Research links obesity to less gray matter

A research study, published by the American Academy of Neurology, links obesity to less gray matter. It compares body mass index (BMI), waste-to-hip ratio (WHR), and total fat mass, with the MRI brain scans of individuals. The findings of the study report that subjects with the greatest BMI and waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest gray matter volume.

Obesity is characterized by the development of excess body fat. It signifies that more serious health issues are en route. Moreover, several studies prove that obesity is a precursor to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. This respective research reveals another drastic outcome of obesity i.e. less gray matter volume. It may cause the brain to shrink and consequently, a person becomes at greater risk for serious conditions such as dementia.

Around 9,652 people were examined for their MRI scans during the study. Out of this cohort, nineteen percent were either overweight or obese. In addition, the researchers adjusted for other factors that affect brain mass like,

  • Physical activity levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Age

The findings of the study led the researchers to conclude that the combination of elevated BMI and waist-to-hip-ratio may be an important risk factor for gray matter atrophy. The shrinkage of orbitofrontal cortex renders a person more impulsive. This can lead to a downward spiral of uncontrolled eating habits. With the accumulation of fats, cells release hormones that trigger inflammation which further hampers the brain cells leading to impaired memory.

Stay in shape and protect your brain

Most of the nerve cells are concentrated in the gray matter of the brain. These nerve cells are often responsible for physical movement, coordination, and self-control. Obesity or weight gain has potential effects on these nerve cells. For instance, if a person gains weight and important nerve cells involved with physical movement and self-control are killed off first, it will make it harder for the person’s brain to desire physical movement. Thus, it is necessary for an individual to maintain a healthy weight because it prevents the likelihood of major health concerns like brain shrinkage.

How can we protect the brain?

We can protect our brain by avoiding neuro-toxic elements like aluminum salts. They are commonly used as an adjuvant in vaccines and are delivered throughout the body when taken up into the cytoplasm of immune responsive cells. Aluminum cookware, cans, and deodorants are also sources of aluminum exposure. Aluminum, when accumulates in the brain, destroys nerve cells. Thus aluminum toxicology must be strictly checked.

The brain can also be protected by a healthy diet. For example, fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, or trout protect the brain. They provide the brain with omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3s work to enhance cellular structures and improve brain signaling. Chia seeds, flaxseed, hempseed, and walnuts can also serve the purpose.

Mushrooms can also add to your brain health and support nerve growth. Chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and lion’s mane mushrooms are known to benefit the brain. Furthermore, plants with a high flavonol content, like cacao, support the hippocampus region of the brain. They improve memory and mood.

Summing up the story, weight gain is associated with greater health concerns. Thus, one must maintain a healthy weight for a sound functioning of the body and the brain.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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