While we all try to shun fat whenever possible, did you know that fat is actually essential and needed for various biological mechanisms and – guess what – protecting your skin from infections that will otherwise make you sick. Read on to find out how the fat works for your protection.
Usually, based on what we used to learn in schools, when we get sick, the main line of defense would be specialized immune cells that response and target outsiders from invading your body, known as neutrophils and monocytes, while the first line are mast cells and leukocytes, works by stopping these invaders from multiplying, as they’re trying to dominate in the battle.
And yep, dermal fat cells known as adipocytes (the cells that are just below the skin, within the dermis layer) are also included as the first line of battle.
While we tend to think badly of them, fat cells are essential as it helps to insulate your body and protecting you from suffering from extreme temperatures (especially if it’s fluctuate wildly), as well as to serve as some sort of adhesive to attach the dermis layer of your skin to the muscle and bones.
And now, thanks to the hi-tech stuff used in the study, fat cells also serves another purpose that is protecting your body from infections, because it takes time for the main line of defense to reach any wounded skin.
And who would’ve thought, that these fat cells have anti-bacterial properties by producing high amounts of anti-microbial peptides (called cathelicidin) when stimulated, in order to starts the domino effect in fighting infections from pathogens. Cathelicidin is essential as it destroys the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other types of pathogens.
But there’s a catch, cathelicidin is actually a supporter of inflammatory – too much of it will only lead to autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. So really, too much of fat cells is not good either (obviously, as it means you’ll gain more weight) hence the key is having enough fat cells for specific and enough responses to fight infections.
And to add more of the problem, the whole scene will get a bit more complicated if you’re diabetic, as the lack of insulin response will alter the peptide production, making you more vulnerable to infection, plus, too much of cathelicidin will also provoke a bigger inflammatory response – a double trouble indeed.
In short, you need fat cells, but not too much of it as the whole effect can be a lot worse.