Biohacking News

Losing Extra Pounds Can Promote Longer, Healthier Lives

August 17, 2023

Did you know that losing weight can help you to live longer? Researchers from Italy, working for the Stella Maris Mediterraneum Foundation, have published a study exploring the many links between excess body fat and longevity.1 The study focuses on visceral fat, or internal abdominal fat which accumulates near major organs like the liver, as this type of fat is most harmful to longevity. For our purposes, it’s key that we understand that losing visceral fat requires losing overall body fat–when you lose ten pounds of body fat, for example, you’ve lost one pound of visceral fat, as it makes up 10% of overall body fat.

Losing Body Fat Decreases Risk for Many Serious Diseases

The researchers state that, “Several epidemiologic studies have implicated visceral fat as a major risk factor for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome and death. Utilizing novel models of visceral obesity, numerous studies have demonstrated that the relationship between visceral fat and longevity is causal.” They further explain, “The ability to prevent or delay the onset of disease is a critical determinant of lifespan.” So, the way to increase lifespan is to decrease the amount of visceral fat your body contains, as it will decrease your risk for serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and also cancer. The researchers point out, “The risks associated with obesity have been extended to cancer, including prostate, breast, liver, kidney, colon, ovarian, and endometrial cancers.”

Having Less Body Fat Helps Protect Your DNA

Obesity can lead to quicker aging, through the degradation of protein structures that protect genetic information in the DNA to keep cells functioning in a healthy and orderly way. The researchers explain, “Obesity has not only been linked to a reduced life expectancy but also to accelerated aging as demonstrated by obese women having telomeres that were 240 bp shorter lean women of a similar age.” As the National Institute of Health explains, “Telomeres, the specific DNA–protein structures found at both ends of each chromosome, protect genome from nucleolytic degradation, unnecessary recombination, repair, and interchromosomal fusion. Telomeres therefore play a vital role in preserving the information in our genome.” Excessive body fat can actually speed up the deterioration of our cells’ DNA! Clearly, reducing one’s body fat is a crucial effort for those seeking to improve their longevity. To lose body fat, including harmful visceral fat, decrease calorie intake and increase physical activity.

  1. Ingram, D. K., Roth, G. S., Lane, M. A., Ottinger, M. A., Zou, S., De Cabo, R., & Mattison, J. A. (2006). The potential for dietary restriction to increase longevity in humans: extrapolation from monkey studies. Biogerontology7(3), 143–148.