There is a lot of evidence linking inflammation to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Inflammation may be the single-most important mechanism driving the diabesity epidemic. An internet search for “inflammation diabetes obesity” turns up more than 1,800 articles. The association between these conditions has been known for decades. In fact, more than 100 years ago high doses of salycilates – a class of anti-inflammatory compounds which includes aspirin – were used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Here is the question I get asked a lot – Does obesity itself cause inflammation, or is inflammation caused by something secondary to obesity (like high blood sugar or triglycerides)?
There are several lines of evidence that inflammation directly causes obesity and diabetes.
- People with other chronic inflammatory conditions are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For example, those with rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk.
- Inflammation begins in the fat cells themselves. Fat cells are the first to be affected by the development of obesity and this places additional stress on cellular function.
- Fat tissue is a metabolically active endocrine organ that secretes hormones and inflammatory cytokines
It follows, then, that the key to preventing diabesity is to reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, few doctors treating diabesity today understand this. Focusing exclusively on regulating blood sugar without addressing other potential causes of inflammation is bound to produce inferior results.
PART 2 will address the ways to reduce inflammation