Obese Fat Becomes Inflamed And Scarred, Which May Make Weight Loss Harder


Source: University of Exeter

Summary: Researchers have found that the fat of obese people becomes distressed, scarred and inflamed, which can make weight loss more difficult.


Fat cells in obese people increase their size which can make them suffocate and struggle for oxygen supply. The bigger cells become distressed and trigger inflammation in the fat tissue. The inflammation spreads over from fat tissue into the bloodstream and is measurable by a blood test. Stressed and unhealthy fat tissue is also less able to accommodate more unused dietary energy. The excess energy can be increasingly diverted from fat tissue to vital organs such as liver muscle and heart which can lead to obesity-related health complications – fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the University of Exeter have found that the fat of obese people becomes distressed, scarred and inflamed, which can make weight loss more difficult. The study findings were published in the journal Metabolism.

Scarring of fat tissue may make weight loss more difficult.

Fat in obese people can suffocate and struggle for oxygen supply. Credit: University of Exeter

Previous studies showed that people who have had weight loss surgery showed that increased levels of scarring can make it harder to lose weight. Scarring of fat tissue can change a person’s body shape. They can develop an ‘apple’ body shape with a large tummy and more fat within the deeper layers of the tummy and around the organs. The researchers found a molecule called Lysyl oxidase (LOX) is more prevalent in fat tissue of obese people and that it was increased by inflammation and oxygen deprivation. Scarring of fat tissue may make weight loss more difficult. But this does not mean that scarring makes weight loss impossible. Adding some regular activity to a reduced energy intake for a longer period makes weight loss possible and helps the fat tissue not to become further overworked.

Dr. Katarina Kos said, “Further research is needed to determine how to avoid our fat tissue becoming unhealthy and how to protect it from inflammation and scarring. There is evidence that once fat tissue becomes scarred, despite weight loss, it may not recover fully. As a clinician, I would advise exercise or at least a ‘walk’ after a meal which can make a great difference to our metabolic health.”


More Information: Emilie Pastel et al, “Lysyl oxidase and adipose tissue dysfunction”, Metabolism (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.10.002 


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *