New Body Fat Perspective: Study Shows Body Fat Can Fight Heart Disease

By @hyaluronidase on
Overweight man
IN PHOTO: A man runs up the "gostra", a pole covered in grease, during the religious feast of St Julian, patron of the town of St Julian's, outside Valletta August 25, 2013. In the traditional "gostra", a game stretching back to the Middle Ages, young men, women and children have to make their way to the top and try to uproot one of the flags to win prizes. From May to September in Malta, there is hardly any weekend when a town or a village is not celebrating the feast of its patron saint or other saints revered in different churches. Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Packing on extra weight can actually help with survival after an episode of heart attack, according to a new study. It appears that excess fat can help fight heart disease, The Independent reports.

Researchers from the University of Oxford suggest that body fat can serve as a “last line of defence” against strokes and heart attacks by releasing chemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. According to reports, this could explain why some people with high body mass index, or BMI, tend to live longer than those with healthy BMI readings.

The study was based on previous works that showed being overweight is not always a bad thing. The 2013 study assessed almost a hundred studies from the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that having a BMI of 25 to 35 (classified as mildly obese) is associated with lower risk of death from various causes, compared to having an obesity BMI reading of 35 and above, according to The Independent.

In the new study, researchers observed tissue samples from patients who underwent heart surgery. Researchers found that certain chemicals were released from body fats during an episode of stroke or heart attack to serve as a warning intended for the heart and arteries.

The study also revealed that during oxidative stress, a process that leads to atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries, the fat that surrounds the heart and arteries release the chemicals to prevent coronary heart disease from developing. According to the lead researcher of the study, Charalambos Antoniades, the findings of the study should provide a new perspective for body fats.

“While it must be said that the majority of fats are dangerous in the presence of a disease, there are some good chemicals that have health benefits,” said Antoniades. He also said that the results could also alter the way humans deal with body fats in the future.

“We should not only be intent on losing weight. The next step is to develop treatment that can harness the health properties of fat.” The findings will be presented on the annual British Cardiovascular Conference in Manchester, according to sources. 

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