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Ectopic fat

Ectopic fat storage occurs when fat is deposited where it doesn't normally belong, like organs such as the heart and liver. This can ultimately lead to problems with those organs.

Our evidence-based analysis on ectopic fat features 3 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by and reviewed by the Examine team.
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Summary of Ectopic fat

Ectopic fat storage occurs when fats are stored in places other than subcutaneous adipose tissue, which is where most fat is stored under healthy conditions, or in the visceral fat. In fact, the Greek roots for the word “ectopic” literally mean “out of place.” Common ectopic sites include the liver, pancreas, skeletal muscle, and the heart. The root cause of ectopic fat deposition is unknown, but, as laid out in Figure 1, it is thought to occur[1] when adipose tissue has an impaired ability to store additional fat through decreased expandability. When triglycerides are redirected and stored in organs such as the liver or skeletal muscle, where very little fat is typically stored, it can lead to an impairment of normal organ function and is associated with disorders such as insulin resistance[2] and type 2 diabetes[3].

Study Deep Dives

Click here to see all 3 references.