Fat Matters - Metabolic Health and Chronic Inflammation

Fat Matters - Metabolic Health and Chronic Inflammation

Darcy is annoyingly energetic at the moment, he springs into the office full of joie de vivre and wit, often too much for this slightly brain fogged woman to handle - it doesn’t always end well, but Darcy seems oblivious and bounces off to “meet someone for a coffee.”

Darcy has lost over 30kg now, and with that, he has had to purchase a new trendy wardrobe (pictured).  He is walking and biking for hours every week – he calls his bike his “silver ranger” and speaks of it with such affection I have concerns for his wife.

There have been a couple of major turning points in the past year for Darcy which led to this enormous lifestyle shift.  Theoretically, he knew he needed to do something, as despite making enormous health improvements in terms of lung capacity and other measures, he still battled on a daily basis with general health. 

The first turning point was when we recorded a podcast with medical doctor and metabolic health specialist Dr Paul Kolodzik (listen to Episode 25 here).  After recording our podcast, we spoke with Paul for a while longer and Darcy tried presenting a few alternate theories, which Paul gently, but firmly shot down ““don’t give me your excuses – the science is clear.”  From that point on Darcy lowered the ratio of carbohydrates to protein and fats in his diet and experienced immediate weight loss.

The second turning point came when Darcy was diagnosed as coeliac, which we wrote about in a blog (read more here).  Removing gluten from his diet has meant a bunch of physiological changes associated with reduced inflammation and increased energy (as well as more weight loss).

I am planning on getting Darcy to share his full story (on video), including what tools he has used – which incorporates food counting aps on his phone and other tricks. But as you know, getting Darcy on video is never an easy task – it’s coming for any of you who would like to walk a similar path, I promise!

The importance of doing something - for health reasons

As the obesity epidemic grows globally, chronic disease is on the rise with three of five people expected to die of chronic inflammatory diseases - like stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, heart disorders, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

We are beginning to have a greater understanding of the role obesity has in chronic inflammation, but it is fair to say, it is complex and not entirely understood.

Studies have shown that adipose (fat) tissue can secrete more than 50 hormones and signaling molecules (referred to as adipokines).  These adipokines play an essential role in immunity and the metabolism of glucose.

Interestingly, the adipose tissue of lean individuals has been shown to secrete anti-inflammatory adipokines (such as IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF), adiponectin, and apelin).

In contrast, for obese individuals, the adipose tissue predominantly secretes pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-6, TNF-, resistin, visfatin, leptin, angiotensin II, and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1) (you can read more here).

We don’t really understand how the pro-inflammatory compounds work (or why they are released), but the theory is that it is something to do with the body seeking some sort of balance (homeostasis) to disrupt the process of fat storage (when more fat is not needed).  Great plan but not so good when the calories keep coming and the body then slips into a state of sustained obesity and chronic inflammation.

There is good news, dietary and lifestyle intervention can help enormously and reverse much of the damage done (depending on how long a person has been living in a chronically inflamed state) - Darcy’s full story on this is coming!

And please do check out Dr Paul Kolodzik’s podcast (and have a read of his book too).  The clear message from him, is that the path to diabetes happens a lot earlier than we realise and we can take clear and swift action at any point along that path, even after a pre-diabetes or diabetes diagnosis.

Finally, as annoying as Darcy has become, it is fantastic hearing about his long weekend bike rides on his silver ranger and hearing about the medical ticks he is now getting in terms of inflammatory biomarkers and other health indications.

Improving our metabolic function is critical for our energy levels and our general health and it’s worth reminding ourselves that it’s never too late to start.  It’s not always a linear journey, there will be bumps along the way but it’s worth persevering!

 All the best, Anna and Darcy.

If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact Darcy or Anna (who you can contact at +64 27 599 2255 or +64 27 4861418 respectively) or via info@zesttwellness.com.

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