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Fat cells do more than just store fat. A LOT more.

Friday, October 01, 2010

A friend sent me this article from the Huffington Post yesterday. He knows about the health issues and the deep fatigue I've been dealing with since the weight loss and thought perhaps I'd find some answers, or at least some hope, in this article. Per my usual, it seems to have left me with more questions. :)

Seems fat cells not only aren't just inert storage receptacles, they are an intricate component of the immune system and have a sophisticated communication system using hormones and proteins, several of which are just newly discovered.

My previous understanding was that once a fat cell was created the body does not reabsorb it however, if this new research proves correct and fat cells create these chemicals to affect immune system function, then I wonder if the empty ones actually are inert, or are they instead possibly still producing these hormones and proteins and possibly causing some imbalance in the body? In which case, maybe there's more than a cosmetic reason to have the skin flaps which contain the dessicated fat cells removed after a significant weight loss? Also, when you lose a significant amount of weight-- like 1/2 your body weight--I wonder, how long after losing the weight does it take for the body to regain balance and adjust to lower levels of these proteins and hormones in the system?

Anyway, there's some interesting new info in this and I'd love to hear what you think after you read it.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LVMS61516
    1231 days ago
    1437 days ago
    Thanks the article. It was enlightening.
    1673 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2446418
    Thanks for sharing!
    2467 days ago
    Hey Pretty Red-headed Gurrrl!
    Thanks for the article!! It's one of the clearest I've ever seen at explaining why FAT IS **NOT** MY FRIEND.

    and here I've thought it would "protect me" ... somehow... you know, that whole emotional eating and all...

    aaaah that's a little too deep now, must run off and drink some water and do some exercise!

    Have a great day!


    3540 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    emoticon Read Gary Taubes' wonderful book "WHY WE GET FAT" as he explains what fat cells do and why eating sugars/starches spike our INSULIN levels and make us hungry for more. It isn't about us being gluttons or lazy, but how carbs make us produce to much INSULIN which stores more fat. No wonder we can't "burn" it off.
    3541 days ago
    Thank you, CCKELLY, for posting this blog. I've enjoyed reading it and the rest of the ensuing discussion, and learned a lot from the whole thing. Thank you!
    3870 days ago
    Love these solutions to your problems... woot, woot!
    3870 days ago
    Most of those who tout "natural" health are pushing supplements. By "natural health" I do not mean eating whole foods, eating foods you can pronounce and great-grandmother would recognize, etc. I mean all of the "natural health" people who push exclusion diets, raw diets, enzyme supplements, chelated minerals, herbs, flushes, cleanses, fasting, "energy work" of any sort, or the like.

    You may be right that those who eat mostly crap food could benefit from something to clear out the crap once in a while. Simpler solution, cut the crap ... as if that is likely, heh.

    It doesn't take too long reviewing http://www.mercola.com/ to realize it's trying to sell you stuff. Crap you don't need. I happened upon it when someone posted a link to one of the anti-HFCS articles there which made some baseless allegations which was, iirc, HFCS being metabolized in the same way as trans fats. While I'm not fan of HFCS I really felt that I had to put the smack down on that one.

    I can't say I've gotten into measuring omega 3 to omega 6 ratios in my diet, and frankly data that would allow such seems difficult to find. But here's the article on which I base my strategy: http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition
    happiness ...basically avoid sunflower/safflower/soybean oils, specifically try to add olive oil/flax/salmon/sardines, peanut and canola oils are OK. Further, my current thinking (off topic here) is that saturated fats are neutral health-wise (note, not calorie-wise, like all fats) and to of course avoid trans fats. Also, you get omega-3 fatty acids when you eat grass-fed beef for example.

    I'm guessing based on what you said that you already do fine in this area.

    3875 days ago
    Glad the article was enjoyed by some and I appreciate your comments.

    And thanks GracefulLife for the counter info; I have to agree, I'm skeptical of those detox diet things as well. However, those of us who eat healthy as a general rule don't need stuff like that, but maybe there's some merit for those who eat mostly processed, junk and fast foods. I'm curious what you mean by natural health and why does that make you skeptical? I wonder if we're thinking different things, because I try to read a lot of natural health articles, dealing with nutrients, using whole foods verses supplements and how to combine my foods so that more nutrients are bio-available in each meal.

    I don't know much about Dr. Mercola, though the name sounds familiar.
    Finally, I've read a bit about what you mention of the Omega 3 and 5 ratio, though not enough to speak intelligently on it-- but I'll do a bit more digging, thanks. I do try to eat plenty, and then some, of the omega fat rich foods, but I'll be honest, I've not gotten into measuring the ratios of the types in what I consume. Wow, okay, this comment is getting really long winded and it's almost 4 am, so I'll wrap it up but I'd love a chance to discuss what you say in more depth at some point. :)

    3877 days ago
    Outstanding article in Huffington Post! Thanks for sharing.
    3879 days ago
    And I thought HuffPo was mostly great for stirring up us progressively-minded folks...! :-)

    Great article...will pass along! Thx!

    3879 days ago
    Not that it's super-related to your questions, which are very good ones, but it's somewhat related so I'll post it. We had a thread on fat cell counts a while back in HIT: http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/
    >Basically we came to the conclusion that the current state of knowledge says fat cells are constant after puberty (barring pregnancy) barring extreme conditions. I think there's some evidence you can gain fat cells once those you have are full (extreme), but there is also (slimmer) evidence that you may be able to lose fat cells after long periods of leanness (also extreme). The German research, at least, indicated that half one's fat cells die and are rebuilt every 8.3 years - similar to how skin is constantly rebuilt. No surprise I suppose since fat and skin are so linked. Note that I am NOT addressing loose-skin issues here ... that's another show.

    I will add that I don't really trust Huffington Post's medical writers. Barrie has written a book called “7 Day Detox Miracle” and I distrust anyone who talks about detoxification of anything for any reason. They also have writings from Dr. Mercola, who has a popular "natural health website". I distrust anyone touting "natural health" anything. Mark Hyman, MD doesn't look like someone to whom I'd go for advice either.

    On another note, your talk of imbalances in the body due to still having extra fat cells got me thinking. Having excess fat is said to set up a situation of chronic inflammation in the body. Also, eating too high an omega3:omega 6 fatty acid ratio is supposed to do the same thing. So I was wondering if some of your unidentifiable health problems could be related to this? I don't know enough of your diet to know if you eat much flax (good) or salmon (better) or avoid safflower/sunflower/soybean oils. So one thing you could perhaps try for a while is fish oil supplements. Also taking it with a meal or two might assist fat-soluble vitamin absorption if you eat very very low fat (though I'm not sure how that might tie in with the iron thing).

    Have you considered going over your nutrition log with a nutritionist, or have you reviewed it all with your doctors enough to be pretty sure it's solid? Just trying to offer a way forward with your issues here, or maybe spark you to something you can use. Stay strong and you'll get this taken care of I'm sure.
    3880 days ago
    There is some belief that fat cells are part of the inflammatory response. They do produce some important hormones that regulate appetite. So, you would want hormones like leptin to be produced. Keep up the good questions!!
    3880 days ago
    Some head-spinning thoughts.
    3880 days ago
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