women tend to store more fat in places like hiploss the buttocks and part behind the armsso-called subcutaneous fat, protects against swelling of the brainWhich can lead to problems like dementia and stroke at least till menopause.
Scientists tell that for men Virtually any age has a greater tendency to accumulate fat around the major organs of their abdominal cavity, called visceral fat, which is known to be highly inflammatory. And, before women reach menopause, men are thought to be at much higher risk of inflammatory problems, from heart attack to stroke.
“When people think about women’s safety, their first thought is estrogen,” she says. Alexis M. Stranahan, PhD, a neuroscientist in the Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. “But we need to move beyond this kind of simplistic idea that every sex difference implies hormone differences and hormone exposure. We really need to think more deeply about the underlying mechanisms of sex differences so that we can treat them.” and recognize the role of sex in various clinical outcomes.”
This researcher acknowledges that the findings are revolutionary and certainly surprising, even to him: “We did these experiments to try to determine what happens first, the hormonal disturbance, the inflammation or the brain. change in.”
To learn more about how the brain swells, they looked at increases in the amount and location of fatty tissue, as well as levels of sex hormones and brain swelling at different time intervals in male and female mice as they ate. Had a high fat diet.
Because, like people, obese women have more subcutaneous fat and less visceral fat than men, they reasoned. specific fat pattern They may be an important reason for the protection against bloating enjoyed by women before menopause.
They rediscovered distinct patterns of fat distribution in men and women in response to a high-fat diet, They found no signs of brain inflammation or insulin resistance, which also increase inflammation and can lead to diabetes. until women reach menopause, At about 48 weeks, menstruation stops and the position of the fat in females begins to change slightly, beginning to resemble males.
Decreased subcutaneous fat in women increases brain inflammation without changes in estrogen and other sex hormone levels.
He then compared the effect of high-fat diet, known to increase whole-body inflammation, in mice of both sexes following surgery to remove subcutaneous fat, similar to liposuction. They didn’t do anything to directly interfere with normal estrogen levels, such as removing the ovaries.
Decreased subcutaneous fat in women increases brain swelling without changes in estrogen and other sex hormone levels.
in short: “Inflammation in the brains of women was more like that of men, including elevated levels of classic drivers of inflammation such as the signaling proteins IL-1β and TNF alpha in the brain,” report Stranahan and colleagues.
“When we took subcutaneous fat out of the equation, suddenly women’s brains showed inflammation in the same way as men’s brains, and women tended to have more visceral fat,” Stranahan says: “any Kind of folded everything over to that other storage location.” The transition occurred over about three months, which translates into several years in human time.
By comparison, it was only after menopause that women who didn’t remove their subcutaneous fat but ate a high-fat diet showed similar levels of brain inflammation to men, Stranahan says.
When subcutaneous fat was removed from mice on a low-fat diet at an early age, they developed slightly more visceral fat and slightly more inflammation in the fat. But Stranahan and his colleagues saw no evidence of inflammation in the brain.
We can’t just talk about obesity. We have to start by knowing where the fat is. here’s the key element
you are the lessons that came out of the study
- “Don’t get liposuction and then eat a high-fat diet,” says Stranahan.
- The body mass index (BMI), which simply divides weight by height and is commonly used to indicate overweight, obesity, and the risk of a variety of diseases as a result, may not be a very meaningful tool. Is. , they say. He says an equally easier and more accurate indicator of both metabolic risk and potential brain health is waist-to-hip ratio, which is also easier to calculate.
“We can’t just say obesity. We have to start by talking about where the fat is. The key element here is,” Stranahan says.
She points out that the new study specifically looked at hippocampus and hypothalamus Of Your Head:
- The hypothalamus regulates metabolism and exhibits changes with the inflammation of obesity which consequently helps to control the conditions that develop throughout the body.
- The hippocampus, a center for learning and memory, is modulated by the signals associated with these distortions, but does not control them, Stranahan notes.
While these are good places to start with such scans, other areas of the brain may respond very differently, so you may already be seeing the effect of subcutaneous fat loss on others. Furthermore, since her evidence indicates that estrogen may not explain women’s protection, Stranahan wants to better define what does. One of his suspects is the apparent chromosomal difference between the XX female and the XY male.
In men, microglia, the brain’s immune cells, are activated by a high-fat diet.
Stranahan has been studying the effects of obesity on the brain for many years and was one of the first scientists to show that visceral fat promotes brain inflammation in obese male rats and, conversely, that subcutaneous fat transplants protect the brain. Reduces inflammation. Women also naturally have higher levels of a protein that may reduce inflammation. It has been shown that in men, but not in women, microglia, the brain’s immune cells, are activated by a high-fat diet.
She points out that some believe that the reason women have higher subcutaneous fat stores is to enable sufficient energy stores for reproduction, and scientists do not question the relationship. But many questions remain, such as how much fat is needed to maintain fertility, which will affect your metabolism, Stranahan says.