Monthly Archives: August 2012

How Women Can Lose Weight and Keep it Off

How Women Can Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Reference: Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Woo Hoo!  This is big news.  It even made NPR .  And it makes sense.  Published today is a lovely study looking at how mid life women can succeed at taking weight off and keeping weight off.   Here’s the “skinny”.

Bethany Gibbs from the University of Pittsburg is quoted as saying, “Not only does motivation decrease after you start losing weight, there are physiological changes, including a decreased resting metabolic rate.  Appetite-related hormones increase.  Researchers studying the brain are now finding that you have enhanced rewards and increased motivation to eat when you’ve lost weight.”   Conclusion that we all know: It’s devilishly hard to lose weight.

So, who succeeds?   Some surprising conclusions.  First of all, you have to make a lifestyle of new habits.  One is regular exercise.  That keeps muscle mass up so you are burning calories 24/7 in addition to the calories you burn during exercise. Secondly, the emphasis should be on what you add, not what you take away. The women who succeeded added abundant new vegetables and fruits to their diet.   What they did cut down on meat, cheese, fried food and sugar.  In particular, the women who were still down 4 years later had essentially quit sugared drinks and desserts.

New habits that you keep at every day seems to be the key here.  Adding more vegetables to your diet often replaces white carbs.  Sugar and white carbs stimulate insulin and insulin forces calories into storage.  Fried foods are usually saturated with omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory precursors.  It’s not just the calories in fried foods, it’s the messages those fats send to your body that wreak havoc.

This diet sounds like the Daniel Diet that Saddleback Church in Orange County, California has developed.  Lots of vegetables, a tiny bit of meat, no dessert and no sugar.  Add a detox of your liver to that so that you can process your hormones better and a daily dose of moderate exercise and you start the journey to weight loss.  And then the habits keep it off.

WWW. What will work for me?  I’ve added the exercise, and I’m good with vegetables.  It’s the sugar and dessert where I just fall down.  Greek Yogurt with Honey and I’m done in.  I can eat the whole container after a nice 5 mile hike.  The sugar is like crack.  Gotta get that stuff out of the house.  It’s clear to me that the white carbs like bread and potatoes make for trouble too.  Farmer’s Markets are just begging for customers.  I bought 3 bunches of beets, 3 pounds of carrots, two boxes of tomatoes, fresh corn at the Brookfield farmer’s market.  You could too.

Written by John E Whitcomb, MD   Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic 17585 W North Ave, Suite 160,  Brookfield, WI 53045  262-784-5300

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Vitamin D and Fracture Risk Reduction with 2000 IU of Vit D

Vitamin D and Fracture Risk Reduction with 2000 IU of Vit D

Reference:  New England Journal, July 5th 2012

Lead article in the New England Journal!  That’s impressive, considering the NEJM is the de facto lead medical journal in the English language.  Dr. Bischoff-Ferrari has done a series of meta-analysis over the years on Vitamin D, the last one being on falls and their reduction with the use of Vitamin D back in 2004. So this is one of her main interests, passions and core skill sets.  She likes pooling data from many studies and parsing out the details of what happens when you collect lots of data from multiple sources.  It’s a good tool as you get to statistical significance on findings you might not achieve in any single study on its own.

Her findings?  Following 31,000 people, average age of 76 and 91% women, they found 1111 hip fractures.  That’s a lot!  What they found was a “By quartiles of actual intake, reduction in the risk of fracture was shown only at the highest intake level (median, 800 IU daily; range, 792 to 2000), with a 30% reduction in the risk of hip fracture)”

What does this mean?   “Only at the highest level of intake” did they find helpfulness from Vit D.   2000 IU a day was the highest they could find.  From prior newsletters of ours, you should be able to find that 2000 IU of Vit D will get the average Caucasian researcher in Antarctica to a blood level of 29 ng.  That’s NOT enough to exceed our “minimum” of 32 ng.  Winter in Switzerland, and in Milwaukee, is like Antarctica.  We get no sunshine and no D for 6 months.  2000 IU a day will get many of us to “just enough”, but not all of us, and not consistently.  This study demonstrates the possibility, and we are beginning to see standard science proving it.

Why is this important?  For women over age 65, the risk of falls and fractures are as big a cause of premature mortality as anything else. Cancer and heart disease get all the billing because there are such strong advocacy groups for those conditions, but falls and fractures edge them out in risk frequency.  If you are a women, this is your fate if you don’t do something different.  We now finally have a study that is raising the bar from the 800 IU the Institute of Medicine recommended to 2000 IU.  This is big.   But it’s not enough.  It takes more than that to get the average person to a level of 45-60 ng consistently.  Most folks need 3000-5000 IU daily dose after a 300,000 loading dose over a couple of weeks to get to a sufficient level.

And why is this safe?  Your body makes 1000 IU a minute in good sunshine when you are young, up to 20,000 IU a day.  And the normal human body, with adequate sunshine balances out around a level of 55 ng.  No toxicity here.

WWW.  What Will Work for Me.  For all the frail elderly in my world, I’m advocating for a level of 55-60 and checking blood levels.  I see many “misses” because folks don’t get a loading dose and it takes 6-12 months for them to get to sufficient.  And then, because falls and fractures don’t happen to everyone, they don’t see an immediate helpful effect.    It takes consistency, encouragement and life time commitment to keep it. Then, when you fall in the bathroom in the middle of the night and DON’T break your wrist, back, hip……send me a thank you card.

Testosterone, Weight Loss for Men?

Testosterone, Weight Loss for Men?

Reference:  European Congress on Obesity

Dr Farid Saad didn’t set out to prove that testosterone caused weight loss.  He was treating men whose testosterone was proven to be low. They had erectile dysfunction, fatigue and lack of energy.  Their levels were low. The treatment was rather odd. They were given a shot every three months.   At that interval, most folks are giving pellets under the skin that dissolve rather slowly.  We do know that erectile difficulty is fixed about 80% of the time in men who are treated with testosterone.  We are also pretty sure that testosterone levels have declined some 30% over the last 60 years when you look at population studies.

But his results were pretty impressive. The men lost an average of 16 kg (about 35 pounds) over the five years of the study when their testosterone levels were back to normal.  That’s about half a pound a month.  And all that occurred when it wasn’t even the intended outcome.  How did that happen?

The answer isn’t clear yet and there is some debate in the medical world about how this happened.  But there is always debate and always should be.  Here is the sensible explanation.  Testosterone is not just “the male hormone”.   It is our basic hormone for growth and repair.  It builds you up.  It makes more muscle.  It is “anabolic”, meaning building and sustaining.  When you are twenty, you have more anabolic hormones, in balance.  The switch over to “catabolic” or breaking down happens around age 40.  Tell that to anyone over 40 and they will agree.  You have more catabolic hormones than anabolic when you measure their balance when you are 50 compared to when you were 25.  And you feel it.  Without that effect, your muscles are smaller.  Muscles burn energy, even at rest.  They need to be constantly challenged to keep themselves healthy, but they also need sufficient testosterone to accomplish that.  And that’s not all testosterone does.  It calms your immune system.  It gives you a sense of vitality and initiative.  It makes you think your partner is a bit more attractive (works for men and women).

So what happened?  The men had more muscle and more initiative. They felt like doing things. They had energy and a stronger and more positive outlook.  That energy leads to burning calories.  When you have the “get up and go” to do tasks, you have formula to burn more calories.  Your body is back in the balance of anabolic exceeding catabolic so you are building things back up, not breaking down.

Why is testosterone low in so many folks? That’s another whole story.  We live in an estrogenizing world.  Our ground water has 2-3 parts per billion of glyphosate in it, enough to make leopard frogs all look like females.  Then there is BPA and everything else.

WWW.  What will work for me?  Have you noticed all the testosterone ads on TV?  Every ad you see for erectile difficulty drugs is an ad for a man with low testosterone.  The big pharma folks have figured it out.  We have an epidemic of low testosterone in men (and women). And that’s a big part of our heart disease epidemic.  Might be time to add testosterone levels to our wellness checklist.   Then, the weight loss is just a lovely bonus.  And you will look so buff with those recovered biceps.