Life Extension Magazine October 2010
As We See It
Aggressive Actions Needed to Avert Obesity Crisis
By William Faloon
The impending medical catastrophe caused by today’s obesity epidemic reminds me of the 1950s.
Back then, one scientific report after another confirmed the diseases inflicted by cigarette smoking. Yet it was not until 1964 that any kind of substantive step was taken to reduce tobacco consumption.1 Even today (46 years later), smoking remains a leading cause of premature death.2
As deadly as cigarettes are, the explosive increase in the number of overweight/obese individuals is projected to create an even greater economic and health disaster.
Similar to the deferred effects of cigarette smoking, medical costs associated with obesity-related diseases are mostly postponed. This means that society has only begun to pay the enormous healthcare expenses that will accrue as overweight individuals succumb to cancer,3-6 vascular occlusion,7,8 kidney failure,9 diabetes,10 arthritis,11 early senility,12 and other illnesses.
The federal government’s meager steps to combat this calamity have failed. The evidence can be seen by the fact that nearly three times more Americans are obese today compared to 1960. A more startling statistic is that six times more Americans are morbidly obese (body mass index 40 and above) than in 1960.13
Obese individuals (body mass index 30 and above) now comprise over one-third of the American population. Another one-third is overweight (body mass index of 25-29).13 The majority of Americans are thus destined to suffer higher incidences of degenerative diseases than this nation’s healthcare system can afford.
As it relates to longevity, excess body fat robs victims of quality and quantity of life.14 What you will be surprised to learn is that factors that underlie age-related weight gain also preclude the optimal expression of our longevity genes.
This issue of Life Extension Magazine® describes validated methods aging people can use to simultaneously shed excess fat pounds, reduce disease risk, and turn on youth-promoting “longevity genes.”
Doctors Fail to Recognize Obesity As a Multi-factorial Disorder
The US Department of Agriculture released data showing that Americans consumed an extra 331 calories a day in 2006 compared to 1978.15
If that number does not sound like a lot, just look how it quickly adds up. An extra 331 calories per day equals 2,317 calories each week or 120,000 extra calories in a year. This amount of excess food intake translates into roughly 34 pounds of stored body fat!
The government is using this data to explain why so many Americans suffer excess weight problems. The government only has the story partially right.
What is not recognized by conventional experts is that maturing humans lose the metabolic capacity to utilize even the limited number of calories they may be ingesting. When we use the term “metabolic capacity,” we are referring to a constellation of deleterious changes that arise during aging that predispose us to accumulate excess body fat.
A young person can eat a reasonable amount of food and efficiently convert these calories into energy with minimal residual fat storage. As that same person ages, they suffer a multitude of changes that impact body weight regulation such as hormone imbalance, insulin insensitivity, mitochondrial dysfunction, and decline in resting energy expenditure.16-19
This means that even if we don’t consume a single calorie more at 45 years old compared to our food energy consumption at 25 years old, our aging physiology predisposes us to weight gain.
Tackling the Problem Head On
If there is one truth that has been learned over the past 30 years, it is that there is no “magic bullet” that singlehandedly can be counted on to reverse age-associated weight gain. An understanding of the mechanisms involved in excess fat storage reveals why the advice to “just eat less” is doomed to fail over the long term.
Life Extension has been on a multi-decade crusade to validate effective methods of inducing fat loss. We have identified nutrients, hormones, and drugs that have demonstrated efficacy in peer-reviewed scientific publications, yet are overlooked by mainstream physicians.
We have funded millions of dollars in laboratory and clinical research to develop formulations to combat the obesity-inducing factors that plague the aging population.
The public still does not understand, however, that weight gain is the result of a myriad of metabolic and physiologic factors. The encouraging news is that scientifically supported methods exist to correct many of the mechanisms that predispose us to accumulate excessive body fat.
Lacking until now has been a comprehensive program that enables doctors and patients to work together to design individualized programs that not only facilitate weight loss, but also reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as triglycerides, glucose, LDL, and C-reactive protein.
Even more fascinating is new evidence that a proper weight loss program can enhance the expression of our longevity genes.20 What this means is that aging humans now have a roadmap to lose unsightly body fat and slash disease risk, while adding healthy decades to their life spans.
Despite overwhelming documentation that age-associated weight gain can be reversed, no one has put all the pieces of the puzzle together until now.
The Life Extension® Weight Loss Guide
Life Extension has accumulated hard data about why Americans are getting fatter every year and what scientific steps can be taken to help reverse this frightening trend.
We realized, however, the urgent need to amalgamate this information into a user-friendly book that can be utilized to target the multiple obesity factors aging humans face.
We are pleased to announce the publication of the Life Extension® Weight Loss Guide, a reference book that compiles the research and clinical trials our organization has painstakingly assembled over the past three decades.
This book will sell in stores for $29.95. As a Life Extension® member, we are discounting the price by 70%, so you pay only $8.99.
It is our sincere desire that the Life Extension® Weight Loss Guide will initiate a scientific renaissance in the interventions that aging humans and their doctors employ to induce sustained reductions of body fat. You can order a copy of this book today by calling 1-800-544-4440.
New Multi-Ingredient Powdered Drink Combats Several Weight Gain Inducers
For many Life Extension members, the use of various nutrient formulas has been an important weight management tool. While thousands have used these products with success, some have not been able to achieve results.
As part of our ongoing clinical research, we set out to produce a powdered drink mix formula incorporating several proven fat-loss agents. The objective was to help our most treatment-resistant overweight members achieve their desired weight management goals—individuals who have previously tried innumerable weight management programs, nutrients, and pharmaceutical agents without success.
Furthermore, we wanted to test this new multi-ingredient powdered formula against a similar capsule formula to be certain that the powder formula with one new ingredient worked in treatment-resistant study subjects who previously failed to achieve their desired weight management results.
The findings were quite remarkable.
In treatment-resistant overweight study subjects, the new Calorie Control Weight Management powdered drink formula, mixed with water and consumed 15-30 minutes prior to the two largest meals of the day, generated, on average, 65% greater weight loss over 8 weeks in comparison with treatment-resistant study subjects given the capsule form. [See Figure 1 to the right]
In addition to achieving greater mean (average) weight loss over the eight-week study period, treatment-resistant overweight and obese study subjects also achieved greater categorical weight loss.
This meant that by week eight, 58% of treatment-resistant study subjects who consumed the new Calorie Control Weight Management powdered drink formula were able to lose greater than 10 pounds as compared with only 22% of those using the capsule formula. For the greater than 12 pounds threshold, the results were equally impressive for the new powdered formula, with 41% of study subjects losing greater than 12 pounds by week eight in comparison with only 11% given the capsule formula. [See Figure 2 to the right and 3 below]
These results are all the more impressive because they occurred with treatment-resistant individuals who struggled with excess body weight and failed multiple past weight management programs, nutrients, and pharmaceutical interventions… yet were able to finally start achieving their weight management goals with this new Calorie Control Weight Management powdered drink formula.
Descriptions of the published scientific studies that support the ingredients in the new Calorie Control Weight Management Formula appear in the first article of this month’s issue.
Rather than relying solely on clinical trials conducted by others, the Life Extension Foundation® went a step further and conducted our own open-label, randomized clinical study in treatment-resistant volunteers. Our findings support the benefits of the ingredients in the Calorie Control Weight Management Formula.
We now have a potent front-line weapon to be used in a comprehensive program to rid surplus fat pounds.
An Epidemic with Catastrophic Ramifications
A 120-page government report released earlier this year paints a grim picture if today’s obesity epidemic is not brought under control.96
For example, one out of every three young Americans (ages 2 to 19) is already overweight or obese. This group has not yet even encountered most of the age-related obesity inducers described at the end of this article, indicating that an epidemic of gargantuan proportions will soon be upon us.
Stark examples of the costs related to obesity come from this 120-page government report. In 2006 for example, an additional $1,429 in medical costs was spent treating each obese adult American compared to those of normal weight. Annual losses to US businesses due to obesity were $12.8 billion in absenteeism and $30 billion in lost productivity.
In 1980, there were 5.6 million diagnosed cases of diabetes. By 2007, this number shot up to 17.4 million.97 Diabetics are at substantially increased risk for virtually every degenerative disorder.
According to economists, the annual medical costs of obesity in America went from $78.5 billion in 1998 to $147 billion in 2008.98 As I stated at the beginning of this article, therapeutic costs relating to obesity are significantly delayed, meaning this nation faces staggering healthcare expenditures as the population ages and falls ill to obesity-induced diseases.
Over the last thirty years, a record number of artificial sweeteners, artificial fats, and prescription weight-loss drugs have been approved by the FDA. None of this has stopped the relentless surge in the number of overweight and obese Americans.