How Important Is Adiponectin?

Adiponectin is a protein synthesized and secreted by adipose tissue. Among other functions, it boosts insulin sensitivity, reduces hepatic gluconeogenesis, and promotes fatty acid oxidation.
How Important Is Adiponectin?

Last update: 29 September, 2021

Adipocytes aren’t only cells responsible for storing fats and releasing them in the form of free fatty acids. They also produce a vast number of substances known as adipocytokines. One of them is adiponectin.

It’s a hormone that can lower the risk of heart disease. Regarding its structure, it’s a protein. Its plasma concentrations in humans normally vary between 5 and 10 micrograms per milliliter.

Many things can affect adiponectin concentrations. Likewise, reduced levels of this hormone have been associated with genetic changes, hormonal factors, a diet high in sugars, and many diseases. Among them, we highlight some such as the following:

  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Blood lipid alterations
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension

What’s the importance of adiponectin?

This hormone prevents foam cells from forming and smooth muscle cells from multiplying. In addition, it plays a role in nitric oxide production. The latter is essential to keep arterial walls and blood vessels healthy. Thus, it prevents atheromatous plaque from forming and protects vascular health.

Similarly, it improves insulin resistance because it increases the muscular and hepatic oxidation of fatty acids, decreases the production of glucose in the liver, and favors its access to the muscles.

Obese people have lower adiponectin levels. Therefore, it also has a reduced anti-inflammatory effect. Experts don’t know the mechanism by which this occurs.

However, some studies state that weight loss increases the levels of this hormone. In addition, the serum concentrations of adiponectin vary according to sex, age, and race.

This article may interest you: How to Eat Healthy to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Where does adiponectin work?

This hormone exerts its action through different pathways. It’s important to know that it has multisystemic actions. Adiponectin has the ability to act on the:

  • Central nervous system
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Immune system
  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Adipose tissue
  • Kidneys

Therapy against obesity

As we mentioned above, due to its anti-inflammatory function and the fact that it promotes insulin sensitivity, as well as due to its cardioprotective and antiatherogenic properties, adiponectin is a good option to fight obesity and other associated metabolic problems.

Many adipocytes.
Elevated adiponectin levels help maintain cardiovascular health.

According to a 2017 study that was published in the journal Internal Medicine of Mexico, the administration of this hormone has been shown to improve blood glucose and lipid concentrations in pre-clinical models. Likewise, it promotes weight loss and reduces fatty liver and inflammatory processes. However, its clinical use in humans is complex.

How to increase adiponectin levels

We must bear in mind that lifestyle changes are associated with increased blood concentrations of adiponectin. Following a Mediterranean diet seems to be an effective way to increase the activity of this protein.

Here are some of the foods that make up this diet:

  • Firstly, plant-based meals, with only small amounts of beef and chicken.
  • More servings of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes.
  • Fish and shellfish.
  • Raw olive oil as the main source of fat, without subjecting it to cooking methods. This oil is a healthy fat.
  • Foods that are prepared and seasoned in simple ways, without sauces or industrialized meat juices.
  • Red wine, consumed in moderate amounts.
Foods from the Mediterranean diet.
A Mediterranean diet contributes to increasing adiponectin serum levels.

Likewise, don’t forget that you also need to lose weight and exercise. It’s important for you to eat a balanced diet and stay physically active.

What drugs can increase it?

In addition to what we just mentioned, some drugs can also increase their concentrations and promote their effects. In general, they’re families of compounds used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus 2 and cardiovascular diseases.

Some of them are the following:

  • Statins
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Thiazolidinediones

These drugs increase adiponectin production, doubling or tripling its concentrations in healthy people, as well as in people who suffer from obesity and diabetes.

What we should clarify about adiponectin

Adiponectin plays an important role in protective processes. However, overweight and obese people tend to have decreased adiponectin serum concentrations, meaning that its anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective properties are also diminished.

You need to lead an active life, exercise regularly, and follow a healthy diet. This way, you’ll boost your adiponectin concentrations, enhance its benefits, and protect your cardiovascular health.

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