Studies Show Obesity Causes a Range of Problems for Your Body — Even Your Brain

obesity and brain health


It’s a well-known fact that obesity can have a wide range of health impacts. We’ve discussed many of these issues on this blog, including how obesity can reduce your lifespan, increase your risk of cancer and cause cardiovascular and musculoskeletal problems.

But did you know that obesity also affects your brain? There is a small but growing body of evidence that shows that obesity can have detrimental effects on your most vital organ.

The Link Between Obesity and Brain-Related Problems

In recent years, scientists across the world have conducted studies to determine how obesity affects the brain. Their emerging conclusion is that obesity can cause a range of problems for the brain.

These include:

  • Memory deficits
  • Age-related brain degeneration, including the development of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s Disease

Memory Deficits

Studies show that obesity is linked to brain shrinkage and memory deficits. In a University of Cambridge study, researchers found that a higher a participant’s BMI (body mass index) was, the lower they performed on memory tasks.

This could be because obesity may actually affect the structure of the brain. A Boston University School of Medicine study found that individuals with excess fat tend to exhibit lower overall brain volume.

Brain Degeneration

Besides memory deficits, obesity could also have an effect on brain aging. Another study, which utilized brain scanning, showed that being overweight or obese corresponds with a greater degree of age-related brain degeneration.

Our brains change during the natural aging process. As we become older, the brain loses white matter and shrinks. Studies have shown that obese people have less white matter in their brains compared to normal-weight individuals.

The Relationship Between Obesity and the Brain

The changes that obesity prompts the brain to undergo may also fuel obesity in turn.

Dopamine is a chemical that occurs in the brain and causes us to feel pleasure. One study found that individuals with higher BMIs have a lower concentration of dopamine receptors. In other words, the brain is unable to process the chemical that tells it to feel happy.

That means that people who are obese may not feel pleasure after eating meals of normal proportions, causing them to overeat to feel satisfied.

Past studies have also shown a link between memory and eating habits. Put simply, if someone doesn’t remember eating, they’re more likely to eat. Because obesity may have a detrimental effect on memory, scientists hypothesize that memory deficits can result in overeating among people who are already obese.

Because obesity and brain function are highly complex phenomena, scientists are still determining the precise relationship between obesity and brain problems.

While many questions still remain, Dr. Dirk says, “There is no question that obesity accelerates and worsens various medical conditions and thus can be considered an ‘age accelerator.'”

What Can You Do To Fight Obesity?

While the science is still unsettled, it is very likely that obesity has a negative effect on the brain, and it is certain that obesity causes a range of other problems for the body.

Fortunately, the solution is simple. According to Dr. Dirk, “The simplest way deal with obesity is to prevent it. But if you’re already overweight or obese, you should actively work to reverse it with good nutrition and exercise. If nutrition and exercise fail to produce meaningful results within one year, it’s time to consider your obesity surgery options.”

Surgery is the answer for obesity-related illnesses

Weight loss Surgery is drastic.

I am stunned when I encounter supposedly educated people (yes I am talking doctors here) tell me weight loss surgery is drastic.  In my other blogs I have written about the tons of science that have proven the safety and efficacy of surgery compared to diets or pills. Google it and 1000 pages come up, go read it.  I love when these doctors tell me that weight loss surgery is drastic, but heart surgery is not.  “Oh, that is different”.

When I point out that
•Many types of Obesity surgery gets rid of diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high cholesterol which areobesity surgery dallas all the risk factors that go hand in hand with heart disease, which will need heart surgery, they say, “You can avoid obesity, you can’t avoid heart disease”(with a harrumpf, puff,puff & sigh). What?
•Obesity surgery will get rid of diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, memory deficits,  and high cholesterol, which means you will avoid heart disease, which will avoid the need for heart surgery, but obesity surgery is drastic? What planet do you come from? Or is the tin foil hat you are wearing really helping you fight off alien mind control?  “Obesity surgery is too hard”.  Heart surgery, hip surgery, back surgery, cancer surgery are walks in the park?  “Weight loss surgery makes the weight loss too fast and that’s not healthy” Seriously?

Obesity surgery will:
•Get rid of sleep apnea in 30 days,
•Have acid reflux (GERD) gone in 2 months,
•Make diabetes disappear or easier to control in 3 months,
•Make blood pressure normal without medicine in 6 months and
•Get cholesterol back to normal in 1 year with obesity surgery.
This is too fast?

Because of these results the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering recommending obesity surgery (bypass, sleeve, switch) as the first line of treatment for Type 2 diabetes, regardless of insulin or oral treatment! Impossible! A surgery actually cures something!

Let me share 2 stories with you which I hope move you to be smarter than some of my colleagues.  A patients husband comes to my office. He is younger than 50 and the diabetes is causing bleeding in both his  retinas, threatening his eyesight- he expects to be blind in no time. He has the start of neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes-one of the leading causes of amputation). His BMI is 35. I point out that obesity surgery can cure his diabetes or (make it much easier to control).

He is stunned. “None of my doctors ever told me this”. This is a young man, suffering the consequences of a crippling disease (usually associated with 60,70 & 80 year olds!) AND his doctors have not told him of an alternative and effective treatment that CAN GET RID OF DIABETES! Does anybody else feel their blood boiling?
A colleague of mine has witnessed me become an obesity surgeon. He has sent me his patients and seen results. He too is obese. He has suffered a heart attack. He has had heart surgery. Without my prompting him, he would say, “I gotta lose weight, but THAT surgery is not for me”.

Years go by and he develops type 2 diabetes so severe he needs an insulin pump surgically implanted. This doctor would suffer the ravages of heart disease and diabetes, instead of having a surgery that will take away the most significant medical conditions affecting the world today.

Thankfully, more doctors are better informed and have had my patients come back to them.  Each of my patients tell me how amazed their doctors are at how fast their health improved, at how fast they would be taking their patient off insulin and high blood pressure medication.  These doctors understand how drastic it is NOT to recommend obesity surgery to their patients.

An important message to all my colleagues;
-Obesity surgery works to treat obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure & high

-Dr. Dirk