Evidence Based
3.6 /5

How Adiponectin Levels Affect Obesity & Autoimmunity

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Reviewed by Genius Labs Science Team | Last updated:

SelfHacked has the strictest sourcing guidelines in the health industry and we almost exclusively link to medically peer-reviewed studies, usually on PubMed. We believe that the most accurate information is found directly in the scientific source.

We are dedicated to providing the most scientifically valid, unbiased, and comprehensive information on any given topic.

Our team comprises of trained MDs, PhDs, pharmacists, qualified scientists, and certified health and wellness specialists.

All of our content is written by scientists and people with a strong science background.

Our science team is put through the strictest vetting process in the health industry and we often reject applicants who have written articles for many of the largest health websites that are deemed trustworthy. Our science team must pass long technical science tests, difficult logical reasoning and reading comprehension tests. They are continually monitored by our internal peer-review process and if we see anyone making material science errors, we don't let them write for us again.

Our goal is to not have a single piece of inaccurate information on this website. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please leave a comment or contact us at [email protected]

Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to peer-reviewed scientific studies. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc...]” means that the information is found within the full scientific study rather than the abstract.

Adiponectin is involved in controlling fat metabolism & can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Learn more about how adiponectin may play a role in your health.

What is Adinopectin?

Adiponectin is released in the bloodstream from fat cells, where it is involved in the control of fat metabolism and regulating glucose levels [1].

This protein hormone helps suppress metabolic derangements which lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and low levels is an independent risk factor for metabolic syndrome.

Adiponectin may play a role in cell growth, the formation of new blood vessels, and tissue remodeling by binding and sequestering various growth factors [2].

Adiponectin stimulates AMPK, which is a pathway involved in cellular energy homeostasis [2, 3].

It also enhances glucose utilization and fatty-acid combustion in the liver and the muscle [2].

Adiponectin reduces and blocks the effects of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha [4].

It also inhibits NF-kB signaling through the cAMP-dependent pathway [2].

Overall, adiponectin plays an important part in our body as a messenger to communicate between adipose tissue and other organs. It has an important role in metabolism and homeostasis, protects cells from apoptosis, and reduces inflammation in many cell types [5].


  • Higher levels of adiponectin are associated with a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Having a high level of adiponectin may offer protection against getting diabetes for postmenopausal women [6].
  • Adiponectin can help prevent obesity and its metabolic effects [7].
  • Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer [8].
  • It was found that lower levels of adiponectin could lead to non-small cell lung cancer [9].
  • Lower levels of adiponectin are associated with colorectal cancer [10].


  • Adiponectin levels are associated with kidney diseases [11].
  • Excess levels might lead to heart enlargement [5].

Conditions With Lower Adiponectin

  • Obesity [12].
  • Diabetes.  Levels of adiponectin are reduced in diabetics in comparison to non-diabetics and might be a useful marker for diabetes [1314].
  • Asthma [15].
  • Preterm babies: babies that were born prematurely are found to have lower serum adiponectin levels than babies that were carried to full term [16].
  • Mechanisms: TNF [17], IL-6 [17], IL-18 [17], CREB [17], transcription factor 3 [17],

Adiponectin and Autoimmune Disease

Adiponectin is considered a key adipokine in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related complications, especially cardiovascular diseases. In these metabolic conditions, circulating adiponectin is reduced. It is now well known that adiponectin has beneficial effects on endothelial cells and endothelial function and is also cardioprotective. Unlike metabolic diseases, systemic autoimmune and chronic inflammatory joint diseases are characterized by increased production of adiponectin. There is evidence to suggest that adiponectin may be related to disease activity and/or severity in different conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and osteoarthritis [18].

Adiponectin is highly expressed in the inflamed joint tissue and correlates closely with progressive bone erosion in Rheumatoid arthritis patients [19].

Adiponectin can increase the Th1 and Th17 immune responses, which leads to autoimmunity [19, 20].

In a mouse model of arthritis, adiponectin injection resulted in an earlier and more severe onset of arthritis, an aggravated arthritic progression, bone erosion, and osteoporosis.  Th17 cells, IL-17, IL-22, IL-23 and RANKL [19].

However, in a different model of brain inflammation, adiponectin inhibited Th17 immunity [21]. Additionally, Th1 and Th2 cytokines were lower in people with higher adiponectin who had metabolic syndrome [22].

It seems like whether adiponectin causes inflammation or reduces it will depend on other biological factors and will be different for different people.

Ways Adiponectin Can Increase

The concentration of adiponectin increases when calories are restricted such as in eating disorders [23].

  • DHA [24, 2526]
  • Glycine [27]
  • Curcumin [28]
  • Ginseng [29]
  • Exercise [30]
  • Mediterranean olive oil diet: it was found that a diet that includes olive oil prevents adiponectin downregulation [31].
  • Mechanisms: PPAR gamma [32], FoxO1 [17], C/EBPα (CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein α) [17], Macrophage polarization is a regulator [33].

Irregular Adiponectin Levels?

LabTestAnalyzer helps you make sense of your lab results and track them over time. It marks all your problematic lab results and tells you how to get into the optimal range naturally. No need to do thousands of hours of research to understand your test results!

LabTestAnalyzer is a sister company of SelfHacked. The proceeds from your purchase of this product are reinvested into our research and development, in order to serve you better. Thanks for your support!

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen won the genetic lottery of bad genes. As a kid, he suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine.Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers.Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO of SelfHacked, SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer.His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.
Joe has been studying health sciences for 17 years and has read over 30,000 PubMed articles. He's given consultations to over 1000 people who have sought his health advice. After completing the pre-med requirements at university, he founded SelfHacked because he wanted to make a big impact in improving global health. He's written hundreds of science posts, multiple books on improving health, and speaks at various health conferences. He's keen on building a brain-trust of top scientists who will improve the level of accuracy of health content on the web. He's also founded SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer, popular genetic and lab software tools to improve health.

Click here to subscribe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(7 votes, average: 3.57 out of 5)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.