Flaky Fringe or Cutting Edge? (Part 2)


Yesterday, Childhood Obesity News looked at some of the thoughts of maverick “bio-hacker” Dave Asprey, who believes that a leading cause of obesity is systemic inflammation. Inflammation is associated with impaired cognition, and also with cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and, of course, obesity.

When a person blimps up, Asprey believes, as much as one-third of that apparent fat is actually swelling caused by a chronic state of inflammation caused by toxins. A particularly insidious hiding place for toxins is the digestive system, and one of the authorities he quotes is Sean Croxton, author of The Dark Side of Fat Loss, who reminds us:

The immune system is huge. It’s so huge and it’s very much tied in with the digestive system. 80% of your immune system, I should say, resides in your digestive system.

One of Croxton’s core beliefs is that, if the situation were as simple as “calories in, calories out,” the obesity epidemic would not exist. But it does, with thousands of people earnestly proclaiming their faithful adherence to sensible food intake and vigorous exercise, with negligible results.

Another writer with an unorthodox theory is Russell Farris, author of The Potbelly Syndrome, who believes that many people with an intractable tendency toward obesity are actually suffering from persistent, low-profile infections that constantly engage the immune system:

[…] cranking up our cortisol levels, cranking up our blood sugar, turning up our insulin, making us more insulin resistant, of course, making us fat. Infections are making us fat.

These researchers who are sometimes called crackpots are convinced that something is going on in the bodies of the obese that has been largely ignored or discounted, and they want to discover the root of the problem. A lot of the obese person’s difficulties stem from hormones, they say. As Croxton puts it:

Hormones store fat. Hormones should be in balance. You don’t want too much of them, you don’t want too little of them, you want them to be right there in the middle, nice and balanced and when they’re not, you’re going to have some issues. Your hormones would tell your cells what to do. If your cells are getting the wrong messages, then your body is not going to function very well.

But it’s not only the gut that becomes disordered by inflammation, it’s the brain. The old “blood-brain barrier” concept is not holding up, and apparently can be breached by various chemical means. The brain is the part we think with, or, in many cases, fail to think.

For instance, Childhood Obesity News has extensively explored the ramifications of denial, in relation to both obesity and addiction. The brain is the architect of denial, the organ we use to generate excuses. The brain is the tool we use to rationalize our neglect, when it comes to cultivating good habits in ourselves and our kids.

The brain is the part we use to understand that yes, there is such a thing as food addiction. It’s the part with which we decide to go into rehab. If our brains are messed up by inflammation or infection, that doesn’t help with either the obesity or the addiction. If weird chemicals and processes are messing up our brains in ways for which we did not volunteer, causing an inability to think straight, it’s a good idea to learn more about where they come from and how they operate.

(To be continued…)

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Real Superfoods That Destroy Inflammation in Your Brain…,” The Bulletproof Executive, 01/30/13
Image by Isaac Mao.

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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