(NaturalHealth365) The health benefits of maintaining a healthy weight are obvious to most people. However, a study out of Stanford is underscoring the dangers of weight gain to health in some key areas, including blood sugar balance and gut health.
The researchers have found that the entire body is impacted by even a moderate weight gain. The changes register at the molecular, microbial and genetic levels. However, the good news is that when the pounds are shed, these bodily systems are returned to their previous state.
Weight gain changes the internal environment and causes inflammation
The Stanford team noted that gaining just six pounds can alter basic biology. The risks manifest most notably as a rise in incidents of diabetes and heart disease.
The main factor in this deterioration of health is the increased inflammation that occurs in the body. There is also a rise in negative and harmful bacteria strains. Additionally, genetic changes occur at the cellular level within the cardiac system.
For the research, 23 people with normal to slightly high BMIs (body mass indexes) were studied. Around half were at risk for diabetes or insulin-resistant. The rest were either normal or slightly insulin-sensitive.
Information about their gene expression regarding proteins, bacteria and molecules was also compiled.
They were then given a high-calorie diet that caused them to gain an average of six pounds after a month. The participants’ biological profiles were found to shift considerably, raising their risk for heart disease and diabetes.
The changes manifested most notably in the gut microbiome, affecting both the immune system and the body’s ability to metabolize food and nutrition. Obviously, the greater amount of inflammation also contributed to these increased health risks.
Never forget: Even a small amount of weight gain is stressful on the body
The researchers say that in effect the body is having a response to a stressful event. These results are causing them to characterize weight gain as a “systemic disease” that affects the whole body, not just the number on the scale. The research was published in the journal Cell Systems.
While being overweight or obese has been linked with health problems in past research, technical advances have now made it possible to track the specific changes that occur when a person gains or loses weight.
These technologies can measure literally millions of fluctuations in molecules of blood, allowing scientists to see the nuts and bolts of what occurs and how weight gain impacts health.
Research in genomics and proteomics (the study of proteins) is offering tremendous insights into how the human body functions, yielding valuable information about how specific lifestyle and environmental factors can impact health.
For ongoing great health: Probiotics may be more valuable than you think
The research also shows the promise of microbes in helping to control weight. An ideal balance in the gut bacteria is foundational to many areas of health, including digestive functioning, hormonal balance and the immune system. In fact, this reality has given rise to the growing popularity of microbiome medicine.
In a nutshell: do all you can to maintain a healthy weight! Eat well and exercise regularly. This basic information remains a panacea of health and quality of life.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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