October 10, 2011

Iron deficiency in obese people linked to inflammation

It is difficult to think at obesity as a condition linked to nutritional carencies because we normally think that it is caused by excess of nutrients.

Obesity is not caused by excess of nutrients
It is caused by excess of empty calories and bad fats.

The paradox is that you can also witness nutritional carencies like hypoferremia (iron deficiency) in obese people.

A clinical trial with 172 healthy non-obese (BMI <30 kg/m2), and 234 obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) has been conducted to understand mechanisms involved in the hypoferremia of obesity. Results are published here.

Researchers found in obese patients:
- inadequate bioavailable iron relative to body weight
- diminished intestinal absorption
- decreased iron bioavailability induced by inflammatory adipokines

This study confiirms that obesity is a condition where inflammatory pathways are over-activated and nutritional carencies can be present despite the excess of food intake.

Falsely normal ferritin concentrations are commonly found and are likely increased by chronic inflammation. So this marker if measured alone can be misleading in obese people.

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