Visceral Fat Explained
Visceral fat is the fat layer that is found deep in the abdominal cavity.
It surrounds vital organs such as the pancreas, the kidneys, the liver and the intestines. Visceral fat acts as a cushion surrounding abdominal organs and therefore an amount of visceral fat should exist within the normal range.
Excess visceral fat is dangerous since these fats are associated with diseases such as dementia, depression, type-2 diabetes, heart diseases and cancer. Visceral fat is also known as “active fat” since it affects the hormonal function of the body.
Visceral fat is more dangerous than subcutaneous fat (the fat stored below the skin). Accumulation of visceral fat leads to a condition known as “visceral obesity”.
Adiponectin is a protein substance that is released by fat cells. It promotes insulin sensitivity. Adiponectin was found to be less secreted in the case of individuals who have visceral obesity. Excess visceral fat also leads to the production of cytokines which in turn lead to inflammation. Excess visceral fat may or may not be associated with abdominal obesity.
Visceral obesity is attributed to different factors such as your genetic makeup as well as lifestyle. Those who have a sedentary lifestyle and tend to consume more calories than what they burn are more likely to accumulate excess visceral fat. Also, stress was found to increase visceral fat since it leads to the rise of the cortisol hormone that increases fat storage.
Hormones are also involved with visceral fat accumulation. In men, low levels of testosterone are associated with increased visceral fat. And in women, low levels of estrogen are associated with increased visceral fat. Post-menopausal women are more likely to accumulate visceral fat than younger women. In women, excess visceral fat was found to be associated with breast cancer.
Visceral fat can be measured using MRI or a CT-scan. However, these are expensive tools. A cheaper alternative to MRI is waistline measurement. Around 10% of the total fat is visceral fat and so an overall high fat is associated with excess visceral fat. A body composition analyzer can determine the visceral fat content of the body. Usually the analyzer takes into consideration your age, gender, height and weight.
The analyzer gives a visceral fat rating that ranges from 1 to 59. If the rating is 12 or less, then visceral fat is within the normal range and can be monitored to make sure it doesn’t increase. However a higher rating indicates that there is excess visceral fat that requires action.
Visceral fat can be reduced through a balanced lifestyle and exercise. Make sure you exercise regularly. Eat a healthy diet and ensure you get good night sleep. Remember to avoid trans fats completely. You can use some of the available apps to help you make sure your plate contains sufficient calories. Stay away from stress and avoid alcohol consumption and smoking. Visceral fat reduction may not result in reducing your clothes size, but its health effects are immense.
Liposuction cannot help with visceral obesity.
It can only reduce the subcutaneous fat. However, a regular workout can immensely help with visceral fat. You can also combine strength training with your usual workout to improve fat reduction and weight loss. Also doing high-intensity cardio exercises can be of great help. Working out makes your body burn the excess fat that has been stored.
Losing visceral takes time just as it took time to get stored in your body. You should have enough patience and persistence to keep going and continue losing visceral fat on a regular basis until you reach a normal level. Make sure you regularly work out and control your lifestyle. You can also choose some healthy supplements that help reduce fat storage in the body such as Omega-3.