A well-functioning immune system is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. An optimally operational immune system will defend the body against foreign pathogens and disease. It will also not attack the body or cause unnecessary and harmful chronic inflammation (the way it does in the case of autoimmune disease).
Many factors affect how well your immune system operates, and it’s important to make lifestyle choices that are likely to lead to your immune system working well. Let’s talk about how body fat percentage can influence immune function.
A person’s body fat percentage is their total mass of fat divided by their total body mass and multiplied by 100. It is the percentage of their entire body that is made of fat. Body fat percentage is seen as a good indicator of a person’s overall health and fitness status. Studies suggest that body fat percentage can have an effect on immune function.
The main methods of measuring body fat percentage are:
Body fat comes in six types. These are:
Body fat percentage can indicate whether you are a healthy weight, overweight, or underweight. However, body fat percentage is not a foolproof indicator of general health or of a healthy lifestyle.
Body fat percentage depends on multiple genetic factors that vary between individuals, such as metabolism, activity levels, and musculature. Also, where body fat is stored has a large impact on health outcomes. For example, if you have a healthy body fat percentage but an unhealthy amount of your fat is visceral fat around your waist, you may be at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
A healthy body fat percentage for males is generally between 8% and 18%. When men get to age 50 and over, a body fat percentage of between 8% and 22% is considered healthy.
A healthy body fat percentage for females is generally between 14% and 20%. From age 50 and over, a body fat percentage of between 8% and 27% is considered healthy.
If you have an unhealthy body fat percentage, you increase the risk of various negative health outcomes. These include:
If your body fat percentage is too low, you risk:
The immune system is the network of organs, tissues, and cells that prevents invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites from taking hold in the body and causing disease. When germs get into the body, the immune system triggers the release of special cells that attack them. So how does body fat affect the immune system?
Studies suggest that excess visceral fat, particularly around the stomach, can trigger the immune system to release proinflammatory immune cells. By circulating in the blood and causing inflammation, these cells can damage the body rather than protect it.
Studies suggest that excessive body fat can lead to immune disorders that cause inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
Studies suggest that lowering body fat can change immune system activity quickly and positively and reverse some of the adverse inflammatory changes seen in obese people with diabetes.
Lowered body fat percentage causes the immune system to reduce the amount of proinflammatory cells circulating in the blood. This reduces chronic inflammation throughout the body and can improve prediabetes and type-2 diabetes.
You can reduce body fat percentage through: