Thoughts on Better Aging

Visceral Fat

October 8th, 2013

And How It Can Impact Your Health

While most of us find excess body fat undesirable, did you know that some kinds of fat are particularly undesirable where your health is concerned?  That’s right, all fat is not created equal.  And fat of the visceral variety is worth learning about.

The two most common types of body fat are “subcutaneous” and “visceral”. Subcutaneous fat is found directly under the skin’s surface, so it’s easy to see and to feel. Visceral fat, on the other hand, is hidden within the abdominal cavity, where it fills space and wraps itself around vital organs, including your heart, digestive tract, and liver.

Excess subcutaneous fat is not necessarily healthy, especially if it causes a person to be obese; but the presence of visceral fat poses a significant threat to your health, and can lead to numerous serious medical conditions.

More On Subcutaneous Fat

Subcutaneous fat is commonly found around the midsection, thighs, and buttocks. This type of fat is a source of concern for many people because you can readily see it, and it changes body shape.

While having too much subcutaneous fat can put stress on the body (particularly the joints in more extreme cases), scientists have found that the removal of subcutaneous fat does not significantly impact metabolic function. In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, overweight women who had 23 pounds of subcutaneous fat removed through liposuction experienced no difference in their blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, or blood pressure.

The same cannot be said of visceral fat…

More On Visceral Fat

As described above, visceral fat collects within the abdominal cavity, where it surrounds essential organs. While excess weight around the midsection is a clear indicator of visceral fat, you can’t necessarily see visceral fat by simply looking at someone. Some people can be quite thin, and still have excess visceral fat. Having said that, the larger the midsection, the more visceral fat a person is likely to have.

The problem with visceral fat is that it’s very metabolically active.  In particular, visceral fat produces proteins called cytokines, which trigger inflammatory responses within the body that are harmful to internal organs. Other substances produced by visceral fat can travel to the liver, throwing off its normal function.  This imbalance in liver function can lead increased production of blood fats—not a good thing. Visceral fat also contributes to insulin insensitively, increasing risk for type 2 diabetes.

Chronic Ailments Associated With Too Much Visceral Fat

Visceral fat is now thought to be a driving factor in the development of many serious health conditions.  Excess visceral fat has been linked to the following:

  • Ÿ  Heart Disease
  • Ÿ  High Blood Pressure
  • Ÿ  High Levels of LDL (Bad) Cholesterol
  • Ÿ  Insulin Insensitivity
  • Ÿ  Type 2 Diabetes
  • Ÿ  Cancer
  • Ÿ  Alzheimer’s Disease

Visceral Fat And Your Hormones

Studies have shown that hormones play an important role in the accumulation of visceral fat. Women with imbalanced hormones, particularly as they enter perimenopause and menopause, frequently gain visceral fat as their hormones fluctuate and eventually decline. Hormones involved in the development of visceral fat during this stage in life include estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and cortisol.

While trying to manage your weight and the accumulation of visceral fat can feel like an exercise in futility, a properly administered bioidentical hormone replacement program can prevent the accumulation of visceral fat, as well as reducing visceral fat that has already accumulated.

To be effective, a hormone replacement program must include a healthy diet, reasonable levels of regular physical activity, and stress management.

To learn more about how bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can help you to manage your weight, please contact Renew Woman™ at (866) 448-4022.

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