Could that ‘muffin top’ damage your brain?

You try your best… but one day, it happens.

Your belly fat has had enough of your belt and spilled out over the top of your pants.

Yes, it’s the dreaded muffin top -- and it’s not just unsightly.

It’s dangerous!

New research exposes an unexpected risk of all that extra fat around your middle: dementia.

The more muffin you’ve got spilling out over the top, the higher your risk of getting the disease.

Maybe it’s time to update that old saying about junk food. A moment on the lips isn’t just forever on the hips. It could slip upstairs and drain your brain!

None of this is too surprising, as excess body fat triggers hormone responses and insulin resistance that we know are bad for your mood and memory. And over the long term, obesity by itself and diabetes especially are both known dementia risk factors.

But it’s not just too much fat that can hurt.

It’s WHERE it’s located, too.

The new study looked at what’s called your hip-to-waist ratio. For guys, the ideal ratio is a waist that’s about 90 percent of the hips. For women, it’s 85 percent.

As the two numbers move closer, the extra fat cells can cause damaging inflammation.

Inflammatory chemicals build up in your blood, where they can travel to your brain and trigger cognitive struggles, memory problems, and even dementia.

And the other risks -- including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart problems – rise as well.

If you’ve never calculated your own ratio, you can do it right now in about two minutes.

Use a cloth tape measure and wrap it around your middle right above your belly button. That’s your waist.

Then, move down lower and place the tape measure where you’re widest, which is right around your hips and butt.

If you’re looking at a 36-inch waist, your hips should measure 40 inches if you’re a guy and around 42 inches if you’re a gal.

If your own waist-to-hip ratio is slipping… and your numbers are proportionately closer together than that… a little weight loss is generally the quickest way to bring it back in line.

But it won’t always work. In older women in particular, the hormone imbalances that strike after menopause can cause fat to stick to your middle.

In that case, you may need a little extra help bringing those hormones back into balance before your ratio improves. See a holistic medical doctor who can run some tests and help you decide on the best way to treat it.

If you’re in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in Southern California? I’m also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook!