Depression Linked to Belly Fat
If you suffer from depression, you’re more likely to have abdominal fat, says new research from Rush University in Chicago.
Women who were depressed were more likely to accumulate visceral fat, the kind that builds up around abdominal organs and increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes. The link was strongest in women who were overweight. However, there was no link with subcutaneous fat — the kind found right under your skin. (Visceral fat tends to cause a “potbelly” and an apple-shaped body. You can’t pinch it the way you can subcutaneous fat. This study used MRI to measure visceral fat.)
Researchers explain that depression and chronic stress cause chemical changes in the body that promote the accumulation of visceral fat. Those changes include the elevation of the stress hormone, cortisol, and an increase in inflammatory biochemicals such as c-reactive protein, fibrinogen, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor. The problem can become a vicious cycle, because visceral fat itself secretes pro-inflammatory biochemicals. Plus, people who are depressed are also less likely to be taking good care of themselves, eating well or exercising. (Everson-Rose SA et al. Psychosom Med. 2009 May;71(4):410-6.)
Getting treatment for depression can help pull you out of this self-reinforcing cycle. If you’re going the traditional route, a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy seems to work best. And, whatever else you do, try these self-care actions. Tops on our list:
- Daily exercise, even just a 20 minute walk can make a huge different in your mood and your metabolism. Find a buddy to get you out the door. Taking that first step is the hardest for everyone and depression makes it harder still.
- Fish oil can improve your mood and improve the effectiveness of antidepressants. Plus, fish oil fights inflammation and belly fat!
- SynergySlim, our patented formula of four proven weight loss aids, can help you gain control over your appetite and the amount of food you eat. It also contains a carbohydrate blocker, which means you absorb about 40% fewer calories than you eat from starch and sugar.
- Magnesium (500 mg/d and vitamin C (250 – 500 mg/d) can both reduce levels of stress hormones.
The Anti-Aging Bottom Line: So many of us have to contend with daily chronic stress. Let’s not let it make us depressed, fat and sick!