A startling 60 – 75% of the adult population in the United States is overweight or obese (American Heart Assc. 2012). Around the world, the prevalence of obesity has nearly doubled from 1980 to 2008 (Stevens 2012).
Being overweight or obese significantly increases the risk of multiple debilitating diseases including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, and malignancies such as breast, prostate, pancreatic and colon cancer (Aleksandrova 2013; Giles 2012; Allott 2012; Gribovskaja-Rupp 2011). Excess body weight also affects mobility, interferes with restful sleep, contributes to digestive disorders, and can contribute to an overall lower quality of life than that enjoyed by lean individuals (Schrager 2007; Sung 2011; Nguyen 2008; CDC 2011). Obesity results in shortening of the life span by an average of eight to 10 years compared with people at normal weight. For every 33 extra pounds, risk of early death increases by around 30% (Sassi 2012).
For many aging obese individuals, the struggle to achieve a healthy body weight becomes a veritable battle against biology as a number of metabolic processes promote weight gain despite genuine efforts to decrease food consumption and increase energy expenditure (Cohen 2012; Müssig 2010; Biondi 2010).
Scientific investigations have shed light on the biology of weight loss in recent times. It turns out the battle against the bulge is much more complex than the overly simplistic “eat less food to lose weight” message often promoted by government health agencies.
In 2009, Life Extension described the Nine Pillars of Successful Weight Loss. Each of the nine pillars represents a fundamental insight into sustainable weight. If any weight loss strategy is to be successful, it must evolve beyond the conventional cliché that weight loss only requires a reduction in food consumption. Instead, successful weight management requires a paradigm that acknowledges the multifactorial nature of obesity.
The Nine Pillars of Successful Weight Loss that should not be overlooked if healthy weight management is to be achieved are:
- Restore insulin sensitivity
- Restore youthful hormone balance
- Control rate of carbohydrate absorption
- Increase physical activity
- Restore brain serotonin / Suppress hunger signals
- Restore resting energy expenditure rate
- Restore healthy adipocyte (fat cell) signaling
- Inhibit the lipase enzyme
- Eat to live a long and healthy life
This protocol will detail the biological underpinnings of obesity and weight gain. Consideration will be given to each pillar of successful weight loss in the context of obesity risk factors in order to highlight the inadequacies of typical weight loss strategies. Methods of utilizing novel natural compounds and strategically incorporating some pharmaceutical options to support critical metabolic factors for long-term weight management will be discussed.