Today we are going to talk about visceral fat (fat around your organs), how its connected to your gut health, and how to support the release of visceral fat.
But first, you are invited to join me and Precision Physical Therapy for a free webinar on calming inflammation naturally. Details here.
So, visceral fat is the fat hidden inside your belly and wraps around your internal organs such as your liver, kidneys, and intestines. Because of its location, visceral fat is more likely to make your belly stick out and give you the “apple” shape.
Adipose tissue (aka fat) is necessary and helpful in some ways (protects your organs, stores a source of energy), but in excess is harmful to your health. Excess visceral fat produces inflammatory chemicals including cytokines, and can therefore perpetuate inflammation and cardiovascular disease in your body. We also store toxins in fat tissue which can contribute to ongoing chemical stress in your body.
How do you get visceral fat?
- Eating in excess of what your body uses on a day to day basis.
- Inadequate physical activity
- Genetics also play a role in where fat is deposited (on the belly versus the hips and thighs).
- Aging is a factor, too, in both men and women. Visceral fat seems to increase from age 25-65, however, lifestyle can positively impact visceral fat (discussed below). Specifically, those who maintain more muscle mass have healthier body composition.
- Lifestyle has a say as well. Regular alcohol consumption or high level of alcohol consumption is associated with higher visceral fat accumulation. This was also true for people who consume soda regularly.
What are the health risks of visceral fat?
Having visceral fat leads to metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions that happen together including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and an increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Additionally, visceral fat may also predispose you to the following conditions:
- Liver disease
- Gall bladder disease
- Fertility problems
- Lower back pain
2 ways to test for visceral fat
First, measure your waist circumference. According to Harvard Medical School, your waist circumference can say a lot about your visceral fat. For women, you are at risk for chronic illnesses if your waist circumference is more than 35 inches, and for men over 40 inches.
The other test that is recommended is the Body Mass Index as it provides an estimate of the proportion of the total body fat and the total body weight, but personally I think the waist circumference is a better test (since it is directly measuring the midsection where visceral fat would be).
Ways to Reduce Visceral Fat
You can reduce visceral fat through the following:
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day (between 30-60 mins is preferred). Try brisk walking, cycling, dancing, etc).
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get adequate sleep. (I had a newsletter about the benefits of adequate sleep, so you may want to check it out and discover the wonders of sleeping well.)
- Quit smoking.
- Minimize drinking alcohol.
- Reduce sugary food and drinks.
- Strength train 2-3 times per week.
- Take probiotics and prebiotics
The role of prebiotic and probiotic supplements in reducing visceral fat
Your gut is at the root of your health.
Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, fight infections, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive.
Although lifestyle changes including diet and exercise are the traditional and perhaps the best way to get rid of excess belly fat, taking care of your gut can restore metabolic balance. In this study published in the BMC journal of Genes and Nutrition, the researchers found out that supplementation of prebiotics and probiotics led to a reduction of visceral fat tissue by 37% at 60 days and by 35% at 90 days as compared to the placebo group.
The researchers’ key findings support that the 90-day prebiotic/probiotic supplementation may be associated with lesser adipose tissue and systemic inflammation as well as a reduced risk for chronic disease. Why? Your gut health matters! Improving the number of beneficial bacteria in your gut has positive impacts to overall health.
However, probiotic and prebiotic supplementation should always be coupled with a healthy lifestyle to be effective. Taking great supplements will only get you so far and having an aligned strategy is more effective.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
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Send them the link to apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).