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Life Extension Magazine

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Novel Fiber Limits Sugar Absorption

September 2004

Using Fiber to Aid Weight Loss
Critics have attacked the use of fiber supplements because they are not a cure for obesity. While this is true, clinical findings reveal that ordinary fiber supplements can reduce the number of calories consumed by 30 to 180 calories per day.54 While modest, this reduction in calorie absorption would, over the course of a year, result in a weight loss of 3-18 pounds.55


In June 2004, the journal Current Medicinal Chemistry published an article titled, “Inhibition of insulin secretion as a new drug target in the treatment of metabolic disorders.” The scientists who authored the article stated that the relationship between hyperinsulinemia and certain metabolic diseases such as obesity has been known for decades, but that only a few inhibitors of insulin release have been identified. These insulin inhibitors (diazoxide and octreotide) are drugs that can produce side effects. They are not to be taken on a daily basis. The scientists wrote:

“Clinical studies have furthermore indicated that inhibitors of insulin release will be of benefit in treatment or prevention of diabetes and obesity.”57

This paper indicates that pharmaceutical companies will be pursuing drugs to suppress overproduction of insulin. The good news is that a low-cost dietary supplement is already available that has demonstrated potent postprandial insulin-reducing effects.

The new PGX™ high-viscosity fiber blend may provide better results than ordinary fibers used in previous studies. Clinical studies have repeatedly shown that after-meal blood sugar levels decrease as soluble fiber viscosity increases.34,56 This relationship has also been shown with improved weight control and diminished appetite.40-43 We are anxiously awaiting the results of the ongoing weight-loss study of PGX™.

In the meantime, however, the dramatic effects shown by the PGX™ fiber blend in reducing insulin, glucose, LDL, and total cholesterol make it a common-sense supplement to take before meals. Any reduction of calorie absorption should benefit overall health. Taking steps to reduce excess insulin secretion may help protect against a wide range of degenerative processes.

Fiber: Limits to Weight Loss
With all the books that have been written about the obesity-inducing effects of excess insulin, one would think that weight loss would automatically occur in response to a lowered intake of high-glycemic foods combined with a high intake of soluble fibers.

The problem is that age-associated weight gain is a multifactorial process that can be only partially addressed with existing approaches. The scientific protocol on obesity in Life Extension’s Disease Prevention and Treatment book describes why it is difficult for people to lose significant amounts of body fat. There is help on the way, but the total solution in a pill is not yet here.

In the meantime, Life Extension recommends that people seeking to lose weight consume the following supplements:

  • Chromium polynicotinate 600-1000 mcg daily
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) 3000-4000 mg daily
  • PGX™ highly viscous fiber blend 1000-3000 mg 5-10 minutes before each meal with 8-16 ounces of water.

Consider asking your doctor to prescribe 500 mg two to three times daily of the insulin-normalizing drug metformin.58-67 Men (without prostate cancer) should restore testosterone to youthful levels to help reduce dangerous abdominal obesity.68-108 Thyroid hormone deficiencies should be corrected.109,110 Make some effort to reduce consumption of high-glycemic foods, and to exercise, if possible.111-114


Metformin is used to treat diabetes, but published research shows that it also helps non-diabetics to lose weight.115 Metformin reduces sugar (glycogen) release from the liver to prevent blood glucose levels from rising too high, so that the body does not need to produce as much insulin.116-118 Metformin lowers insulin levels,119 prevents many of the side effects of diabetes, and can be used by people who want to lose weight.

A common cause of obesity in women is called polycystic ovary syndrome, which is caused by having high blood levels of insulin. Metformin helps women with polycystic ovary syndrome to lose weight.120-125 Metformin prevents blood sugar levels from rising too high, but eating foods that cause rapid elevations in glucose levels can negate its effects. Taking metformin after eating two bagels will not help you to lose weight. Consider taking 500 mg of metformin a few minutes before you eat. Do not take metformin if you have kidney disease, heart failure, or any medical condition that could make your blood acidic. Some drugs cannot be taken with metformin, so check with your doctor about all your medications. If you have nausea or diarrhea, take one-half of a pill (250 mg) with a meal once a day, and if you then have no symptoms, try to work up to one-half of a pill before each meal.

Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes was at one time universally fatal. In 1922, a young boy received the first form of supplemental insulin and experienced a reduction of blood sugar. Insulin was soon viewed as a wonder drug because it saved the lives of those who were previously doomed to death shortly after diagnosis with insulin-dependent diabetes.

In today’s gluttonous world, overproduction of insulin has become a major health problem. Even in people who eat a healthy diet, the aging process often causes insulin resistance that results in higher-than-desired insulin levels. An overwhelming number of scientific studies shows that hyperinsulinemia is an underlying culprit for many of today’s killer diseases and infirmities.

While pharmaceutical companies are investigating insulin-suppressing drugs, the good news is that fiber supplements have been shown to enhance blood sugar control, decrease after-meal insulin levels, and reduce the number of calories absorbed by the body.

The best fiber sources for reducing after-meal blood sugar-insulin levels, lowering cholesterol levels, and promoting weight loss are those that are rich in water-soluble fibers such as glucomannan, psyllium, guar gum, and pectin.

When taken with water before meals, these fiber sources bind to the water in the stomach and small intestine to form a gelatinous, viscous mass that not only slows down the absorption of glucose, but also induces a sense of satiety (fullness) and reduces the absorption of calories.

With the introduction of a new highly viscous fiber blend trademarked under the name PGX™, it may now be possible to achieve the multiple documented benefits of fiber by swallowing only a few capsules before each meal. The longevity potential associated with reducing after-meal glucose and insulin blood levels, lowering total cholesterol and LDL, and losing some weight is enormous.