When Good Fat Cells Go Bad: I’m often asked about hypnotherapy and if it works. I continue to hear people fear being out of control or fear being controlled by someone. What is great is that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. I or no other hypnotherapist can make you do anything you don’t want to do.
Since much of my hypnotherapy practice is weight-loss, I get questioned about fat and about the dangers of fat.
Fat cells protect us against starvation and help meet the body’s energy demands. But they also secrete hormones and inflammatory chemicals. As we grow fatter, the cells grow bigger and increase output, contributing to chronic disease.
Inside the cell: Most of the fat cell is occupied by the triglyceride fat droplets it stores. These droplets push the cell nucleus and other cellular components to the periphery.
- MACROPHAGES: When a person has excess fat, the body mounts a type of immune response, as if fat itself were an invading organism. Immune-system cells called macrophages penetrate the fat tissue, and both sets of cells spew out damaging inflammatory compounds. Scientists have found that in an obese person’s fat tissue, macrophages constitute up to 40% of the cells.
- CHEMICAL FACTORIES: In addition to inflammatory compounds, fat cells secrete chemical messengers called hormones. Most of the chemicals made in fat tissue are made by other cells, too, but are unique to fat-adiponectin and leptin.
In the Blood: Hormonesand inflammatory compounds travel from fat cells through the bloodstream to distant parts of the body, causing a variety of effects in tissues as diverse as the brain, the liver, cardiovascular system and muscles.
- IL-6, TNF-ALPHA: These compounds, manufactured by both fat cells and macrophages, contribute to the chronic, low-grade inflammation that underlies heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
- ADIPONECTIN, RESISTIN: As the name implies, resistin contributes to insulin resistance. Adiponectin has the opposite effect and is anti-inflammatory, too. But the fatter a person is, the less adiponectin and more resistin he makes.
- FATTY ACIDS: Fat cells continuously break down stored triglycerides and release them as free fatty acids. But when large fat cells release too many, the acids can get stored directly in liver, heart and muscle cells, causing damage.
- LEPTIN: The more fat in a cell, the more leptin it produces, signaling the brain that it can reduce food intake. But in the obese, the brain becomes less responsive to higher levels.
- ANGIOTENSINOGEN, PAI-1: Angiotensinogen converts to a substance called angiotensin 2 that constricts blood vessels, contributing to hypertension. PAI-1 blocks the body’s own clot busters, a detriment in the case of strokes.
- CORTISOL: This stress hormone is produced in the adrenal glands, but fat cells can convert the inactive version of the hormone to the active form. Among other things, cortisol encourages the deposition of fat in the abdomen.
Body Shape Matters: Scientists have long known that people who deposit fat in the belly are more predisposed to heart disease and type 2 diabetes than those who store fat in the hips and thighs. Here’s why.
Apple Shape: Visceral fat is highly active, releasing more of the inflammatory compounds.
Pear Shape: Fat stored in the lower body is less active. Women tend to reserve fat in thighs to fuel lactation.
If you have too much fat on your body and want to lose weight, consider using hypnosis and check out my book, Becoming Slender For Life.
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