A recent study from the UK indicates that the brains of obese people age faster than those of their lean counterparts.

Research conducted by a team of University of Cambridge scientists found that beginning in middle age, the brains of obese people display differences in white matter similar to lean individuals ten years older.

White matter is the tissue that connects areas of the brain and allows information to be communicated between regions.

“White matter” in obese 50-year-old is same as 60-year-old

Brains shrink naturally with age, but science is recognizing that obesity—already linked to diabetes, cancer, heart problems and many other ailments—may also speed the rate of brain aging.

The Cambridge team studied data from 473 individuals between the ages of 20 and 87, recruited by the Cambridge Center for Aging and NeuroScience.

The team divided data into two categories and found striking differences in white matter.

They then calculated white matter volume related to age. They observed that the brains of 50-year-old obese people were comparable to 60-year-old lean people.

The differences were observed only from middle age onward, suggesting that the brain becomes vulnerable during this period of aging.

It is not clear why the brains of obese people have a greater reduction in amount of white matter, said first author Lisa Ronan from the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge.

Senior author, Professor Paul Fletcher noted that in the modern world we have aging populations with increasing levels of obesity, so it is “essential to establish how these factors interact.”

The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Can the trend be reversed?

Natural health advocates, including physicians, nutritionists, organic farmers, numerous websites and millions of common sense food experts have recognized for years that essential nutrition for healthy life is missing from much modern food.

This is true all the way from the field and how it is grown, to how we consume our calories from their processed boxes, packages and the pick-up lanes of uncountable fast food joints.

This is a big reason why so many of us consume our empty, tasty calories and slow down or eliminate every one of the thousands of delicate, overburdened processes of the natural body that would help maintain health rather than make us fat and sluggish.

Perhaps that’s a major contributing cause of the aging brains of obese people?

Researchers caution that the study is just preliminary and observational, and that follow-up research is warranted.

Regardless, it is encouraging to have at least an observational study confirm that something is wrong with our modern lifestyle with regards to brain function.

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Source: Neurobiology of Aging (journals.elsevier.com).