Fatty Foods Weaken Immune System

December 9, 2009

1 Min Read
Fatty Foods Weaken Immune System

GOTHENBURG, SwedenNew research from the University of Gothenburg reveals fresh evidence that consuming fatty foods over a long period can weaken the immune system.

According to researcher, mice fed a lard-based diet over a long period got worse at fighting bacteria in the blood. The mice fed a lard-based diet derived 60 percent of their total calories from fat. They were compared with mice fed a low-fat diet, where no more than 10 percent of their calories came from fat. As expected, the mice on the high-fat diet got fatter. A more surprising result was that their immune system was less active. The white blood cells got worse at dealing with bacteria in the blood, which could have contributed to many dying of sepsis.

"Obesity is usually associated with inflammation that does not result from an infection, which simply means that the immune defenses are activated unnecessarily," wrote the researcher. "Ironically, the mice on the high-fat diet seem to have a less-active immune system when they really need it."

The researcher also investigated different variants of three genes that are important for the immune system and noted that several of the gene variants that strengthen immunity also result in less obesity.

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