Link Between Increased Belly Size in Your 40s and 50s and Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Inflammation from abdominal fat is now being linked to the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, even before symptoms begin. New research shows that an increase in belly size can lead to a decrease in the brain’s memory centers. Dr. Richard Isaacson, a preventive neurologist at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases of Florida, explains that the study discovered a brain imaging marker of neuroinflammation related to belly fat.

The research, led by Dr. Cyrus Raji from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, revealed that individuals in their 40s and 50s with more hidden belly fat had higher levels of an abnormal protein called amyloid in a part of the brain where Alzheimer’s is known to occur. The study also found a connection between deep belly fat and brain atrophy, particularly in the brain’s memory center.

As the study continues to grow, researchers are determined to identify potential interventions for individuals in their 40s and 50s at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. They are exploring the subtlest manifestations of abnormalities related to Alzheimer’s pathology to detect them early.

While most of us think of subcutaneous fat, hidden visceral fat is more metabolically active and causes insulin resistance and inflammation in the body and brain. This, in turn, escalates amyloid deposition, a key marker of Alzheimer’s disease. And here’s the catch – visceral fat can be missed by body mass index (BMI) or weight on the scale, even by thin people.

So, how do you combat visceral fat? Diet and exercise are crucial. Combine a healthy diet with regular exercise, including muscle strength training and fat-burning cardio. Another approach is to eliminate or reduce ultraprocessed foods, limit portion sizes, replace sugary drinks with water, and cut back on processed meats and high-fat dairy products. Additionally, watch your alcohol intake and prioritize quality sleep, as lack of sleep has been linked to increased levels of amyloid in the brain.

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