Updated: Mar 8
It's clear that there's a lot more to weight loss than just counting calories in and counting calories out. In fact, our bodies are incredible at regulating the amount of energy we consume and expend, which is why we can eat whatever we want (of course not junk and processed) and still lose weight. But what about the other dynamics at work?
Is it true that inflammation causes weight gain?
It's a wonderful question, and one that can be tough to answer—especially when you consider how many various factors (apart from the calories in/calories out equation) contribute to weight growth.
However, there is some compelling research linking inflammation to obesity. Reduced inflammation, according to researchers, can help you lose weight over time. While there are numerous ways to reduce inflammation in your body, researchers have discovered that certain dietary changes are more effective than others.
What is Inflammation?
Weight gain is caused by a variety of factors, one of which is inflammation. If the term "inflammation" is unfamiliar to you, it could be because inflammation isn't always bad. When your body is under attack, this is an important response. Inflammation promotes wound healing, eliminates dead cells, and even protects against infection.
However, excessive inflammation can result in disease and weight gain. The problem is that when your body is bombarded with inflammatory signals all day, it can become difficult for your body to efficiently burn fat or calories. So, how does inflammation contribute to weight gain? Let us first understand what is acute & chronic inflammation.
Acute & Chronic Inflammation
Depending on how long the inflammation lasts, it can be acute or chronic. Acute inflammation occurs quickly as part of the body's normal healing reaction to illness or injury, but then diminishes when it is no longer required. Chronic inflammation accumulates over time as the body's normal response to a variety of broad health issues When you have chronic inflammation, your body's inflammatory reaction might eventually start destroying normal tissue and organs. The occurrence of diseases related to chronic inflammation is expected to rise steadily. Chronic inflammatory diseases such as stroke, chronic lung diseases, heart issues, cancer, obese, and diabetes kill 3 out of every 5 individuals worldwide.
7 most common triggers of chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation can result from the failure of eliminating the agent causing an acute inflammation that can resist host defense and remain in the tissue for an extended period.
Here are 7 most common triggers of chronic inflammation.
1. Mental Stress
The short-term effects of mental stress on the immune system are frequently manifested by an individual's increased propensity to fall sick or develop a cold following a stressful period. Although inflammation's long-term impacts are more prominent in the body, they are difficult to observe. This can happen to you as a result of financial strain, toxic relationships, a demanding profession, or a fast-paced lifestyle.
2. Food Intolerances-a physical stress on the body
Some of the most popular foods that can trigger an immunological reaction in people are dairy, gluten, eggs, and sugar. Food sensitivities occur when your body perceives specific food components as a "threat" and activates your immune system to combat them, which increases inflammation. Most people who have a food allergy or intolerance experience a variety of symptoms, including aches and pains, inflammation and swelling, weight problems, digestive problems, and more. Your body's immunological defense mechanism uses inflammation to remove something dangerous from your system. Many individuals are unaware of their food allergies or food intolerances.
Chronic stress, whether it be mental or physical, causes your body to release inflammatory cytokines, which increases overall inflammation.
3. Consuming Processed Foods
Since 70% of your immune system is located in your gut, consuming unhealthy oils, abundance of sugar, and a little nutrition can change the bacteria in your gut, which affects how your immune system reacts. Chronic inflammation can eventually result from eating processed meals, including "healthy" gluten-free processed foods. Increased calorie density, added sugar, saturated and trans fat content, poor fibre and micronutrient content, and a high energy percentage (E%) of the diet from ultra-processed foods are all characteristics of pro-inflammatory diets.
Conversely, diets with a higher percentage of unprocessed or less processed foods contain a wealth of micronutrients with anti-inflammatory potential, this indicates a link between the level of industrial food processing and its inflammatory potential of diet.
4. Exposure to environmental toxins
Endocrine disruptors, which are present in everything from plastics to beauty and household products to even our drinking water, such as glyphosate, which is sprayed over the majority of food crops, can harm your cells and alert your immune system to invaders in your body and to expel them. Unfortunately, we unknowingly come into contact with these compounds on a daily basis, raising the possibility of an immune response activation. Inhabitants of industrialized nations are more likely to be exposed to environmental toxic loads, which has been linked to an increase in the prevalence and incidence rates of autoimmune diseases.
Twin studies have shown that the genetic predisposition to autoimmune disorders can only be explained by genetic factors, and that environmental factors are required to activate the genetic predisposition to these diseases.
Monocytes, which are immune cells in the blood that serve as "sentinels" or early responders to infection, are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2. As a result, these immune cells undergo pyroptosis, which worsens systemic inflammation.
Inflammation and COVID have received a lot of attention lately. Chronic inflammation can be brought on by COVID, which can also activate other underlying viruses like EBV and cause more inflammation.
6. Hormonal Disturbances
As we age, the body's hormonal balance shifts toward excess cortisol as oestrogen and testosterone levels fall. Chronically high cortisol levels take a heavy toll on the body, causing everything from insulin resistance to decreased immune system function. Excess cortisol is also linked to low thyroid hormone levels. This is why many people struggle to lose weight, suffer from chronic infections, fatigue, and a variety of other conditions that may exacerbate the effects of inflammation. Researchers believe that inflammation is a specific problem for women during and after menopause.
Inflammation caused by hormonal imbalance may be the cause of 75% of all autoimmune diseases in women.
7. Gut Damage
Gut health relates to the functional balance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. A healthy gut aids in the maintenance of overall health and well-being. It also contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that protect the body from bacteria, viruses, and fungi, all of which are required for proper body function. Gut bacteria have also been shown to produce neurotransmitters (like serotonin) with anti-inflammatory properties. Dysbiosis occurs when bad gut bacteria outnumber good bacteria, resulting in chronic inflammation and influencing a variety of inflammatory conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, or IBD).
According to research, having a diverse population of good bacteria in your gut can improve psychological symptoms, combat obesity, and improve immune system function .
How Chronic inflammation influences weight?
Researchers have found several ways in which chronic inflammation affects body weight, but because of how closely the two interact, it is sort of a "chicken or the egg" situation.
Typically, hormonal and metabolic changes brought on by weight gain raise blood levels of C-reactive protein. These essential inflammatory indicators are often present until the extra weight is eliminated.
Additionally, the ensuing inflammation reduces the body's capacity to process insulin, which raises blood sugar levels and causes liver fat to accumulate, further reducing the body's capacity to process insulin. Of course, this could result in further weight gain, which would then increase insulin resistance, and so on. A vital hormone called leptin, which functions in the brain as a messenger to govern metabolism and hunger, is also negatively impacted by both weight gain and inflammation. Lower levels hinder any attempts to manage weight by slowing metabolism and making you feel hungry.
7 Tips to Reduce Inflammation and Control Weight gain
1. Rainbow Foods
What you eat has a significant impact on gut health and inflammation. Reduce your intake of processed foods and increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, salmon, greens, turmeric, and olive oil.
2. Managing Stress
Managing stressful environments might be difficult, but we can control how we deal with stress. Reduce stress by practicing meditation, yoga, reading, deep breathing, stretching and other self-care activities.
3. Improve your sleeping habits
Sleep deprivation has been shown in studies to have a negative impact on gut health and inflammation. It is recommended that you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night for your overall health. Keep away your phones & laptops at least 1 hour before sleep.
4. Optimise your good quality water intake
Cellular hydration is very important in your journey to lower inflammation and reduce weight. Make sure you are enough drinking clean structured water.
5. Know your imbalances and treat them
Functional Testing identifies underlying food sensitivities, gut infections, hormonal imbalances, parasites, fungal infection, mitochondrial dysfunction, nutrient deficiencies, and other issues. This is the only way to get to the root cause of your inflammation. Test inflammatory levels to see how your lifestyle changes are affecting them.
6.Supplement your body with right supplements Probiotics enhance healthy gut bacteria while combating bad bacteria. Other anti-inflammatory supplements are all B vitamins, vitamin D, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Eat more mackerel, salmon, chia/ flax seeds, hemp seeds, seaweed, and walnuts to increase your omega-3 intake. These are all excellent natural sources for reducing chronic inflammation.
7. Use Red light therapy
Red light therapy reduces chronic inflammation by increasing blood flow to injured tissues, and to boost the body's antioxidant defenses.
To wrap it all up..
As obesity and overweight are major issues these days, we should all be aware of the cycle of weight gain--->inflammation--->weight gain. Though this may appear exhausting, it is much easier to reverse these negative effects. Following a healthy lifestyle can help you reduce inflammation and start losing excess weight, allowing you to break the cycle.
If you need help with losing your stubborn weight, reach out to us at Functional Medicine Clinic!
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