Boosting our immune systems has gained more importance because of the current pandemic. Research shows that losing weight helps recover immune cells. A study conducted in Australia demonstrated that even a little weight-loss may reverse damages in the immune system of obese people, especially with type 2 diabetes.

When working adequately, the immune system recognizes and attacks infectious agents. When not, the body begins to manufacture antibodies and T cells directed or activated against the body’s cells and organs. This is what occurs in individuals who are obese and /or have diabetes, making them more prone to contracting diseases.

Dr. Alex Viardot and Associate Professor Katherine Samaras from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism a study on people with a BMI between 35 and 50 with conditions that ranged from pre-diabetic to having diabetes for five to ten years. They lost weight following a diet of 1,000 to 1,600 calories a day for 24 weeks. After 12 weeks, the subjects underwent gastric banding to restrict their food intake even more.

Researchers observed an 80 percent reduction of pro-inflammatory T-helper cells (immune cells), as well as reduced activation of other circulating immune cells (T cells, monocytes, and neutrophils) and decreased activation of macrophages (another inflammatory immune cell) in fat. 

“We also showed that the activation status of immune cells found in fat predicted how much weight people would lose following a calorie-restricted diet and bariatric surgery,” Samaras says. 

Samaras explained that the more immune cells are activated, the greater their effect on promoting systemic inflammation. When there is an excess of adipose tissue, the cells in fat secrete molecules that promote inflammation. Another one of Samaras’s studies describes the correlation between abdominal fat and inflamed immune cells.

“There are times when we need our immune cells to behave in a pro-inflammatory way,” explains Samaras. “For example, when we have a foreign body like a splinter in our finger or when we have a viral or bacterial infection. When we have an excess of fat, our immune system behaves similarly, at a low-grade level.” “Those with more activated immune cells lost LESS  weight.”

Samaras also said, “What probably matters more than anything is getting the weight off and keeping it off. The evidence is that for the obese, bariatric surgery of any kind is the only long-term intervention that keeps weight off. Yet if one eats more than necessary after weight loss, they are likely to regain weight, no matter how they lost it.”

In summary, bariatric surgeries are a safe and effective solution to obesity, and losing weight is considered to boost the immune system. 

At Mexicali Bariatric Center, we provide the best follow-up treatment to surgeries because we know that the nutrition and supplements you take after surgery are also essential for a properly functioning immune system. Contact us now! We care about your health.