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Fiber Lowers Inflammation Due to Body Fat in Teens
Abstracted by Tatjana Djakovic, MS, from “Adolescent Fiber Consumption Is Associated with Visceral Fat and Inflammatory Markers” in the May 16, 2012 of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
 
Obesity is linked to heart disease, a leading cause of death, and recent research has suggested that obesity is also the cause of inflammation in the body, which is at the root of the problem. (1) Cells within fat tissue release cytokines, which are signaling molecules that can trigger inflammation and are thought to be increased in obesity, particularly abdominal obesity. (2) Dietary fiber intake may protect against obesity-related inflammation, however the mechanism for this effect is unknown. (3)
           
The purpose of the present study was to determine if fiber consumption affects inflammatory-related biomarkers which are proteins in the body that are known to play a role in the inflammatory response. These proteins include leptin, resistin, C-reactive protein, and fibrinogen, which increase inflammation and adiponectin which decreases inflammation. (1) Other studies have not been as consistent in showing the relationship between dietary fiber and inflammatory response. 
             
The participants for the current study were 559 teens aged 14-18, who were chosen based on national data showing that U.S. adolescents consume less than one half of the recommended adequate intake of dietary fiber . In order to measure inflammation, blood tests were performed to analyze the levels of inflammatory proteins and the diet was assessed with four to seven 24-hour recalls. Physical activity was determined by accelerometry, which counts the amount of movement daily and converts it into time spent exercising. (4)
           
The study revealed that in both genders, dietary fiber decreased levels of abdominal fat tissue, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and increased levels of adiponective, which decreases body fat percentage.   An association between lowered fat mass and blood level of leptin was found in males, but not in females. These findings were upheld despite outside factors that might influence the results, such as age, sex, race, body composition, energy intake and physical activity. (4)
           
The present study suggests that greater fiber consumption is more important to individuals with greater amounts of abdominal fat rather than overall obesity, because dietary fiber intake was found to lower inflammation markers associated with abdominal fat in both genders. It is thought that consuming foods high in fiber reduces the amount of belly fat, thereby reducing overall body inflammation. (4) The data from the study suggests that greater consumption of dietary fiber lowers abdominal fat and several biomarkers involved in inflammation.
 
Tatjana Djakovic, MS, graduated from Roosevelt College in 2011, with concentration in biochemistry.  Her research was in determining antioxidants and macronutrients in herbal teas.  She is originally from Gospic, Croatia and currently resides in Carol Stream, IL.
 
References:
1.       Inflammation and Heart Disease http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Inflammation-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_432150_Article.jsp
2.       Trujillo ME, Scherer PE. Adipose tissue-derived factors: impact on health and disease. 2006 Endocr Rev 27:762–778.
3.       Davis JN, Hodges VA, Gillham MB Normal-weight adults consume more fiber and fruit than their age- and height-matched overweight/obese counterparts. 2006 J Am Diet Assoc 106:833–840
4.       Parikh S., Pollock N., Bhagatwala J., Guo D, Gutin B, Zhu H, Dong Y. “Adolescent Fiber Consumption Is Associated with Visceral Fat and Inflammatory Markers.” J Clin Endocrin Metab. 97(8):1-7.