Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Feb 2015

The Deadly Consequences Of Excess Abdominal Fat

Mainstream physicians are finally recognizing that excess abdominal fat sharply increases the risk of age-related diseases. Clinical studies demonstrate that a novel peptide complex suppresses appetite, decreases food intake, and reduces abdominal fat deposition.

By Jennifer Wasko.

Few people realize that excess abdominal fat, especially excess fatty deposits around the internal organs in the abdominal cavity (called visceral body fat), is far more damaging to health and longevity than simply being “overweight.”

When excess abdominal fat accumulates, research indicates a strong correlation with cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and even some types of cancer.1-4 In addition, excessive abdominal fat is also associated with Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis.5-9

Despite these known risks, reduction of stubborn abdominal fat through diet and exercise alone is frequently challenging, especially as we age, leaving us vulnerable to age-related disease and premature death.10 New research has shown that a specialized peptide complex isolated through a natural fermentation process can reduce calorie intake and reduce the tendency for abdominal fat accumulation from excess calories.11 In one study, individuals lost, on average, nearly two full inches of waist circumference—about two belt sizes!11

Exciting human research suggests that a yeast-derived peptide complex leads to weight loss, less abdominal fat, and reduced BMI (body mass index).12,13

Consumption of this natural peptide complex decreases food intake11 and reduces new abdominal fat deposition.14 This is especially critical given the association of excess abdominal fat with deadly, age-related diseases.

The Dangers Of Excess Abdominal Fat

The Dangers Of Excess Abdominal Fat  

There are two kinds of fat that accumulate in your belly. One is stored right under the skin and is referred to as subcutaneous fat.15,16 The other fat that accumulates inside the abdominal region (stomach, liver, and other abdominal organs) is referred to as visceral fat.3,4,17

Mainstream physicians are only now coming to grips with the dangers of both subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat and the ominous implications for their patients’ health and longevity. Unlike normal subcutaneous fat stores found elsewhere in the body, both subcutaneous abdominal fat and visceral fat tissue are correlated to metabolic disease risk. Visceral abdominal fat is an especially abundant source of pro-inflammatory signaling molecules known as cytokines, which, over time, contribute to biochemical abnormalities that lead to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar, atherosclerosis, and cancer risk.3,4,18-25

Studies reveal that excess fat stored in the abdomen is associated with a:1,4,26

  • 44% increase in cardiovascular disease risk,
  • 43% increase in cancer risk,
  • 233% increase in risk of death from all causes,
  • 700% increase in cardiovascular death risk,
  • 116% increase (in women) in the risk of a recurrent cardiovascular event of any kind following a known heart attack.

The good news is that just as abdominal fat increases your risk for chronic diseases, strong evidence shows that weight loss—particularly in the abdominal region—can significantly reduce many of the metabolic risks that lead to early death, such as serum triglycerides, systolic blood pressure, and biomarkers of insulin resistance and inflammation.27-34

The problem is that substantial reductions in excess abdominal fat are difficult for most aging people, and exercise and dietary changes alone are often inadequate. Even those aging individuals who manage to find the discipline to work out regularly and restrict their diets are often unable to fully rid themselves of stubborn abdominal fat.

What You Need to Know
The Danger Of Excess Abdominal Fat

The Danger Of Excess Abdominal Fat

  • All fat deposits are not alike; fat in the abdominal area, especially visceral fat, is correlated with an increased risk of premature disease and death, producing inflammation from cytokines that sends the entire body into a state of accelerated aging.
  • Scientists are now focused on reducing long-term health risks (cardiovascular, metabolic, and malignancy) through reductions in abdominal fat.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides have been shown to reduce the accumulation of abdominal fat by novel mechanisms.
  • Humans supplementing with Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides have been able to reduce daily calorie intake by 25%, resulting in a placebo-subtracted difference for weight loss of approximately 6.9 pounds over 10 weeks.

Dual Action Of Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Peptide Hydrolysates

Peptides derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a natural component used in beer production and other food applications, contain small-to-moderate-sized protein fragments.35 Scientists have discovered that peptide hydrolysates derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae seem to act by a pair of complementary mechanisms to combat excess abdominal fat. Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides:

  1. Limit dietary intake. Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides are thought to beneficially modulate important appetite-regulating hormones in the brain via its effects on neuropeptide Y (NPY),11,36 as well as other signaling molecules involved in appetite production and control, such as nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP).37
  2. Reduce new fat production. Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides reduce the activity of enzymes critical to the manufacture of fat from excess energy in foods, particularly glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and malic enzyme (ME).14,38 Reduction of these enzymes’ activities inhibits production and storage of fat molecules before hard-to-lose, inflammation-driving fat deposits can grow.

In addition to effects on appetite-regulating hormones and lipogenic enzymes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides also support glutathione levels and reduce markers of lipid peroxidation.39 These effects are important contributors to long-term health maintenance at the systemic level.

Animal Studies

Animal studies are revealing strong evidence of the ability of Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides to reduce stores of abdominal fat, as well as the dangers associated with it.

In fact, four separate studies conducted at the Department of Food and Nutrition, Korea University, demonstrated that when mice and rats were supplemented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides and fed a normal diet, they gained significantly less body weight than control animals and experienced reductions in fat deposits.14,36,37,40

As two of the studies indicated, that weight loss could have been the result of Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides’ ability to modulate appetite-regulating hormones.36,37 Sophisticated brain imaging demonstrated that the supplemented rats experienced favorable modulation of signaling molecules involved in appetite regulation.37

Also, the supplemented animals experienced reductions in serum triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.14

Researchers at the same university conducted another study utilizing rats fed a high-fat diet.40 Half of the animals were supplemented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides while on a high-fat diet, while others animals received a high-fat diet alone. Once again, supplemented rats gained significantly less weight than the animals that received a high-fat diet alone, fat stores were significantly reduced, and triglyceride levels fell—and in this case, they experienced the added advantage of a beneficial rise in HDL-cholesterol as well.

Belly Fat: Distinctly Different
Belly Fat: Distinctly Different

All fat, it turns out, is not the same. Fat stored in the belly (this includes the abdominal cavity, liver, and abdominal muscles) is much deadlier than fat stored under the skin.15

Humans, like all animals, store excess food energy (calories) in the form of fat. That process itself is an absolute necessity for providing energy availability, storing excess dietary energy when there is an abundance of food, and breaking fat deposits down for cellular energy when food is scarce.

But in nature, animals rarely face the sheer abundance of calories available to modern Americans. Faced with such extreme excesses of energy, excess dietary food energy is frequently stored in the abdomen.

Such fat accumulations are sometimes referred to as visceral fat and are located in places such as the abdominal cavity (belly), liver, and even the muscles of the abdominal wall.4,17,18

People who gain excessive weight in their abdomen have a demonstrably higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes than people of similar weight who store their fat elsewhere.1-3

This means that even if two people have the same body mass index (BMI, which corrects for differences in height), they could have substantially different fat-related risks. This is because patterns of body fat storage offer more meaningful measurements of risk than simple body weight—in fact, excess body fat in the abdominal region substantially increases risk of age-related disease.4,42 A person with a larger waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, and measurements of abdominal fat area by CT scan is much more likely to succumb to disease and premature death, according to new findings.1,3,4,26

In one surprising study, subjects in a lower BMI group (<25) and the highest waist circumference were at 180% greater risk for cardiovascular death, heart attack, or recurrent ischemic heart disease compared to those with a lower BMI (<25) and a lower waist circumference.43 This research supports the observation that having a waist circumference out of proportion to BMI is an important cardiovascular risk factor.43

Human Studies

Human Studies  

Human studies are now catching up with—and in some cases surpassing—this early animal research. Two studies demonstrated that this peptide complex could lead to significant weight loss.

In one study, 30 obese female college students were randomly assigned to receive equal amounts of either a placebo or Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides twice daily for six weeks.12 The supplemented group experienced a reduction in weight and BMI. The group receiving the Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides supplement lost 2.5 pounds and reduced BMI by 0.44, while the placebo group lost 0.4 pounds and BMI was reduced by 0.08.12

In another study, obese young women with 28% or higher total body fat were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 250 mg of Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides twice daily for four weeks.13 Supplemented subjects lost 3.7 pounds, while placebo recipients lost just 1.6 pounds in the same interval.

Weight Loss With Saccharomyces Cerevisiae-Derived Peptides

In the most recent human study to date, researchers determined that Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides have the ability to help induce weight loss.

For the study, researchers studied young-to-middle-aged women and men in the Asia-Pacific region and directly measured their abdominal fat stores using CT (computed tomography) scans, an extremely accurate means of assessing this potent health risk.11

Patients supplemented with either 500 mg of Saccharomyces cerevisiae derived-peptides or placebo 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner—but without mandated changes to their personal diet and exercise habits. Over the 10-week study period, peptide-supplemented patients reduced their daily calorie consumption by a striking 25.3% (nearly 400 calories) from baseline. Placebo recipients’ daily calorie intake dropped by only 6.3%.

An important point with this study is that the baseline calorie intake in both groups hovered around 1,600 calories/day, which would be low by American standards.11

However, the study data suggests that despite a relatively low calorie intake at baseline, ingestion of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides translated directly into reduced body fat mass, with a 4.4-pound reduction from baseline in supplemented subjects—while placebo recipients experienced a 2.5-pound increase.11 That represents a total difference of approximately 6.9 pounds of body fat at the end of the study period. Lean body mass, which is composed of healthy muscle, bone, and other nonfat tissues, did not change significantly in either group, suggesting a focused effect on fat.

The advanced CT imaging used in this study quantitatively demonstrated losses of ectopic fat in the abdominal area. For example:

  • While placebo subjects gained just about one-third of an inch in waist circumference (a major independent risk factor for chronic cardiovascular disease),41 supplemented individuals on average lost two full inches of waist circumference, or about two belt sizes!11
  • Abdominal fat thickness decreased significantly in supplemented patients by approximately one-fifth of an inch when compared to the control group.
  • The total abdominal fat area, measured in square centimeters, fell 17.34 cm2 (2.69 inches2) in supplemented patients and 7.06 cm2 (1.09 inches2) in placebo subjects.
  • Finally, CT measurements of abdominal sagittal diameter (the diameter of the abdominal fat mass when measured along a line facing from back to front) fell by 0.46 cm (.18 inches) in supplemented patients, and 0.29 cm (.11 inches) in placebo patients.

Taken together, the combination of laboratory animal and human studies demonstrates the full potential of Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides to:

  • Limit calorie intake,
  • Reduce new fat production,
  • Reduce body weight and fat mass, and, most importantly,
  • Significantly reduce the size and weight of dangerous abdominal fat.


Abdominal fat is far more harmful to health than fat stored in most other areas of the body, and increases the risk of serious cardiovascular, metabolic, and malignant diseases. Despite knowing these risks, many aging people find diet and exercise alone inadequate to reduce stubborn abdominal fat.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides are now demonstrating potential in specifically targeting dangerous abdominal fat stores. Animal and human studies have demonstrated that Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides can cut calorie intake, reduce body fat mass, and decrease abdominal fat stores, even with baseline caloric intake low by typical American standards.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae-derived peptides may represent a viable option for aging individuals struggling to lose abdominal fat despite diet and exercise, and should be carefully considered for incorporation into a daily supplementation regimen if stubborn abdominal fat persists despite reduced caloric intake.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.


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