The OTHER Organ You May Have That You Don’t Know You Have

 

abdominal fat and inflammation

Photo courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu/profile/geo_c

Ask any high school kid to list the organs of the body and you’ll get the typical responses: Heart, liver, brain, kidneys, stomach. Maybe even an adrenal If he or she stayed awake in biology.  But some organ systems are created, not provided in the womb.

Sure, some consider the bacteria in the gut as its own organ system.  After all, it detoxifies, protects from invaders and releases hordes of chemical signals.  Despite the poor overall knowledge of this organ system, it’s not the one I’m talking about here.

This particular organ system is not present in everyone, although, unfortunately, it is present in far too large of a percentage of today’s population.

It produces a very large number of hormones that drive your risk of diabetes, heart health, inflammation and other conditions, all bad.  Worse, the weight of this organ may constitute up to HALF of your body weight.  That’s a big organ.

It’s the (or YOUR, if that’s the case) adipose tissue.  Most notably the gut.

Yes, the gut.  And you just thought it was there to keep you from checking out your toes on a regular basis.

Here’s the current theory.  The fat cells in your gut begin as extra calorie storage locations.  Adipose tissue in other areas of the body, like around the heart and thighs, although have this duty, but it’s the gut we normal point to as the greatest reservoir of extra calories.

That’s fine and dandy for a while.  Or, if you plan on hibernating and need the calories while you sleep through football season, then this is okay as well.

But gather too much extra tissue in that abdominal region and blood flow becomes an issue.  After all, the fat cells need nutrients in and waste products out as well, and if this process becomes congested, your fat cells are going to get a little upset with you.

This kick off the survival mode of your little abdominal buddy, leading to the production of hormones referred to as adipokines with names like visfatin, adiponectin and resistin.

These hormones are bad enough on their own, but there’s another problem brewing.  The adipose tissue contains a large number of stem cells, referred to as hematopoietic cells.  These cells can differentiate into immune cells that can be a major driver in inflammation.

This particular review gets a little more specific, stating that a single gram of adipose tissue can contain up to 5 million stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells.  About half of these cells (not counting the fat cells themselves) are white blood cells.

If you do the math and the Metric to English measurement conversions, that’s an awful lot of immune cells available to affect the rest of your system.

I’ve become very adept at explaining this concept recently because our office has begun using a laser liposuction device.  Laser, from a musculoskeletal-sprain-strain-pain based standpoint, has been known for decades to lower inflammation and increase blood flow.  Kind of a perfect salve for this inflamed, hypoxic organ too many of us are carrying around our middles.  (You can read more about this laser lipo procedure by on our website by clicking here)

Overall, though, the take home message is that the lump around your middle does not just affect the way you’re going to look in that Speedo, it drives a very dangerous and damaging organ that catapults you towards chronic disease and an early death.

 

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.

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