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Celebrate your fat – it's fighting off infection!

Celebrate your fat – it's fighting off infection!

From the New Scientist:

"Beyond physical barriers such as skin, our main protection against marauding bacteria and viruses is the immune system. This is a complex network of cells with sophisticated weapons such as antibodies, which recognise and destroy foreign cells and proteins. But although many microbes multiply rapidly, it can take days for antibody production to ramp up. It now seems fat cells also play a defensive role – and they respond more speedily than many parts of the immune system."

But don't celebrate too much....

"But more fat does not equal more protection. In fact, people who are obese have a higher rate of soft-tissue infections. Kolls thinks this might be because obese people are more likely to have type 2 diabetes, in which fat cells are resistant to insulin. This may also reduce cathelicidin production. "A little bit of fat is good – too much is not good," he says."


Photo: Pelican in flight

1 Reply

Hi Neil,

Your point about not celebrating too much fat was echoed in the sentiment of an immunologist's lecture I heard discussing longevity. He actually made an analogy of obese fat to being that of a tumor, due to toxic properties of senescent cells.


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