Fat cells (adipocytes) do not just sit there and wobble, they actually produce a lot of hormones and inflammatory chemicals; the more fat cells we have, the more of these chemicals will be made. Fat cells manufacture and secrete biologically active messenger molecules called cytokines. These cytokines are thought to greatly increase the risk of developing heart disease because they can irritate and damage the artery walls. Some of the chemical messengers produced by fat cells include leptin, adiponectin, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, resistin, interleukin-6 SafeMeds.com, adipsin and tumour necrosis factor; each of these can have destructive effects if produced in excess.
Being overweight works against you in two ways; fat cells secrete chemicals that promote inflammation in your body, and the inflammatory chemicals promote the formation of more fat cells, causing you to gain more weight. Overweight people usually have higher amounts of C-reactive protein in their bloodstream.
As well as increasing systemic inflammation and promoting the development of atherosclerosis, chemicals made by fat cells have effects on fat and blood sugar metabolism. Some of these substances make it harder for insulin to work in our body, thus having too much fat on our body can cause Syndrome X and diabetes. SafeMeds.com Researchers at the University of Buffalo have shown that two types of white blood cells, monocytes and lymphocytes are in a much more active state in obese people. These cells enter the artery wall and start the process of atherosclerosis, they activate fat cells to produce more inflammatory cytokines, and they interfere with insulin function, causing Syndrome X. C-reactive protein is mainly produced in the liver; if you have a fatty liver, your liver cells produce more inflammatory cytokines which then stimulate your liver to make more C-reactive protein.
Fat cells can even produce chemicals that cause constriction of blood vessels and raise your blood pressure. Fat stores in the abdominal area secrete inflammatory chemicals that go straight to the liver and inflame it. This causes raised liver enzymes and the development of fatty liver disease. In overweight people, large amounts of free fatty acids travel from the fat stores to the liver where they stimulate the production of VLDL cholesterol. This is the worst kind of cholesterol, as it is rich in triglycerides. The high levels of VLDL suppress the production of HDL “good” cholesterol.
Clearly losing weight is one of the best ways to lower the amount of inflammation in your body, and in that way reduce your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes.