Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Jun 2009


A history of obesity, or how what was good became ugly and then bad.

Chronic food shortage and malnutrition have been the scourge of humankind from the dawn of history. The current worldwide epidemic of obesity, now recognized as a public health crisis, is barely a few decades old. Only after the technological advances of the eighteenth century did a gradual increase in food supply became available. The initial effect of these advances in improved public health and amount, quality, and variety of food was increased longevity and body size. These early favorable outcomes of technological advances notwithstanding, their incremental effect since the Second World War has been an overabundance of easily accessible food, coupled with reduced physical activity, that accounts for the recent increased prevalence of obesity. Obesity as a chronic disease with well-defined pathologic consequences is less than a century old. The scarcity of food throughout most of history had led to connotations that being fat was good, and that corpulence and increased “flesh” were desirable as reflected in the arts, literature, and medical opinion of the times. Only in the latter half of the nineteenth century did being fat begin to be stigmatized for aesthetic reasons, and in the twentieth century, its association with increased mortality was recognized. Whereas early reports listed obesity as a risk factor for mortality from “chronic nephritis,” the subsequent recognition of the more common association of obesity with diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease altered the listings and questioned its being a risk factor for kidney disease. An enlarging body of evidence, accrued over the past decade, now indicates a direct association of obesity with chronic kidney disease and its outcomes.

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2006 Oct;13(4):421-7

Obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Obesity is a major contributor to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in the developed world, and yet has only recently been afforded the same level of attention as other risk factors of coronary artery disease. Obesity is a chronic metabolic disorder associated with cardiovascular disease and increased morbidity and mortality. It is apparent that a variety of adaptations/alterations in cardiac structure and function occur as excessive adipose tissue accumulates, even in the absence of comorbidities. Shifts toward a less physically demanding lifestyle are observed today throughout different populations, and this scourge associated with obesity implicates a corresponding increase in the number of individuals afflicted with the metabolic syndrome, which defines the obese patient as being “at risk.” Adipose tissue is not simply a passive storehouse for fat, but an endocrine organ that is capable of synthesizing and releasing into the bloodstream a variety of molecules that may impact unfavorably the risk factor profile of a patient. Indeed, obesity may affect atherosclerosis through unrecognized variables and risk factors for coronary artery disease such as dyslipidemia, hypertension, glucose intolerance, inflammatory markers, and the prothrombotic state. By favorably modifying lipids, decreasing blood pressure, and decreasing levels of glycemia, proinflammatory cytokines, and adhesion molecules, weight loss may prevent the progression of atherosclerosis or the occurrence of acute coronary syndrome events in the obese high-risk population.

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2002 Nov;4(6):448-53

Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using a proprietary fractionated white bean extract.

BACKGROUND: A proprietary fractionated white bean extract of Phaseolus vulgaris has been shown in vitro to inhibit the digestive enzyme alpha-amylase. This may prevent or delay the digestion of complex carbohydrates, potentially resulting in weight loss. METHODS: A 4-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 25 healthy subjects consuming 1000 mg of a proprietary fractioned white bean extract or an identical placebo twice a day before meals in conjunction with a multi-component weight-loss program, including diet, exercise, and behavioral intervention, was conducted. RESULTS: Both groups reduced their weight and waist size significantly from baseline. The active group lost 6.0 lbs (P=.0002) and 2.2 in (P=.0050), and the placebo group lost 4.7 lbs (P=.0016) and 2.1 in (P=.0001). The differences between groups were not significant (weight P=.4235, waist size P=.8654). Through subsequent exploratory analysis to investigate group findings further, subjects were stratified by total dietary carbohydrate intake. This probative analysis revealed that the tertile of subjects who had consumed the most carbohydrates demonstrated significant reductions in both weight (8.7 lbs vs 1.7 lbs, P=.0412) and waist size (3.3 in vs 1.3 in P=.0100) compared with placebo subjects in the same tertile of carbohydrate intake. CONCLUSION: Subjects who adhere to a program including dietary modification, exercise, and behavioral intervention can significantly reduce their weight and waist size in a short period of time. In an exploratory analysis of data, the tertile of subjects who ate the most carbohydrates experienced a significant reduction in both weight and waist size with the addition of the white bean extract compared to the placebo group of the same tertile of carbohydrate consumption. Longer studies with a larger pool of subjects are required to validate these findings.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Jul-Aug;13(4):32-7

Erythrocyte membrane ATPases in diabetes: effect of dikanut (Irvingia gabonensis).

The levels of the three ATPases found in the erythrocyte membrane of diabetic patients were significantly lower than normal subjects. The distribution of the enzymes was also different. Na+,K+-ATPase and Mg2+-ATPase reflected the status of blood glucose more than Ca2+-ATPase. The ratio between two of the ATPases was sensitive to glycemic response. When dikanut, a viscous preparation, was fed to diabetics for 4 weeks, blood glucose became normal and the activities of the three ATPases increased significantly. The ratio among the enzymes also approached that of normal subjects. A relationship was found between the blood glucose level and erythrocyte membrane ATPases which, if linked to insulin binding or level, may provide a rapid inexpensive assay in diabetes research.

Enzyme. 1986;36(3):212-5

A supplement of Dikanut (Irvingia gabonesis) improves treatment of type II diabetics.

The effects of Dikanut (Irvingia gabonensis), an African viscous preparation, as supplement (4g/day) in the diet of eleven Type II diabetics were studied. Levels of plasma lipids, glucose and erythrocyte ATPases were monitored for one month. The dikanut supplement elicited hypolipidemic activity. The reduction in plasma lipids was primarily due to a decrease in LDL + VLDL-cholesterol and triglycerides levels. HDL-cholesterol was increased. The three ATPases of the erythrocyte membrane of the diabetic patients were significantly lower than in normal subjects. When dikanut was consumed by the diabetics for four weeks, the activities of the enzymes increased significantly. The increases correlated well with significant reduction of plasma glucose levels. These desirable biochemical effects mediated by ingestion of a naturally-occurring dietary fibre were accompanied by improved clinical states.

West Afr J Med. 1990 Apr-Jun;9(2):108-15

Digestive and hepatic enzymes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats fed supplements of dikanut (Irvingia gabonensis) and cellulose.

In a feeding trial involving dikanut (an African viscous fibre) and cellulose (a particulate fibre), diabetic rats were maintained for 4 weeks on each of the test fibres. The levels of digestive and membrane-bound enzymes of the intestine, and hepatic glycolytic enzymes were determined. The effect of the supplements on intestinal morphology was also assessed. The two types of dietary fibre caused a general reduction in the levels of all the intestinal enzymes assayed with the effect of dikanut supplementation resulting in more drastic reductions. Evidence was obtained for a marked alteration in the intestinal morphology. It was concluded that the reduced absorption of glucose resulted in its lowered level in the blood and urine. The disruption of the mucosal membrane may also curtail the absorption of glucose. On the other hand, the activities of hepatic glycolytic enzymes became elevated to efficiently utilize the low substrates reaching the liver. The dietary fibres caused a shift away from the depletion of glycogen by the diabetic rat to synthesis of the storage polysaccharide. The long-term effects of the several adaptive responses resulting in lowered blood glucose from feeding these dietary fibre supplements to the diabetic rat requires further research.

Ann Nutr Metab. 1993;37(1):14-23

Original study of the biochemical and oil composition of the Cambodia nut Irvingia malayana.

Analysis of the biochemical composition of Irvingia malayana was carried out. This Cambodian nut contains 7.5% water and 70% oil. Most of the fatty acids are saturated and include 42% C12:0 and 41.8% C14:0; the sterol composition is similar to that of other vegetable oils. This oil is less rich in alpha-tocopherol than in gamma-tocopherol. Analysis of the solid content of the oil with respect to the temperature by NMR shows a fast fall of solid content around its fusion range at 38-39 degrees C. The main differences in the properties of the indigenous Cambodia nut from other known oleaginous seeds are in its selenium content, fatty acid composition, fusion temperature profile, and content of antioxidants. These important characteristics can soon make possible its application in pharmacology, cosmetics, the margarine industry, etc.

J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Mar 13;50(6):1478-82

The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon.

Dietary fibres are frequently used for the treatment of obesity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Irvingia gabonensis seeds in the management of obesity. This was carried out as a double blind randomised study involving 40 subjects (mean age 42.4 years). Twenty-eight subjects received Irvingia gabonensis (IG) (1.05 g three time a day for one month) while 12 were on placebo (P) and the same schedule. During the one-month study period all subjects were on a normocaloric diet evaluated every week by a dietetic record book. At the end, the mean body weight of the IG group was decreased by 5.26 +/- 2.37% (p < 0.0001) and that of the placebo group by 1.32 +/- 0.41% (p < 0.02). The difference observed between the IG and the placebo groups was significant (p < 0.01). The obese patients under Irvingia gabonensis treatment also had a significant decrease of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase of HDL-cholesterol. On the other hand, the placebo group did not manifest any changes in blood lipid components. Irvingia gabonensis seed may find application in weight lose.

Lipids Health Dis. 2005 May 25;4:12

The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.

AIM: To evaluate the effects of two formulations, Cissus quadrangularis-only and a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination, on weight loss in overweight and obese human subjects. METHODS: The study was a 10 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design involving 72 obese or overweight participants (45.8% male; 54.2% female; ages 21-44; mean age = 29.3). The participants were randomly divided into three equal (n = 24) groups: placebo, Cissus quadrangularis-only, and Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination. Capsules containing the placebo or active formulations were administered twice daily before meals; no major dietary changes nor exercises were suggested during the study. A total of six anthropomorphic and serological measurements (body weight, body fat, waist size; total plasma cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, fasting blood glucose level) were taken at baseline and at 4, 8, and 10 weeks. RESULTS: Compared to the placebo group, the two active groups showed a statistically significant difference on all six variables by week 10. The magnitude of the differences was noticeable by week 4 and continued to increase over the trial period. CONCLUSION: Although the Cissus quadrangularis-only group showed significant reductions on all variables compared to the placebo group, the Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination resulted in even larger reductions. This apparently synergistic formulation should prove helpful in the management of obesity and its related complications.

Lipids Health Dis. 2008 Mar 31;7:12

Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea.

The global prevalence of obesity has increased considerably in the last decade. Tools for obesity management, including caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea have been proposed as strategies for weight loss and weight maintenance, since they may increase energy expenditure and have been proposed to counteract the decrease in metabolic rate that is present during weight loss. A combination of caffeine and ephedrine has shown to be effective in long-term weight management, likely due to different mechanisms that may operate synergistically, e.g., respectively inhibiting the phosphodiesterase-induced degradation of cAMP and enhancing the sympathetic release of catecholamines. However, adverse effects of ephedrine prevent the feasibility of this approach. Capsaicin has been shown to be effective, yet when it is used clinically it requires a strong compliance to a certain dosage, that has not been shown to be feasible yet. Also positive effects on body-weight management have been shown using green tea mixtures. Green tea, by containing both tea catechins and caffeine, may act through inhibition of catechol O-methyl-transferase, and inhibition of phosphodiesterase. Here, the mechanisms may also operate synergistically. In addition, tea catechins have antiangiogenic properties that may prevent development of overweight and obesity. Furthermore, the sympathetic nervous system is involved in the regulation of lipolysis, and the sympathetic innervation of white adipose tissue may play an important role in the regulation of total body fat in general.

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):R77-85

Green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced abdominal fat loss in overweight and obese adults.

This study evaluated the influence of a green tea catechin beverage on body composition and fat distribution in overweight and obese adults during exercise-induced weight loss. Participants (n = 132 with 107 completers) were randomly assigned to receive a beverage containing approximately 625 mg of catechins with 39 mg caffeine or a control beverage (39 mg caffeine, no catechins) for 12 wk. Participants were asked to maintain constant energy intake and engage in >or=180 min/wk moderate intensity exercise, including >or=3 supervised sessions per week. Body composition (dual X-ray absorptiometry), abdominal fat areas (computed tomography), and clinical laboratory tests were measured at baseline and wk 12. There was a trend (P = 0.079) toward greater loss of body weight in the catechin group compared with the control group; least squares mean (95% CI) changes, adjusted for baseline value, age, and sex, were -2.2 (-3.1, -1.3) and -1.0 (-1.9, -0.1) kg, respectively. Percentage changes in fat mass did not differ between the catechin [5.2 (-7.0, -3.4)] and control groups [-3.5 (-5.4, 1.6)] (P = 0.208). However, percentage changes in total abdominal fat area [-7.7 (-11.7, -3.8) vs. -0.3 (-4.4, 3.9); P = 0.013], subcutaneous abdominal fat area [-6.2 (-10.2, -2.2) vs. 0.8 (-3.3, 4.9); P = 0.019], and fasting serum triglycerides (TG) [-11.2 (-18.8, -3.6) vs. 1.9 (-5.9, 9.7); P = 0.023] were greater in the catechin group. These findings suggest that green tea catechin consumption enhances exercise-induced changes in abdominal fat and serum TG.

J Nutr. 2009 Feb;139(2):264-70

Evaluation of glucose tolerance, post-prandial hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia influencing the incidence of coronary heart disease.

BACKGROUND: Recently, the frequency of patients who have glucose intolerance has been increasing in Japan. Glucose intolerance and insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia are thought to influence the progression of atherosclerosis. The present study examined glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, post-prandial hyperglycemia/hyperinsulinemia and coronary risk factors by using 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Coronary risk factors were examined and OGTT with measurement of plasma glucose and serum insulin was done to evaluate the glucose metabolism and insulin resistance in 263 patients who underwent coronary angiography; 202 subjects were diagnosed as having coronary heart disease (CHD) and 61 subjects were normal. We compared the two groups. RESULTS: The rate of having diabetes was significantly high in the CHD group. From the result of OGTT, 22.3% of CHD patients had diabetes mellitus and 36.6% had impaired glucose tolerance, thus the total glucose intolerance rate was 57.7% in the CHD group. No significant difference was noted in the homeostatic model assessment-R (HOMA-R), but glucose and insulin at 2 hours after OGTT were all significantly high in the CHD group. CONCLUSION: The rate of glucose intolerance and the levels of post-prandial glucose and insulin were high in the CHD group. We concluded that the post-prandial hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia influenced the incidence of CHD.

Intern Med. 2007;46(9):543-6

Elevated intakes of supplemental chromium improve glucose and insulin variables in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Chromium is an essential nutrient involved in normal carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. The chromium requirement is postulated to increase with increased glucose intolerance and diabetes. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that the elevated intake of supplemental chromium is involved in the control of type 2 diabetes. Individuals being treated for type 2 diabetes (180 men and women) were divided randomly into three groups and supplemented with: 1) placebo, 2) 1.92 micromol (100 microg) Cr as chromium picolinate two times per day, or 3) 9.6 micromol (500 microg) Cr two times per day. Subjects continued to take their normal medications and were instructed not to change their normal eating and living habits. HbA1c values improved significantly after 2 months in the group receiving 19.2 pmol (1,000 microg) Cr per day and was lower in both chromium groups after 4 months (placebo, 8.5 +/- 0.2%; 3.85 micromol Cr, 7.5 +/- 0.2%; 19.2 micromol Cr, 6.6 +/- 0.1%). Fasting glucose was lower in the 19.2-micromol group after 2 and 4 months (4-month values: placebo, 8.8 +/- 0.3 mmol/l; 19.2 micromol Cr, 7.1 +/- 0.2 mmol/l). Two-hour glucose values were also significantly lower for the subjects consuming 19.2 micromol supplemental Cr after both 2 and 4 months (4-month values: placebo, 12.3 +/- 0.4 mmo/l; 19.2 micromol Cr, 10.5 +/- 0.2 mmol/l). Fasting and 2-h insulin values decreased significantly in both groups receiving supplemental chromium after 2 and 4 months. Plasma total cholesterol also decreased after 4 months in the subjects receiving 19.2 micromol/day Cr. These data demonstrate that supplemental chromium had significant beneficial effects on HbA1c, glucose, insulin, and cholesterol variables in subjects with type 2 diabetes. The beneficial effects of chromium in individuals with diabetes were observed at levels higher than the upper limit of the Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake.

Diabetes. 1997 Nov;46(11):1786-91

Cocoa reduces blood pressure and insulin resistance and improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypertensives.

Consumption of flavanol-rich dark chocolate (DC) has been shown to decrease blood pressure (BP) and insulin resistance in healthy subjects, suggesting similar benefits in patients with essential hypertension (EH). Therefore, we tested the effect of DC on 24-hour ambulatory BP, flow-mediated dilation (FMD), and oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) in patients with EH. After a 7-day chocolate-free run-in phase, 20 never-treated, grade I patients with EH (10 males; 43.7+/-7.8 years) were randomized to receive either 100 g per day DC (containing 88 mg flavanols) or 90 g per day flavanol-free white chocolate (WC) in an isocaloric manner for 15 days. After a second 7-day chocolate-free period, patients were crossed over to the other treatment. Noninvasive 24-hour ambulatory BP, FMD, OGTT, serum cholesterol, and markers of vascular inflammation were evaluated at the end of each treatment. The homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), and insulin sensitivity index (ISI) were calculated from OGTT values. Ambulatory BP decreased after DC (24-hour systolic BP -11.9+/-7.7 mm Hg, P<0.0001; 24-hour diastolic BP -8.5+/-5.0 mm Hg, P<0.0001) but not WC. DC but not WC decreased HOMA-IR (P<0.0001), but it improved QUICKI, ISI, and FMD. DC also decreased serum LDL cholesterol (from 3.4+/-0.5 to 3.0+/-0.6 mmol/L; P<0.05). In summary, DC decreased BP and serum LDL cholesterol, improved FMD, and ameliorated insulin sensitivity in hypertensives. These results suggest that, while balancing total calorie intake, flavanols from cocoa products may provide some cardiovascular benefit if included as part of a healthy diet for patients with EH.

Hypertension. 2005 Aug;46(2):398-405

Omega-3 fatty acids improve glucose tolerance and components of the metabolic syndrome in Alaskan Eskimos: the Alaska Siberia project.

OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that the unusually low prevalences of insulin resistance (IR), metabolic syndrome (MS) and diabetes (DM) in Alaskan Eskimos, compared to American Indians, is related to the traditional Eskimo diet, high in C20-C22 omega-3 fatty acids (FAs). To determine if the relatively low blood pressures, low serum triglycerides and high HDL cholesterol levels in Eskimos result from high omega-3 FA consumption. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. METHODS: We measured plasma FA concentrations in 447 Norton Sound Eskimos (35-74 years of age) and screened for DM, CHD and associated risk factors. A dietary assessment (24-hr recall) was obtained for comparison the day before the blood sampling. RESULTS: Plasma omega-3 FA concentrations were highly correlated with dietary omega-3 FAs and HDL levels and inversely correlated with plasma levels of insulin, 2-h insulin (OGTT), HOMI-IR, 2-h glucose (OGTT), triglyceride levels and diastolic blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: High consumption of omega-3 FAs positively affects components of the MS, insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. This finding suggests that high consumption of C20-C22 omega-3 FAs protects against the development of the MS and glucose intolerance.

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2005 Sep;64(4):396-408

The effect of short-term glycemic regulation with gliclazide and metformin on postprandial lipemia.

AIM: Exaggerated postprandial lipemia is now accepted as an independent risk factor in atherogenesis in type 2 diabetes mellitus. We investigated if better glycemic control improves fasting and postprandial lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients in the short-term. METHODS: Thirty-two type 2 diabetic patients were studied before and after desired glycemic regulation with gliclazide and metformin. Basal levels of glucose, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, triglyceride, insulin, and C-peptide were evaluated at fasting state. Afterwards, patients were given a standard 400-kcal mixed meal as a breakfast, containing 35% fat. At the 2nd and the 4th hours after the breakfast, postprandial glucose, triglyceride, insulin, and C-peptide levels were determined again. RESULTS: Significant decrease was observed in total cholesterol levels after better glycemic regulation (p<0.05). Besides, triglyceride levels decreased significantly from 175.36+/-17.85 mg/dl to 138.73+/-14.93 mg/dl at fasting state (p<0.05), from 197.26+/-20.85 mg/dl to 154.15+/-14.61 mg/dl at the 2nd hour after mixed meal (p<0.05), and from 209.63+/-28.54 mg/dl to 155.63+/-15.68 mg/dl (p<0.05) at the 4th hour after the mixed meal, when better glycemic profile was provided. Area under curve for triglyceride levels decreased significantly with the better glycemic regulation (p<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Improved glycemic regulation can lower the raised fasting and postprandial triglyceride levels which are important atherosclerotic risk factors in diabetic patients even in short-term. Since this improvement in triglyceride levels comes early, diabetic patients can be evaluated for fasting and postprandial triglyceride levels in the first month of therapy.

Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2005 Feb;113(2):80-4

Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, fat cell size, and ectopic lipid in overweight subjects.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article was to determine the relationships among total body fat, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), fat cell size (FCS), ectopic fat deposition in liver (intrahepatic lipid [IHL]) and muscle (intramyocellular lipid [IMCL]), and insulin sensitivity index (S(i)) in healthy overweight, glucose-tolerant subjects and the effects of calorie restriction by diet alone or in conjunction with exercise on these variables. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Forty-eight overweight volunteers were randomly assigned to four groups: control (100% of energy requirements), 25% calorie restriction (CR), 12.5% calorie restriction +12.5% energy expenditure through structured exercise (CREX), or 15% weight loss by a low-calorie diet followed by weight maintenance for 6 months (LCD). Weight, percent body fat, VAT, IMCL, IHL, FCS, and S(i) were assessed at baseline and month 6. RESULTS: At baseline, FCS was related to VAT and IHL (P < 0.05) but not to IMCL. FCS was also the strongest determinant of S(i) (P < 0.01). Weight loss at month 6 was 1 +/- 1% (control, mean +/- SE), 10 +/- 1% (CR), 10 +/- 1% (CREX), and 14 +/- 1% (LCD). VAT, FCS, percent body fat, and IHL were reduced in the three intervention groups (P < 0.01), but IMCL was unchanged. S(i) was increased at month 6 (P = 0.05) in the CREX (37 +/- 18%) and LCD (70 +/- 34%) groups (P < 0.05) and tended to increase in the CR group (40 +/- 20%, P = 0.08). Together the improvements in S(i) were related to loss in weight, fat mass, and VAT, but not IHL, IMCL, or FCS. CONCLUSIONS: Large adipocytes lead to lipid deposition in visceral and hepatic tissues, promoting insulin resistance. Calorie restriction by diet alone or with exercise reverses this trend.

Diabetes Care. 2006 Jun;29(6):1337-44

Changes in insulin resistance following bariatric surgery: role of caloric restriction and weight loss.

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity in the western world is steadily increasing. Bariatric surgery is an effective treatment of T2DM in obese patients. The mechanism by which weight loss surgery improves glucose metabolism and insulin resistance remains controversial. In this review, we propose that two mechanisms participate in the improvement of glucose metabolism and insulin resistance observed following weight loss and bariatric surgery: caloric restriction and weight loss. Nutrients modulate insulin secretion through the entero-insular axis. Fat mass participates in glucose metabolism through the release of adipocytokines. T2DM improves after restrictive and bypass procedures, and combinations of restrictive and bypass procedures in morbidly obese patients. Restrictive procedures decrease caloric and nutrient intake, decreasing the stimulation of the entero-insular axis. Gastric bypass (GBP) operations may also affect the entero-insular axis by diverting nutrients away from the proximal GI tract and delivering incompletely digested nutrients to the distal GI tract. GBP and biliopancreatic diversion combine both restrictive and bypass mechanisms. All procedures lead to weight loss and decrease in the fat mass. Decrease in fat mass significantly affects circulating levels of adipocytokines, which favorably impact insulin resistance. The data reviewed here suggest that all forms of weight loss surgery lead to caloric restriction, weight loss, decrease in fat mass and improvement in T2DM. This suggests that improvements in glucose metabolism and insulin resistance following bariatric surgery result in the short-term from decreased stimulation of the entero-insular axis by decreased caloric intake and in the long-term by decreased fat mass and resulting changes in release of adipocytokines. Observed changes in glucose metabolism and insulin resistance following bariatric surgery do not require the posit of novel regulatory mechanisms.

Obes Surg. 2005 Apr;15(4):462-73

Effect of DHEA on abdominal fat and insulin action in elderly women and men: a randomized controlled trial.

CONTEXT: Dehydroepian-drosterone (DHEA) administration has been shown to reduce accumulation of abdominal visceral fat and protect against insulin resistance in laboratory animals, but it is not known whether DHEA decreases abdominal obesity in humans. DHEA is widely available as a dietary supplement without a prescription. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether DHEA replacement therapy decreases abdominal fat and improves insulin action in elderly persons. DESIGN AND SETTING: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in a US university-based research center from June 2001 to February 2004. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-six elderly persons (28 women and 28 men aged 71 [range, 65-78] years) with age-related decrease in DHEA level. INTERVENTION: Participants were randomly assigned to receive 50 mg/d of DHEA or matching placebo for 6 months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measures were 6-month change in visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat measured by magnetic resonance imaging and glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). RESULTS: Of the 56 men and women enrolled, 52 underwent follow-up evaluations. Compliance with the intervention was 97% in the DHEA group and 95% in the placebo group. Based on intention-to-treat analyses, DHEA therapy compared with placebo induced significant decreases in visceral fat area (-13 cm2 vs +3 cm2, respectively; P = .001) and subcutaneous fat (-13 cm2 vs +2 cm2, P = .003). The insulin area under the curve (AUC) during the OGTT was significantly reduced after 6 months of DHEA therapy compared with placebo (-1119 muU/mL per 2 hours vs +818 muU/mL per 2 hours, P = .007). Despite the lower insulin levels, the glucose AUC was unchanged, resulting in a significant increase in an insulin sensitivity index in response to DHEA compared with placebo (+1.4 vs -0.7, P = .005). CONCLUSION: DHEA replacement could play a role in prevention and treatment of the metabolic syndrome associated with abdominal obesity.

JAMA. 2004 Nov 10;292(18):2243-8

Reduction of inflammatory cytokine concentrations and improvement of endothelial functions in obese women after weight loss over one year.

BACKGROUND: Visceral fat is a key regulator site for the process of inflammation, and atherosclerotic lesions are essentially an inflammatory response. METHODS AND RESULTS: Fifty-six healthy premenopausal obese women (age range 25 to 44 years, body mass index 37.2+/-2.2, waist to hip ratio range 0.78 to 0.92) and 40 age-matched normal weight women were studied. Compared with nonobese women, obese women had increased basal concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha, P<0.01), interleukin-6 (IL-6, P<0.01), P-selectin (P<0.01), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1, P<0.02), and vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1, P<0.05). Vascular responses to L-arginine (3 g IV), the natural precursor of nitric oxide, were impaired in obese women: reductions in mean blood pressure (P<0.02), platelet aggregation to adenosine diphosphate (P<0.05), and blood viscosity (P<0.05) were significantly lower as compared with those in the nonobese group. Concentrations of TNF-alpha and IL-6 were related (P<0.01) to visceral obesity, as well as to adhesin levels and responses to L-arginine. After 1 year of a multidisciplinary program of weight reduction (diet, exercise, behavioral counseling), all obese women lost at least 10% of their original weight (9.8+/-1.5 kg, range 7.5 to 13 kg). Compared with baseline, sustained weight loss was associated with reduction of cytokine (P<0.01) and adhesin (P<0.02) concentrations and with improvement of vascular responses to L-arginine. CONCLUSION: In obese women, endothelial activation correlates with visceral body fat, possibly through inappropriate secretion of cytokines. Weight loss represents a safe method for downregulating the inflammatory state and ameliorating endothelial dysfunction in obese women.

Circulation. 2002 Feb 19;105(7):804-9

Supplementation of a high-carbohydrate breakfast with barley beta-glucan improves postprandial glycaemic response for meals but not beverages.

There is growing support for the protective role of soluble fibre in type II diabetes. Soluble fibre beta-glucan found in cereal products including oats and barley may be the active component. There is evidence of postprandial blunting of blood glucose and insulin responses to dietary carbohydrates when oat soluble fibre is supplemented into the diet but few trials have been carried out using natural barley or enriched barley beta-glucan products. The aim of this trial was to investigate the postprandial effect of a highly enriched barley beta -glucan product on blood glucose, insulin and lipids when given with a high-CHO food and a high-CHO drink. 18 lean, healthy men completed a 4 treatment intervention trial

comprising (i) high-CHO(food control), (ii) high-CHO(food+fibre), (iii) high-CHO(drink control), (iv) high-CHO(drink+fibre) where a 10g dose of barley beta-glucan fibre supplement (Cerogen) containing 6.31g beta-glucan was added to food and drink controls. There was an increase of glucose and insulin following all 4 treatments. Addition of the beta -glucan supplement significantly blunted the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses on the food (p<0.05) but not drink (p>0.05) treatments when compared to controls. The high-CHO breakfasts decreased total, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol from baseline to 60 mins postprandially but there were no differential effects of beta-glucan treatment on circulating lipids. We conclude that a high dose barley beta-glucan supplement can improve glucose control when added to a high-CHO starchy food, probably due to increased gastro-intestinal viscosity, but not when added to a high-CHO beverage where rapid absorption combined with decreased beta-glucan concentration and viscosity may obviate this mechanism.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16(1):16-24

Dietary fiber, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in young adults.

CONTEXT: Dietary composition may affect insulin secretion, and high insulin levels, in turn, may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). OBJECTIVE: To examine the role of fiber consumption and its association with insulin levels, weight gain, and other CVD risk factors compared with other major dietary components. DESIGN AND SETTING: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study, a multicenter population-based cohort study of the change in CVD risk factors over 10 years (1985-1986 to 1995-1996) in Birmingham, Ala; Chicago, III; Minneapolis, Minn; and Oakland, Calif. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2,909 healthy black and white adults, 18 to 30 years of age at enrollment. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Body weight, insulin levels, and other CVD risk factors at year 10, adjusted for baseline values. RESULTS: After adjustment for potential confounding factors, dietary fiber showed linear associations from lowest to highest quintiles of intake with the following: body weight (whites: 174.8-166.7 lb [78.3-75.0 kg], P<.001; blacks: 185.6-177.6 lb [83.5-79.9 kg], P = .001), waist-to-hip ratio (whites: 0.813-0.801, P = .004; blacks: 0.809-0.799, P = .05), fasting insulin adjusted for body mass index (whites: 77.8-72.2 pmol/L [11.2-10.4 microU/mL], P = .007; blacks: 92.4-82.6 pmol/L [13.3-11.9 microU/mL], P = .01) and 2-hour postglucose insulin adjusted for body mass index (whites: 261.1-234.7 pmol/L [37.6-33.8 microU/mL], P = .03; blacks: 370.2-259.7 pmol/L [53.3-37.4 microU/mL], P<.001). Fiber was also associated with blood pressure and levels of triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and fibrinogen; these associations were substantially attenuated by adjustment for fasting insulin level. In comparison with fiber, intake of fat, carbohydrate, and protein had inconsistent or weak associations with all CVD risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: Fiber consumption predicted insulin levels, weight gain, and other CVD risk factors more strongly than did total or saturated fat consumption. High-fiber diets may protect against obesity and CVD by lowering insulin levels.

JAMA. 1999 Oct 27;282(16):1539-46

Low body mass index in non-meat eaters: the possible roles of animal fat, dietary fibre and alcohol.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations of diet and other lifestyle factors with body mass index (BMI) using data from the Oxford Vegetarian Study. SUBJECTS: 1914 male and 3,378 female non-smokers aged 20-89 y at recruitment to the study. MEASUREMENTS: All subjects completed a diet/lifestyle questionnaire at recruitment giving details of their usual diet and other characteristics including height and weight, smoking and drinking habits, amount of exercise, occupation and reproductive history. Answers to the food frequency questionnaire were used to classify subjects as either meat eaters or non-meat eaters, and to estimate intakes of animal fat and dietary fibre. Subjects were further classified according to their alcohol consumption, exercise level, social class, past smoking habits and parity. RESULTS: Mean BMI was lower in non-meat eaters than in meat eaters in all age groups for both men and women. Overall age-adjusted mean BMIs in kg/m2 were 23.18 and 22.05 for male meat eaters and non-meat eaters respectively (P < 0.0001) and 22.32 and 21.32 for female meat eaters and non-meat eaters respectively (P < 0.0001). In addition to meat consumption, dietary fibre intake, animal fat intake, social class and past smoking were all independently associated with BMI in both men and women; alcohol consumption was independently associated with BMI in men, and parity was independently associated with BMI in women. After adjusting for these factors, the differences in mean BMI between meat eaters and non-meat eaters were reduced by 36% in men and 31% in women. CONCLUSIONS: Non-meat eaters are thinner than meat eaters. This may be partly due to a higher intake of dietary fibre, a lower intake of animal fat, and only in men a lower intake of alcohol.

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 May;22(5):454-60

Biological activities caused by far-infrared radiation.

Contrary to previous presumption, accumulated evidence indicates that far-infrared rays are biologically active. A small ceramic disk that emits far-infrared rays (4-16 microns) has commonly been applied to a local spot or a whole part of the body for exposure. Pioneering attempts to experimentally analyze an effect of acute and chronic radiation of far-infrared rays on living organisms have detected a growth-promoting effect in growing rats, a sleep-modulatory effect in freely behaving rats and an insomiac patient, and a blood circulation-enhancing effect in human skin. Questionnaires to 542 users of far-infrared radiator disks embedded in bedclothes revealed that the majority of the users subjectively evaluated an improvement of their health. These effects on living organisms appear to be non-specifically triggered by an exposure to far-infrared rays, which eventually induce an increase in temperature of the body tissues or, more basically, an elevated motility of body fluids due to decrease in size of water clusters.

Int J Biometeorol. 1989 Oct;33(3):145-50

The effects of repeated thermal therapy for patients with chronic pain.

BACKGROUND: It has been reported that local thermal therapy with a hot pack or paraffin relieves pain. We hypothesized that systemic warming may decrease pain and improve the outcomes in patients with chronic pain. The purpose of this study was to clarify the effects of systemic thermal therapy in patients with chronic pain. METHODS: Group A (n = 24) patients with chronic pain were treated by a multidisciplinary treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy, rehabilitation, and exercise therapy, whereas group B (n = 22) patients were treated by a combination of multidisciplinary treatment and repeated thermal therapy. A far-infrared ray dry sauna therapy and post-sauna warming were performed once a day for 4 weeks during hospitalization. We investigated the improvements in subjective symptoms, the number of pain behavior after treatment and outcomes 2 years after discharge. RESULTS: The visual analog pain score, number of pain behavior, self-rating depression scale, and anger score significantly decreased after treatment in both groups. After treatment, the number of pain behavior was slightly smaller (p = 0.07) and anger score was significantly lower in group B than those in group A (p = 0.05). Two years after treatment, 17 patients (77%) in group B returned to work compared with 12 patients (50%) in group A (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that a combination of multidisciplinary treatment and repeated thermal therapy may be a promising method for treatment of chronic pain.

Psychother Psychosom. 2005;74(5):288-94

A new treatment: thermal therapy for chronic fatigue syndrome.

Thermal therapy using far-infrared ray dry sauna was performed for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Symptoms such as fatigue, pain, and low-grade fever were dramatically improved on two patients. And prednisolone administration was discontinued and became socially rehabilitated 6 months after discharge. On other 11 patients with CFS, physical symptoms such as fatigue and pain improved, too. Furthermore, we reported that repeated thermal therapy had relaxation effect and diminishes appetite loss and subjective complaints in mildly depressed patients. These results suggest that repeated thermal therapy may be a promising method for the treatment of CFS.

Nippon Rinsho. 2007 Jun;65(6):1093-8

Effects of infrared radiation on skin photo-aging and pigmentation.

Infrared radiation is increasingly and uncritically used for cosmetic and wellness purposes, despite the poorly understood biologic effects of such treatments on humans. In the present study, we investigated the effects of infrared radiation on collagen and elastin production in dermal fibroblasts, as well as the clinical and histopathologic effects of infrared radiation on photo-aged facial skin lesions. In order to determine the effects of infrared radiation on collagen and elastin production, dermal fibroblasts were exposed to infrared radiation for varying lengths of time and collagen and elastin contents were subsequently determined. Additionally, 20 patients with mild to moderate facial wrinkles and hyperpigmented lesions received daily treatments of far infrared radiation (900 to 1,000 microm) for six-months. During the treatment, patients and a medical observer conducted independent photographic and clinical evaluations every 4 weeks, and skin biopsies were obtained for histological analysis at baseline and one month post-treatment. We found that the content of collagen and elastin produced by the fibroblasts increased after infrared radiation, and that this increase was proportional to the duration of irradiation exposure. Following 6 months of treatment, all patients reported good (51-75%) improvements in skin texture and roughness. Additionally, patients noted fair (25-50%) improvement in color tone of the skin; however, improvements in hyperpigmented lesions were not observed. Objective medical evaluation of the patients indicated that roughness and laxity were fairly improved, but there was no significant improvement in hyperpigmented lesions. Histological examination failed to reveal any differences as well. These results suggest that infrared radiation may have beneficial effects on skin texture and wrinkles by increasing collagen and elastin contents from the stimulated fibroblasts. Therefore, skin treatment with infrared radiation may be an effective and safe non-ablative remodeling method, and may also be useful in the treatment of photo-aged skin.

Yonsei Med J. 2006 Aug 31;47(4):485-90

Effects of repeated sauna treatment on ventricular arrhythmias in patients with chronic heart failure.

BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study was to determine whether repeated 60 degrees C sauna treatment improves cardiac arrhythmias in chronic heart failure (CHF) patients, because ventricular arrhythmias are an important therapeutic target in CHF. METHODS AND RESULTS: Thirty patients (59+/-3 years) with New York Heart Association functional class II or III CHF and at least 200 premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)/24 h assessed by 24-h Holter recordings were studied. They were randomized into sauna-treated (n=20) or non-treated (n=10) groups. The sauna-treated group underwent a 2-week program of a daily 60 degrees C far infrared-ray dry sauna for 15 min, followed by 30 min bed rest with blankets, for 5 days per week. Patients in the non-treated group had bed rest in a temperature-controlled room (24 degrees C) for 45 min. The total numbers of PVCs/24 h in the sauna-treated group decreased compared with the non-treated group [848+/-415 vs 3,097+/-1,033/24 h, p<0.01]. Heart rate variability (SDNN, standard deviation of normal-to-normal beat interval) increased [142+/-10 (n=16) vs 112+/-11 ms (n=8), p<0.05] and plasma brain natriuretic peptide concentrations decreased [229+/-54 vs 419+/-110 pg/ml, p<0.05] in the sauna-treated group compared with the non-treated group. CONCLUSION: Repeated sauna treatment improves ventricular arrhythmias in patients with CHF.

Circ J. 2004 Dec;68(12):1146-51

Repeated sauna therapy reduces urinary 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2alpha).

We have reported that repeated sauna therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in a patient with coronary risk factors. We hypothesized that sauna therapy decreases urinary 8-epi-prostaglandin F(2alpha) (PGF(2alpha)) levels as a marker of oxidative stress and conducted a randomized, controlled study. Twenty-eight patients with at least one coronary risk factor were divided into a sauna group (n = 14) and non-sauna group (n = 14). Sauna therapy was performed with a 60 degrees C far infrared-ray dry sauna for 15 minutes and then bed rest with a blanket for 30 minutes once a day for two weeks. Systolic blood pressure and increased urinary 8-epi-PGF(2alpha) levels in the sauna group were significantly lower than those in the non-sauna group at two weeks after admission (110 +/- 15 mmHg vs 122 +/- 13 mmHg, P < 0.05, 230 +/- 67 pg/mg x creatinine vs 380 +/- 101 pg/mg x creatinine, P < 0.0001, respectively). These results suggest that repeated sauna therapy may protect against oxidative stress, which leads to the prevention of atherosclerosis.

Jpn Heart J. 2004 Mar;45(2):297-303

Repeated thermal therapy improves impaired vascular endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to determine whether sauna therapy, a thermal vasodilation therapy, improves endothelial function in patients with coronary risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and smoking. BACKGROUND: Exposure to heat is widely used as a traditional therapy in many different cultures. We have recently found that repeated sauna therapy improves endothelial and cardiac function in patients with chronic heart failure. METHODS: Twenty-five men with at least one coronary risk factor (risk group: 38 +/- 7 years) and 10 healthy men without coronary risk factors (control group: 35 +/- 8 years) were enrolled. Patients in the risk group were treated with a 60 degrees C far infrared-ray dry sauna bath for 15 min and then kept in a bed covered with blankets for 30 min once a day for two weeks. To assess endothelial function, brachial artery diameter was measured at rest, during reactive hyperemia (flow-mediated endothelium-dependent dilation [%FMD]), again at rest and after sublingual nitroglycerin administration (endothelium-independent vasodilation [%NTG]) using high-resolution ultrasound. RESULTS: The %FMD was significantly impaired in the risk group compared with the control group (4.0 +/- 1.7% vs. 8.2 +/- 2.7%, p < 0.0001), while %NTG was similar (18.7 +/- 4.2% vs. 20.4 +/- 5.1%). Two weeks of sauna therapy significantly improved %FMD in the risk group (4.0 +/- 1.7% to 5.8 +/- 1.3%, p < 0.001). In contrast, %NTG did not change after two weeks of sauna therapy (18.7 +/- 4.2% to 18.1 +/- 4.1%). CONCLUSIONS: Repeated sauna treatment improves impaired vascular endothelial function in the setting of coronary risk factors, suggesting a therapeutic role for sauna treatment in patients with risk factors for atherosclerosis.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Oct;38(4):1083-8

Efficacy of Waon therapy for fibromyalgia.

OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic syndrome characterized by widespread pain with tenderness in specific areas. We examined the applicability of Waon therapy (soothing warmth therapy) as a new method of pain treatment in patients with FMS. METHODS: Thirteen female FMS patients (mean age, 45.2+/-15.5 years old; range, 25-75) who fulfilled the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology participated in this study. Patients received Waon therapy once per day for 2 or 5 days/week. The patients were placed in the supine or sitting position in a far infrared-ray dry sauna maintained at an even temperature of 60 degrees C for 15 minutes, and then transferred to a room maintained at 26-27 degrees C where they were covered with a blanket from the neck down to keep them warm for 30 minutes. Reductions in subjective pain and symptoms were determined using the pain visual analog scale (VAS) and fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (FIQ). RESULTS: All patients experienced a significant reduction in pain by about half after the first session of Waon therapy (11-70%), and the effect of Waon therapy became stable (20-78%) after 10 treatments. Pain VAS and FIQ symptom scores were significantly (p<0.01) decreased after Waon therapy and remained low throughout the observation period. CONCLUSION: Waon therapy is effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome.

Intern Med. 2008;47(16):1473-6

Heme oxygenase-1 and carbon monoxide in pulmonary medicine.

Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an inducible stress protein, confers cytoprotection against oxidative stress in vitro and in vivo. In addition to its physiological role in heme degradation, HO-1 may influence a number of cellular processes, including growth, inflammation, and apoptosis. By virtue of anti-inflammatory effects, HO-1 limits tissue damage in response to proinflammatory stimuli and prevents allograft rejection after transplantation. The transcriptional upregulation of HO-1 responds to many agents, such as hypoxia, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, and reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. HO-1 and its constitutively expressed isozyme, heme oxygenase-2, catalyze the rate-limiting step in the conversion of heme to its metabolites, bilirubin IXalpha, ferrous iron, and carbon monoxide (CO). The mechanisms by which HO-1 provides protection most likely involve its enzymatic reaction products. Remarkably, administration of CO at low concentrations can substitute for HO-1 with respect to anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, suggesting a role for CO as a key mediator of HO-1 function. Chronic, low-level, exogenous exposure to CO from cigarette smoking contributes to the importance of CO in pulmonary medicine. The implications of the HO-1/CO system in pulmonary diseases will be discussed in this review, with an emphasis on inflammatory states.

Respir Res. 2003;4:7

Effects of linear polarized infrared light irradiation on the transcriptional regulation of IL-8 expression in IL-1beta-stimulated human rheumatoid synoviocytes involves phosphorylation of the NF-kappaB RelA subunit.

Although recent clinical studies have shown that laser therapy acts as an anti-inflammatory effector in the treatment of some diseases, little is known about the mechanism by which it acts in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The purpose of our work was to examine how irradiation with linear polarized infrared light (LPIL) suppresses inflammatory responses in the MH7A rheumatoid fibroblast-like synoviocyte cell line. We initially confirmed the effects of two disease-modifying anti-rheumatic treatments, LPIL irradiation and dexamethasone (Dex) administration, under experimental inflammatory conditions using gene chip technology. We found that LPIL exerted a smaller effect on gene transcription than Dex; however, IL-1beta-inducible target genes such as the CXCL type chemokines IL-8, IL-1beta and IL-6 were all clearly suppressed by LPIL to the same degree as by Dex.

We also found that IL-1beta-induced release of IL-8 from MH7A cells was completely blocked by pretreatment with the (IL-8) inhibitor Bay11-7085, indicating that activation of NF-kappaB signaling plays an important role in the secretion of IL-8. Although the levels of NFKB1 and RELA transcription were unaffected by IL-1beta stimulation, phosphorylation of RelA S276 was suppressed by both LPIL and Dex. Thus LPIL likely exerts its anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the release of the inflammatory chemokine IL-8. A fuller understanding of the anti-inflammatory mechanism of LPIL in rheumatoid synoviocytes could serve as the basis for improved treatment of RA patients in the future.

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2009 Mar 3;94(3):164-70

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