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Weight and Wellness Center

Effect of Caloric Restriction and Aging on Inflammation and Iron Status

The Weight and Wellness Center is currently working on a study with the Division of Nutrition at Tufts Medical Center and the Tufts University Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging to learn more about how weight loss may affect inflammation and iron levels.

This study is looking at the effect of weight loss through caloric restriction on iron status, inflammation and hepcidin levels in obese young and older women.  The obesity epidemic has affected populations worldwide, causing a serious threat to health in these populations by increasing risk of chronic disease.  Iron deficiency is among the newly encountered complications of obesity.  Hepcidin is a hormone-like peptide that regulates iron absorption and circulation in the blood, and is induced by iron overload, inflammation and infection.

Evidence suggests that the state of chronic inflammation present in obesity causes chronic hepcidin overexpression, increasing risk of iron deficiency.  Studies in young and older adults are needed to further explore this mechanism and determine the effect of aging, which is also characterized by chronic inflammation, on this process.

This study will explore via a caloric restriction study of young and older obese women. The study subjects will be obese women, either 18-45 years or older than 60 years as part of weight loss programs at the WWC.  Blood samples will be collected at baseline and 12 to 16 weeks after caloric restriction.  We will determine iron status and immune response before and after weight loss, in both age groups.