Metaflammation, also known as metabolic inflammation, is a term that describes the chronic low-grade inflammation associated with metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The term was coined by Gökhan S. Hotamisligil in the early 2000s.
In a healthy immune response, inflammation is a temporary, acute response to an injury or infection. It serves to protect and heal the body. Once the threat is eliminated, the inflammation subsides.
However, in conditions like obesity, the body can enter a state of chronic, low-grade inflammation. This can happen when fat cells (adipocytes) grow too large and begin to die or when they’re subjected to nutrient overload. In response, the immune system activates, leading to inflammation.
The inflammatory response can affect the functioning of the adipose tissue itself and can also have systemic effects, impacting many other organs and tissues. For example, it can lead to insulin resistance, a key factor in type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose from your blood for energy.
Metaflammation differs from classic inflammation in a number of ways. The triggers for metaflammation are typically metabolic or nutritional, rather than infections or pathogens. Metaflammation is also usually lower in intensity but persists over a longer duration, leading to deleterious effects on the body’s metabolism over time.
Research is ongoing into exactly how metaflammation occurs and how it can be prevented or treated. It’s thought that lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical activity, can play a significant role. For example, diets rich in processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods can contribute to metaflammation, while balanced, nutrient-dense diets and regular physical activity can help prevent it. This might be part of the value underpinning BALM is promoting a lifestyle that helps prevent or reduce metaflammation