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Health News Archive 8 - Diet and Weight Loss
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Sensations of Fullness from Ingesting Hoodia: Increased ATP content/production in the hypothalamus may be a signal for energy-sensing of satiety: studies of the anorectic mechanism of a plant steroidal glycoside

For an explanation of this study, see Hoodia research studies.

A steroidal glycoside with anorectic activity in animals, termed P57AS3 (P57), was isolated from Hoodia gordonii and found to have homologies to the steroidal core of cardiac glycosides. Intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injections of the purified P57AS3 demonstrated that the compound has a likely central (CNS) mechanism of action. There is no evidence of P57AS3 binding to or altering activity of known receptors or proteins, including Na/K-ATPase, the putative target of cardiac glycosides. The studies demonstrated that the compound increases the content of ATP by 50-150% in hypothalamic neurons. In addition, third ventricle (i.c.v.) administration of P57, which reduces subsequent 24-h food intake by 40-60%, also increases ATP content in hypothalamic slice punches removed at 24 h following the i.c.v. injections. In related studies, in pair fed rats fed a low calorie diet for 4 days, the content of ATP in the hypothalami of control i.c.v. injected animals fell by 30-50%, which was blocked by i.c.v. injections of P57AS3. With growing evidence of metabolic or nutrient-sensing by the hypothalamus, ATP may be a common currency of energy sensing, which in turn may trigger the appropriate neural, endocrine and appetitive responses as similar to other fundamental hypothalamic homeostatic centers for temperature and osmolarity.

Source: MacLean DB, Luo LG. Increased ATP content/production in the hypothalamus may be a signal for energy-sensing of satiety: studies of the anorectic mechanism of a plant steroidal glycoside. Brain Res. 2004 Sep 10;1020(1-2):1-11.

DHEA Supplement May Help Reduce Abdominal Fat

A study published in the November 10 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association ( found that supplementing with the over the counter hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), may help reduce the abdominal fat that increases with age and is associated with insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. DHEA, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that declines with aging, had previously been found to shrink abdominal fat in laboratory animals, but its effect on humans has not been confirmed.

Dennis T. Villareal, MD, and John O. Holloszy, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, randomized 28 men and 28 women aged 65 to 78 to receive 50 milligrams per day DHEA or a placebo for six months. Visceral abdominal fat, which occurs within the abdomen, and subcutaneous fat, which exists under the skin, were measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before and following the treatment period, and glucose and insulin responses were determined by administering oral glucose tolerance tests.

At the study's conclusion, participants who received DHEA had experienced significant losses of visceral and subcutaneous fat. Women who received DHEA lost an average of 10.2 percent visceral fat, and men lost an average of 7.4 percent. Subcutaneous fat loss averaged 6 percent for men and women. Those who received placebos gained small amounts of fat in both areas.

DHEA also improved insulin action. No significant adverse events were associated with DHEA, and the hormone did not cause an elevation in the male participants' prostate specific antigen levels. The authors write, "These findings provide evidence that DHEA replacement may partially reverse the aging-related accumulation of abdominal fat in elderly people with low serum levels of DHEAS. They also raise the possibility that long-term DHEA replacement therapy might reduce the accumulation of abdominal fat and protect against development of the metabolic/insulin resistance syndrome.”

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (292, 18:2243-2248, 2004).

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Green Tea Aids in Weight Loss

In a study published in the November 2003 Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, researchers provided additional evidence that green tea can act as a weight loss aid as well as the mechanism behind green tea's fat-burning effects.

The researchers investigated body fat-suppressive effects of green tea in rats fed a high-fat diet. The researchers also sought to determine whether green tea initiates thermogenesis (fat-burning) by activating beta-adrenoceptors in brown adipose (fat) tissue. Beta-adrenoceptors, located on fat cells, assist in the burning of fat and their activation causes the loss of fat in adipose tissue.

Feeding the animals a high-fat diet combined with a water extract of green tea (20 grams/kg) prevented the increase in body fat gain caused by a high-fat diet without affecting energy intake. Energy expenditure was increased by green tea extract, which was associated with an increase in protein content of brown adipose tissue. The simultaneous administration of the beta-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol (500 mg/kg diet) inhibited the body fat-suppressive effect of green tea extract, indicating that green tea does indeed work by increasing the activity of beta-adrenoceptors. Propranolol also prevented the increase in protein content of brown adipose tissue caused by green tea extract. Digestibility also was slightly reduced by green tea extract and this effect was not affected by propranolol.

The researchers concluded, "It appears that green tea exerts potent body fat-suppressive effects in rats fed on a high-fat diet and the effect resulted in part from reduction in digestibility and to much greater extent from increase in brown adipose tissue thermogenesis through beta-adrenoceptor activation."

Source:  Choo JJ. Green tea reduces body fat accretion caused by high-fat diet in rats through beta-adrenoceptor activation of thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. J Nutr Biochem. 2003 Nov;14(11):671-6.

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Grape Seed Blocks Fat Absorption

A study published in the October 2003 issue of the journal Nutrition suggests that grape seed extract could be helpful to prevent the absorption of dietary fat.  This could benefit individuals attempting to lose weight or those who need to limit fat consumption for other health reasons. The mechanism for grape seed action was that the grape seed extract inhibited the pancreatic enzyme lipase as well as lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme responsible for the hydrolysis of triglycerides from plasma lipoproteins.

The U.S. researchers tested an extract of crushed grape seeds on pancreatic lipase and lipoprotein lipase activity in vitro. They found that the extract contained lipase inhibitors that act in a dose-dependent manner, meaning that the higher the dose of grape seed, the greater the blocking effect. A one milligram per milliliter concentration of the extract caused an 80 percent inhibition of lipase activity during a five minute incubation period. When lipoprotein lipase activity was tested, the same concentration of grape seed extract elicited a 30 percent inhibition of the enzyme.

In the discussion portion of the study, the researchers state that the effect of grape seed extract may be due to a synergistic action of its flavonoid procyanidins rather than being caused by a single component. They recommend further studies to determine whether grape seed extract may be a weight loss treatment in addition to improving plasma lipid profiles, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.

The currently available prescription drug Orlistat works via lipase inhibition and has been shown to decrease dietary fat absorption in adults by approximately 30 percent. Grape seed extract may prove to be an effective natural alternative.

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Long-Term CLA Study Shows 9 Percent Reduction in Body Fat and 2 Percent Increase in Lean Muscle

The first long-term Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) study demonstrated the most significant reduction in body fat and increase in lean muscle taking TONALIN® brand CLA. The study’s results were presented at the American Oil and Chemist Society’s (AOCS) 94th Annual Meeting and Expo held in Kansas City, MI, in May 2003.  The study results were also conveyed to attendees at SupplySide East held in Secaucus, NJ, in May 2003.

While short-term CLA studies with short supplementation periods have shown that CLA use improves body composition, there have not yet been any studies on CLA’s long-term effects until now. Jean-Michel Gaullier’s “Efficacy and safety of one-year supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid in moderate overweight” demonstrated that CLA reduced body fat by nine percent and increased lean muscle by two percent. The most remarkable effects on body composition were produced by trials performed with a mixture of the bioactive isomers (cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12). Specifically, CLA generated a significant decrease in body fat, body weight and body mass index.

Overweight subjects were randomized in three groups, and supplemented for one year either with CLA given as free fatty acid, or as triglycerides, and compared with subjects taking a placebo (olive oil). Measurements performed with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry show significant changes over time. Possible factors such as diet and training were also analyzed. In addition, the long-term safety of CLA was confirmed through rigorous recording of any side effects occurring during the overall study and analyses of blood parameters, including blood lipids and diabetes markers. Finally, records of the quality-of-life have been done in order to evaluate how CLA affected the daily life of the subjects included in the study.

CLA is a polyunsaturated, conjugated fatty acid that is a natural part of the human diet through its presence in meat and dairy products. The CLA content of natural dairy products has fallen over time, and the human body now needs to supplement its consumption of CLA from other sources.

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Swedish Study Concludes Conjugated Linoleic Acid Reduces Body Fat

An article appearing in the August 2001 issue of Lipids reported that Swedish researchers at Uppsala University have concluded that those taking conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) over the course of a 14- week trial experienced body fat reductions of 3.8 percent. This research is the latest in a series of four published medical studies that all have demonstrated fat loss. The findings suggest that CLA prevents fat from accumulating in the body, thereby reducing body fat mass.

"We continue to be excited as we learn more about the many metabolic properties of CLA," said Dr. Annika Smedman, Unit for Clinical Nutrition Research, Uppsala University, Sweden. "The results of our study indicate that supplementation with CLA may reduce the proportion of body fat in humans."

Conjugated linoleic acid is the common name of a group of fatty acids found in dairy and meat products. However, over the last 50 years, changes in livestock feeding practices have largely removed naturally occurring CLA from our diets. In several recent studies, CLA has received considerable attention due to its apparent metabolic and other health benefits and anti-cancer properties in animals, as well as some similar, initial results in humans. The effects seen in animals include reduced body fat content, improved serum lipid profiles, decreased aortic lipid deposition, and improved glucose control and delayed onset of diabetes.

"This study coming from Uppsala University, in combination with previous studies, continues to demonstrate that CLA reduces fat deposition in the body," said Delbert Dorscheid, MD, PhD, University of British Columbia. "CLA reduces body fat and it increases lean tissue in both animals and humans. This action generates a healthier body with more lean muscle and less fat, particularly belly fat which can be associated with many other medical problems."

In the Uppsala University study, 53 men and women were randomly assigned to either a CLA-treated group, or to a control group that received olive oil capsules. At baseline, there were no statistical differences between the groups. During the initial two weeks of the study, all subjects were given control capsules containing olive oil. During the remaining 12 weeks, in a randomized, double-blind design, the subjects in the CLA group were given capsules containing 4.2 g/d of CLA, while the control groups continued taking the olive oil capsules. All participants were asked not to change their diet or physical activity regimens, and to not supplement their diets with other vitamins, mineral or fatty acids during the trial to prevent confounding the action of CLA with regard to body fat content.

Previous studies published by the American Chemical Society, The Journal of Nutrition, The International Journal of Obesity, and Lipids presented human studies ranging in numbers from 17 to 63 persons. Each study concluded that CLA possesses properties that diminish the percentage of body fat in humans.

The CLA used in all of the studies was Tonalin® CLA, manufactured by Natural, Inc.

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CLA Shrinks Body Fat from 22% to 17% in Health Club Members

A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research, volume 29, 2001, revealed that conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, reduced body fat in a group of healthy, exercising members at a health club. 

Twenty volunteers with normal body weight were randomized to receive either a placebo or 600 milligrams CLA three times per day, given with each meal for twelve weeks. At the study's onset, height, weight and body fat composition were measured and recorded. No significant differences were found between the two groups in terms of gender, age, weight, height and percentage of body fat. Body fat and weight were remeasured at four, eight and twelve weeks. Participants were selected from a health club where they performed ninety minutes of strenuous exercise three times per week.

The body fat in the group taking CLA declined significantly throughout the study to 17% at twelve weeks, while remaining at approximately 22% in the placebo group. Body weight remained the same on average for both groups. No difference in fat reduction was observed between men and women. No serious adverse events were reported, although one participant receiving CLA and one receiving the placebo reported gastrointestinal symptoms which disappeared after the first week.

The benefits resulting from the use of CLA in this study were greater than those seen in previous studies utilizing older and overweight participants. The authors recommend further research (and exercise).

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Discover The Wonder Nutrient That Burns Fat and Beats Breast Cancer!
Woman's World, Aug. 15, 2000 


The fact that it melts away stubborn fat is reason enough to consider taking it - but now, brand-new research shows this safe, natural supplement can also protect you from heart disease and breast cancer!

Eat right, exercise, avoid stress . . . take CLA? When doctors give advice on how to live healthy lives, this essential fatty acid isn't normally part of their prescription. But new research suggests it may soon be - especially for their female patients.

A few years ago, researchers were just discovering the benefits of conjugated linoleic acid - and already they were amazed. In preliminary studies, it showed promise as a fat-burner, heart-protector and cancer-fighter. And now, it turns out CLA is even better than originally billed.

"CLA can help prevent, and even treat, a number of today's most frustrating health problems," says oncologist Delbert Dorscheid, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Chicago. Here's what it can do:

Pump up your body's fat-burning power
Researchers were astonished when studies showed women could lose up to eight pounds of body fat just by taking CLA daily. "And now, we know that CLA also helps replace that fat with muscle," says Mark Cook, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin.

In fact, doctors at Utah State University say that once this essential fat soaks into muscle cells, CLA triggers a 5% increase in muscle mass. And every pound of muscle you gain will burn 70 calories per day, without you even lifting a finger!

Protect you against breast cancer
A recent study proved that lab animals with the most CLA in their bodies had a 70% lower risk of breast cancer. And ongoing human studies are confirming its power.
"Cancer cells try to hide from your body's immune system by releasing a smoke screen of substances called prostaglandins," explains Cook. "But CLA blocks prostaglandin formation, so cancer cells can be seen and destroyed before they've had time to grow."

Clear clogged arteries and strengthen your heart
Researchers report that a daily dose of CLA can cut harmful LDL cholesterol by 10 points in 12 weeks - and slash artery-clogging triglycerides in half! Doctors say that's enough to reduce your risk of heart disease 16-fold.

Prevent asthma attacks
Asthma rates have skyrocketed 75% in the last few years, and attacks can range from annoying to dangerous. But research at the University of Wisconsin suggests CLA can slow or prevent the lung inflammation that triggers wheezing, difficulty breathing and respiratory distress in those with asthma.
"Our best guess is that CLA prevents lung tissue from becoming irritated," says Cook. "By taking it daily, people with asthma may be able to avoid attacks."

Are you getting enough CLA?
Doctors recommend 3,000 milligrams of CLA daily for all its uses. It's found naturally in beef, lamb and dairy products, but experts say changes in cattle feed mean we're getting 65% less CLA from our diets than our parents did. In fact, studies show the richest source of CLA, lamb, now contains just 85 milligrams per three ounce serving!

Fortunately, CLA is available in supplement form in drugstores and nutrition centers nationwide. It's considered very safe, but as with any supplement, check with your doctor before you start taking it.

View more info on CLA

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