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Obesity Decreases Brain Function

Obese teenagers can have certain brain differences from their thinner peers, which might indicate they have signal damage from inflammation, UPI reported.


Researchers found that obese teenagers tended to have signs of decreased "integrity" in the brain's white matter, which contains the fibers that connect different areas of the brain. According to the report, the teens’ lower white-matter was seen in a brain region related to emotional control and "reward" seeking.

Obesity may lead to alterations in brain structure, shrinking certain regions.

Obesity rates have tripled worldwide since 1975, and as of 2016, 39% of adults were overweight while 13% were obese. Associated health risks like heart disease and diabetes are well known, but many don’t realize that your brain may also be affected by obesity. About 20% of children ages 6 to 19 are also obese and rates of diabetes nearly doubled from 1994 to 2015.

Among men, a higher total body fat percentage (5.5%) was linked to lower brain gray matter volume; and in women, a greater total body fat percentage (6.6%) was associated with a smaller brain region that supports a range of functions, including motivation, cognition and action.

Obesity is also associated with inflammation, and inflammation may increase your risk of dementia. Insulin resistance, a hallmark of obesity, is also thought to be involved in both cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Obesity may also be associated with lower volume in brain regions that regulate eating habits and, as a result, could cause you to overeat.

Simple lifestyle strategies can improve your brain health and help you lose weight. This includes exercise, calorie restriction or intermittent fasting, reducing net carbs and increasing healthy fats.

It's become a well-known fact that excess sugar harms your health by setting up the conditions for obesity and diabetes.

Those who are obese increase their risk for diabetes, stroke, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and complications related to infections, including hospitalization and death. In addition, data shows those who are obese transmit the flu virus longer than those who are not.

Stress and grief may also have an impact on your hormonal balance and could leave you vulnerable to infections and other illness by weakening your immune system. You can learn to cope with grief and stress through exercise, prayer, meditation, yoga, acupuncture or practicing The Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, a psychological acupressure technique. 

Your immune system is complex and affected by a number of different systems in your body, not just your weight. So, whether you are overweight or not, there a number of measures you can take to strengthen your immune function. 

Some of these measures may also help you achieve weight loss or better weight management, as much of your immune system and metabolism is tied to your gut microbiome.

Optimize your gut microbiome by:

  • Avoiding processed and fast food and eating more fermented foods
  • Getting a massage
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Maintaining a positive attitude
  • Learn how to manage and process grief and stress