Life Extension Magazine®

Knife and fork crossed under an alarm clock

Health Benefits of Modest Weight Loss

Millions of Americans will make a resolution to lose weight. When large amounts of fat pounds are not quickly shed, many lose hope and resume unhealthy eating patterns. Few realize the remarkable benefits that occur in response to just 5%-10% loss of body weight. Multi-modal approaches can enable this to work.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: William Faloon.

William Faloon
William Faloon

The article on page 24 of this month’s issue describes a 2020 published study on the weight loss effects of R-lipoic acid.

At the end of the 24-week trial, 26% of the participants using R-lipoic acid experienced at least a 5% decline in body weight, with no changes in diet or physical activity.1

Women experienced an average 6.5% reduction in body fat and average weight loss of 3.2%.1

While this may not appear significant, the health benefits of a 5%-10% weight loss are well established.

Improvements in blood pressure, glucose, triglyceride, and other disease risk measures occur in response to modest weight loss.2,3

Aging is accompanied by buildup of body fat that accumulates over decades. Overweight and obese individuals often want solutions that do not yet exist.

Most readers of Life Extension® magazine correct one obesity factor by boosting cellular AMPK using supplements like Gynostemma extract and/or drugs like metformin.

Multi-modal approaches are often needed to achieve desired biological results.

This editorial describes additional fat loss approaches that also improve healthy longevity measures such as chronic inflammation.

DHEA and 7-Keto DHEA

Man and woman riding bicycles

DHEA is an adrenal hormone that declines with advancing age.

Low DHEA levels have been correlated with higher body weight and percent body fat.4 DHEA restoration can improve body composition and fat tissue distribution.5,6

An analysis of four clinical trials found DHEA supplementation increased preservation of bone and muscle mass in aging women.7

One randomized controlled trial of obese postmenopausal women found that taking 100 mg of a form of DHEA daily for three months resulted in greater weight loss and reductions in waist circumference, blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and other metabolic parameters.8

In a randomized controlled trial of 125 elderly men and women, 50 mg of DHEA daily for two years lowered visceral fat mass, improved glucose tolerance, and decreased levels of inflammatory cytokines.9

Another trial found 50 mg DHEA each day for six months led to reduced abdominal fat and improved insulin sensitivity.10

7-Keto DHEA is a metabolite of DHEA that has been suggested to have thermogenic properties that could increase energy expenditure.11

In overweight subjects maintained on a calorie-restricted diet, seven days of treatment with 7-Keto DHEA increased resting energy expenditure by 1.4%. Calorie-restricted subjects taking placebo saw their resting energy expenditure decrease by 3.9%.12

When people go on diets, the reduced calorie intake can cause their cells to conserve energy. This decrease in resting energy expenditure impedes weight loss as cells hold on to stored fat. In this 7-keto DHEA study, resting energy expenditure increased in people on a calorie-restricted diet.

In another randomized controlled trial, overweight volunteers taking 100 mg of 7-Keto DHEA twice daily lost more weight and body fat than the placebo group (6.3 pounds versus 2.2 pounds taking placebo). Percent body fat was reduced 1.8% in the 7-keto group compared to 0.57% in the placebo arm of the study.13

DHEA is taken by most readers of Life Extension® magazine in moderate doses (25 mg/day) based on its potential longevity benefits. To emulate published weight loss studies, higher doses of DHEA (50-100 mg/day) or 7-keto DHEA (100 mg twice daily) may be considered.

DHEA has demonstrated a myriad of beneficial effects including reduced inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to numerous degenerative diseases.9,14-17

Modest Effects of Green Tea

Green tea is rich in polyphenols and is well known for its anti-inflammatory effects.18,19

Meta-analyses and reviews of randomized controlled trials indicate green tea extract may have a small, positive impact on body weight and fat mass in overweight and obese adults.20-23 The best results have been reported for those taking green tea extracts for at least 12 weeks.21

Green tea extracts inhibit activities of several digestive enzymes, potentially reducing the breakdown and absorption of sugars and fats from the intestines. 24

In addition, green tea has been shown to enhance the effects of exercise on fat burning.25

Clinical trials using green tea extracts alone to achieve meaningful weight loss have been disappointing, but its many health benefits make it a good choice to consume before most meals to increase energy expenditure and slow carbohydrate absorption.20,26,27

Thyroid Hormones Regulate Energy Expenditure

As we age, hormone levels undergo radical changes that contribute to accumulation of excess body fat.

Those with underactive thyroid hormones can gain weight even when reducing their calorie intake.

If a blood test reveals a thyroid deficit , this can be corrected with prescription medications like Cytomel® or Armour®.

Underactive thyroid contributes to a host of problems including fatigue, depression, and elevated LDL cholesterol.

Effects of Intermittent Fasting in People:


Abdominal fat • Blood pressure

Stress resistance • Glucose regulation

Heart rate • Endurance

Cognition • Inflammation

The New England Joural of Medicine , Dec. 26, 201928

Intermittent Fasting

Woman holding a grarden salad

A review article in the December 26, 2019 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine described a way to reduce abdominal fat that simultaneously improves virtually every measure of disease risk.28

The box on the top of this column summarizes human benefits of intermittent fasting reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

These robust benefits were not found in a study published September 28, 2020 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).29

This JAMA-published study was designed to exam­ine the effects of intermittent fasting on weight loss and metabolic risk markers.

The intermittent fasting group in this trial lost a little weight over 12 weeks, while the three meal/day control group did not lose a statistically significant amount of weight. This study did not find a significant effect on metabolic risk markers.29

We’ve identified reasons why the JAMA-published trial did not find the metabolic benefits reported in a review article published just 10 months earlier in the New England Journal of Medicine.

What we’ve long known about time-restricted eating (intermittent fasting) is that it does not induce much weight loss in those who do not also reduce their overall calorie intake.

The preponderance of published evidence supports the benefits of intermittent fasting, including improved glycemic markers such as fasting insulin, which can impede weight loss when elevated.30-32

Reducing Fasting Insulin

With age, our cells tend to become resistant to insulin, causing blood glucose and insulin to rise.

High blood insulin is associated with the development of abdominal obesity and cardiovascular problems that include atherosclerosis.33,34 Similarly, obesity is associated with excess insulin and reduced insulin sensitivity, both risk factors for type II diabetes.35

The box at the top of the next page describes human benefits of intermittent fasting with one study showing a remarkable 57% decrease in fasting insulin blood levels.28

How I Time Restrict on Most Days

Experts in the field of intermittent fasting suggest that a fasting window of 16-18 hours most days can yield health benefits.

This is easy for me because I sleep away the first 8 hours of fasting and then wake up to plain tea or coffee to sip for the next 8-10 hours of non-stop work.

I’ve been doing this for over three years and the most striking result is my LDL/HDL ratio has inverted whereby my HDL is higher than LDL on recent blood tests.

Thirty years ago, my LDL was high (160 mg/dL) and HDL not particularly good.

The anti-aging strategies I’ve engaged in have helped me reverse this.

I’ve also been able to get off a blood pressure drug (telmisartan) in response to NAD+ restoration and time-restricted eating on most days.

Back in 2002, my systolic blood pressure reached 150 mmHg and I initiated anti-hypertensive drug therapy. I no longer need this blood pressure drug.

As you can see by the chart at the end of this article, blood pressure normally increases as people age.

And as you might expect, my abdominal fat mass shrank eight inches in response to everything I have done since around 1998 to slow aging.

Those challenged to fully engage in intermittent fasting may find nutrient cocktails that can provide similar benefits as those described next.

Improvements In Human Health in Response to Intermittent Fasting28

Human studies show reduced:36

Obesity • Dyslipidemia

Hypertension • Inflammation

Insulin resistance

One study found a 57% decrease in fasting insulin levels37

The New England Joural of Medicine , Dec. 26, 2019

The New England Journal of Medicine states:

“Evidence is accumulating that eating in a 6-hour period and fasting for 18 hours can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone-based energy, with increased stress resistance, increased longevity, and a decreased incidence of diseases, including cancer and obesity.”28

Severity of Hypertension Epidemic

“Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to coronary artery blockage and stroke, as well as kidney disease, heart failure, and cognitive decline.”39

Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) , October 7, 2020

As you can see from the chart below, most people over age 50 have high blood pressure:

Prevalence of Hypertension

Men aged 40-59 59.4%
Men aged 60 and over 75.2%
Women aged 40-59 49.9%
Women aged 60 and over 73.9%
SOURCE: NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2017–201838

Even modest weight loss can lower blood pressure to safer ranges.

Nutrients That Mimic Calorie Restriction

A study published in February 2020 evaluated the effects of a cocktail of nutrients that Life Extension® readers take, such as:40

  • Omega-3s
  • CoQ10
  • Quercetin
  • Resveratrol
  • Vitamins D and K
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein
  • Astaxanthin
  • Citrus bioflavonoids
  • Anthocyanins
  • Lipoic acid

The purpose was to assess if this nutrient blend could mimic the beneficial effects of calorie restriction in mouse tissue and C. elegans models of aging.

In response to this nutrient cocktail, there were genetic-RNA coding changes in the heart, skeletal muscle and brain tissue from mice that mimicked those observed in the calorie restricted group.

Even more important, the C. elegans organisms receiving the nutrient blend had increased longevity and vitality analogous to the calorie-restricted group.

These findings provide some hope for those who find it difficult or intimidating to fast for 14-18 hours a day.

I am doing both (nutrients + intermittent fasting) to stay alive longer.

Manage Your Expectations

Nurse taking a womans blood preassure

On January 1, 2021 millions of Americans will make a resolution to lose weight to improve their health and appearance.

Most people expect unrealistic results in response to whatever program they engage in. When the pounds don’t quickly come off, most resume calorie overconsumption.

The article on page 24 describes the weight loss findings that occurred in people supplementing with R-lipoic acid, who were not advised to alter their diet and physical activity level.1

I suggest that those seeking to shed fat pounds engage in some form of time restricted eating most days (14-18 hours), increase physical activity, supplement about 240 mg of R-lipoic acid twice a day and consider increasing intake of DHEA or 7-keto DHEA and green tea.

Don’t expect immediate results, as the study published in July 2020 showing weight loss in response to R-lipoic acid lasted 24 weeks.

I suggest making a New Year’s resolution to cut out a few surplus calories, increase physical activity, and consider some form of time-restricted eating for potential lifesaving benefits.

Managing your weight loss expectations will enable more of you to stick with a program that may add many healthy years.

Annual Super Sale

This is the time of year when we discount prices on every one of our advanced formulations.

Longtime supporters take advantage of the once-a-year Super Sale to stock up on their favorite nutrients.

We use proceeds from these sales to fund research projects that aim to reverse biological aging.

To order nutrients you need at Super Sale prices, call 1-800-544-4440 (24 hours) or visit

For longer life,

For Longer Life

William Faloon

Life Extension Buyers Club


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