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Belly Fat and Brain Function: The Surprising Link

Do you have trouble focusing at work? Do you feel like your brain just isn’t as sharp as it used to be? You may be surprised to learn that there is a link between belly fat and impaired brain function.

What’s the association between belly fat and brain function?

Recent studies have shown a strong link between visceral fat and impaired brain function. But don’t worry – there are things you can do to reduce your belly fat and improve your brain health. Keep reading for tips on how to get started.

Body fat is often seen as a cosmetic issue, but it can also have serious implications for our health. Inflammation caused by excess body fat is a leading contributing factor to many degenerative diseases. Current research and a 2019 study found a connection between belly fat and cognitive decline, suggesting that reducing belly fat may help to improve brain function and clarity.

The study found that people with large bellies had worse cognitive decline than those without. The researchers looked at 10,000 men and women who were scanned for brain MRI before participating in this research experiment to measure their body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio as well as markers of inflammation called CRP or sushi scale which is used widely around Asia.

The result: participants whose measurements fell within high ranges suffered slower mental abilities such an attention span while those maintaining low values appeared not to have any effect on cognition whatsoever.

Also, study findings also showed that as the waistline increases, so does cognitive decline. The researchers discovered an interesting biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease: where people had significant amounts of central obesity or fatty tissue around their midsection region-in other words not just on arms/legs but also inside the stomach area -there were greater losses in gray matter volume compared to what would be expected based off someone’s height & weight alone; meaning location matters too!

The findings suggest that targeting obesity could be a potential strategy for mitigating cognitive decline in older adults.

Though more research is needed, the results of this study provide valuable insights into the relationship between body fat and brain health. Reducing obesity may help to improve cognitive function and prevent or delay the onset of degenerative diseases.

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It’s all in the hips: Waist to Hip Ratio Vs. BMI

While Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common measurement for determining whether someone is a healthy weight, it doesn’t take into account where that person’s fat is distributed on their body. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a better measurement of healthy body fat distribution. Importantly, both BMI and waist-to-hip ratio are useful tools used to manage fat loss.

WHR is calculated by dividing the circumference of your waist by the circumference of your hips. A healthy ratio is below 0.8 for women and below 0.9 for men.

Why is Waist to Hip Ratio a better measurement than BMI?

BMI doesn’t take into account where on your body you carry your weight. Someone with a high BMI could be carrying their weight in their muscles, which is much healthier than carrying it in their abdomen.

Carrying weight in your abdomen, particularly around your internal organs, is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and stroke.

So, if you’re trying to determine whether you need to lose weight, or how to best target your weight loss efforts, WHR is a better measurement to use than BMI.

The connection between body fat and inflammation.

Researchers explain the connection between visceral fat, inflammation, and the impact on the brain.

“Visceral fat is thought to be a major site for inflammatory cytokine production and has been linked to other vascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes mellitus) that may be important mechanisms in brain atrophy. Associations between obesity and gray matter volume were only partly explained by diabetes mellitus in the present study. In contrast, subcutaneous fat in the hips and legs has been linked to healthier metabolic profiles, which may provide partial support for the concept of metabolically healthy obesity. Indeed, our data suggested that obese participants (BMI ≥30 kg/m2 ) without central obesity had a gray matter volume similar to that of overweight participants.” 

Mark Hamer, G. David Batty
AdobeStock 135602522

Body fat is a marvelous organ. It helps regulate our metabolism. In the context of chronic conditions, though, body fat is a powerful source of inflammatory chemicals. Fat cells produce chemical signals that cause inflammation.

Inflammation is the cornerstone of all our chronic degenerative conditions: diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, coronary artery disease, and so many more. And, chronic inflammation is a major contributor to many degenerative diseases. It has been linked to insulin resistance, heart disease, and cancer. Inflammation causes damage to our cells and tissues and contributes to the aging process.

Reducing inflammation is essential for good health. There are many things you can do to reduce inflammation, including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress. Reducing abdominal obesity may also help to reduce inflammation and improve overall health.

The bottom line is that excess body fat is a major health concern. Not only can it lead to a multitude of chronic diseases, but it can also impact brain health. If you are carrying extra weight, especially around your midsection, it is important to take steps to reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

Cognitive Function and Obesity in Old Age

Cognitive function refers to the ability of the brain to process information and perform tasks. This includes functions such as memory, concentration, and decision-making.

Cognitive function can decline with age, and this is a normal part of the aging process. However, cognitive decline can also be caused by conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.

Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including those that impact cognitive function. This is because obesity increases inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation has been linked to cognitive decline.

In one study, overweight adults were found to have lower scores on tests of cognitive function than adults of normal weight. The difference in scores was most pronounced in tests of executive function, which includes tasks such as planning, organizing, and multitasking.

Another study found that obese adults were more likely to experience declines in cognitive function over time than adults of normal weight. This study also found that the longer someone was obese, the greater their risk of cognitive decline.

These studies suggest that obesity may have a negative impact on brain health and cognitive function. This is yet another reason to take steps to maintain a healthy weight.

How to Reduce Belly Fat

Some DIY tips for reducing obesity include:

Older Man Exercising To Belly Fat

-Eating a healthy diet that is low in processed foods, sugar, and saturated fat

-Exercising regularly

-Managing stress

-Getting enough sleep

-Limiting alcohol intake

Making even small changes in these areas can have a big impact on your health. So if you are concerned about belly fat and brain function, make a plan to start reducing abdominal obesity today.

Non-surgical options for reducing body fat.

Cold Laser Treatment for Reducing Belly Fat

Recently, there have been a number of new non-surgical options for reducing belly fat. These include:

Lasers: This includes procedures such as laser lipolysis, which involves using a laser to break down body fat.

Coolsculpting: This is a procedure that involves freezing fat cells to kill them.

Injections: This includes procedures such as mesotherapy, which involves injecting fat-dissolving substances into the fat.

These procedures are typically less invasive than surgery and carry a lower risk of complications. They can be an effective option for people who are not candidates for surgery or who do not want to undergo a major procedure.

These procedures are typically done by a qualified physician. If you are considering any of these options, be sure to consult with a doctor to see if they are right for you.

Surgical options for reducing abdominal obesity.

There are a number of surgical interventions that can be used to reduce obesity. The most common is gastric bypass surgery, which involves making changes to the digestive system to limit the amount of food that can be consumed. Other types of surgery include gastric banding, which involves placing a band around the stomach to limit its size, and gastric sleeve surgery, which involves removing a portion of the stomach.

Surgical interventions for obesity are typically only recommended for people who are severely obese and have not been able to lose weight through other means. Surgery is a major procedure and carries with it a number of risk factors, so it should not be undertaken lightly.

There are a number of risks associated with surgical interventions for obesity, including:



-blood clots

-heart attack


-leaks in the digestive system

-nausea and vomiting





Before undergoing any type of surgery, it is important to speak with your doctor about the risk factors and benefits. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted.

If you are considering surgery for obesity, make sure to consult with a qualified surgeon who has experience performing the procedure you are interested in.

Reducing Belly Fat at APEX Brain Centers

At APEX Brain Centers, we administer cold laser treatment as a modality to improve brain function by reducing belly fat. This procedure is called laser lipolysis and it involves using a laser to break down body fat. This is a minimally invasive procedure that carries a lower risk of complications than surgery.

We use Zerona Z6 a non-invasive cold laser for fat loss because it is the only treatment FDA Market Cleared for overall body circumference reduction and has the greatest results for combined circumference reduction in the industry.

If you are interested in laser treatment for reducing belly fat, please contact us to schedule a consultation. We will be happy to discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions.

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/

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