal unfavourable for men. When men have too much estrogen in their bodies, they also get wide hips and legs in addition to a thick belly. They also grow breasts.
Production of inflammatory substances
The internal abdominal fat also produces various inflammatory substances, in particular a substance called interleukin-6.
Interleukin-6 plays an important role in inflammations and immune reactions.
In normal amounts, this interleukin-6 is important for human health because inflammations are necessary to fight pathogens and regenerate damaged tissue. Inflammations are unpleasant and dangerous when they get out of hand, but they are essential for a healthy body. Without the immune system and its tool inflammation we would be helplessly at the mercy of pathogens, wounds would not heal and we would also perish in our dead and damaged cells.
Therefore, interleukin-6 is also very useful because it supports the work of the immune system.
However, too much interleukin-6 is just as harmful as unnecessary inflammatory processes.
For example, too much interleukin-6 can cause inflammation inside the blood vessels. This leads to arteriosclerosis with deposits and constrictions in the vessels.
The consequences of this can include heart attacks and strokes.
As with the other products of the inner abdominal fat, the inflammatory substances are useful in small quantities and harmful in larger quantities.
That is why it is so dangerous when the internal abdominal fat becomes very rich.
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