What is the best treatment for skin tightening?

  • Loose skin affects women of all ages and sizes, but especially those over 40 years of age; who live a sedentary life; who follow yo-yo diets or crash diets; who do not eat enough protein
  • The only treatment worth having for skin tightening is monopolar radiofrequency (RF).
  • There are hundreds of RF machines on the market and depending on how those machines are used at different clinics, on can say that there are thousands of RF treatments. Many are quite ineffective while a few are very effective but in summary a high intensity, deep, monopolar radiofrequency treatment is the only technology today that can provide significant skin firming for the body or face. Bipolar radiofrequency (including tripolar, tetrapolar and octapolar) are more superficial and less effective.
  • Anything else, inclusing most massages, ultrasound, AWT (acoustic wave therapy), vibration massage, suction massage (palper-rouler), microcurrents, low level laser therapy LLLT etc. will only offer a minimal benefit and are generally not worth spending money on. Focused ultrasound can offer significant skin tightening but at the cost of very frequent occurences of skin burning, scarring etc., so it is not really worth the risks.
  • Most creams do not really work for skin firming, as they do not contain any significant quantities of skin firming actives, for cost reasons. However, those who do, can significantly boost the results of monopolar radiofrequency or can also provide results on their own. The most well-known skin firming actives are hydroxyproline, centella asiatica, ascorbic acid and several peptides, but several others skin toning actives exist which are equally or even more effective. Combining multiple actives in high concentrations can offer tangible and visible results, while single-ingredient, low-concentration creams offer none.
  • So in summary, the only treatments that is worth spending money on for skin toning / lifting / tightening are high-power, monopolar radiofrequency treatments, especially if combined with a highly concentrated skin firming cream with mutliple actives, during or after treatment. Being in the industry for more than 15 years, I know that I would not spend money on anything else.


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High saturated fat diets damage liver, increase fat cell size, cause fat to be stored in liver and muscles

  •  High fat diets are very popular these days but unfortunately they do not distinguish between saturated and unsaturated fat.
  • Furthermore, quite a lot has been written about the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Basically, the higher the ratio, the more unhealthy is the diet, due to the inflammatory potential of too much omega-6 in relation to omega-3.
  • A recent paper has now shown that between two high fat diets with the same calories and the same ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, the one that contains mainly saturated fat is much worse than the one that contains mainly poly-unsaturated fat (PUFA).
  • Specifically, a high fat diet rich in saturated fat for six months leads to increased adipocyte (fat cell) size, liver damage, and "ectopic" fat storage in liver and muscle. None of these changes have been observed with a high fat diet rich in poly-unsaturated fat.
  • No differences were found between the two diets in body weight, total adiposity (total fat levels), adipose tissue health, adipokines (fat tissue hormones), whole body energy balance or glucose tolerance.
  • In summary, based on the findings of this study, if you are going to embark on a high fat diet, forget saturated fat coming from meat, cheese, milk, butter, chocolate etc and focus on avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, flax/chia seeds, oily fish and coconut oil (coconut oil saturated fat is "different", as it gets metabolised for energy than for fat storage).
  • Source: A Difference in Fatty Acid Composition of Isocaloric High-Fat Diets Alters Metabolic Flexibility in Male C57BL/6JOlaHsd Mice, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26098756


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Exercise and superficial fat tissue / cellulite

  • It is now well established that exercise increases the protein UCP1 in fat cells, especially those fat cells under the skin (subcutaneous adipose tissue) and inside the skin (cellulite). This consequently turns fat-storing white fat cells into fat-burning "beige" fat cells. In this way, exercise helps you lose fat both by burning fat in muscles and by burning fat in fat cells themselves.
  • Now a new paper published on the journal Diabetes reports that exercise training results in changes in thousands of genes that affect subcutaneous adipose tissue and in adipokines on both subcutaneous adipose tissue and visceral adipose tissue (deep stomach fat), with beneficial effects against diabetes, whole body inflammation and heart disease (adipokines are hormone-like substances produced by fat tissue and have multiple implications in whole body health).
  • Even more impressive is the fact that fat cells taken from trained mice and transplanted into sedentary mice continue to behave as if they belong to a trained animal and cause beneficial body-wide changes in metabolism and overall health!
  • In summary, the beneficial changes in whole-body metabolic health that exercise training causes, are to a large extent due to the profound effects of exercise on fat tissue itself, especially superficial fat tissue.
  • Source: Exercise Effects on White Adipose Tissue: Beiging and Metabolic Adaptations, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26050668/


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Embrace decaf to prevent cellulite and skin ageing

  • Caffeine may have positive effects when used locally, as part of an anti- cellulite cream, and generally mixed or negative effects if taken orally, as a supplement or caffeinated drink, such as coffee, tea etc. We have analysed those effects of caffeine in detail on separate articles on this website. 
  • However, decaffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea, and low-caffeine drinks, such as cocoa drinks, do have multiple beneficial effects against ageing and cellulite, without any of the potential side effects of caffeine. This is due to the high amount of polyphenols and other phytochemicals contained in those drinks, such as flavanols (coffee and cocoa), procyanidins (coffee), tannins (tea and coffee), chlorogenic acid (coffee) and catechins / epicatechins (cocoa and tea). 
  • Polyphenols act as anti-inflammatory, anti-glycation, anti-adipogenic / lipolytic, blood vessel / circulation supporting and skin firming agents. All these actions have a profound effect on both ageing and cellulite. Due to the absence of caffeine there is no limit to the consumption of these drinks (within reason, of course), so they can be used as effective anti-ageing / anti-cellulite drinks. I know of women who consume 15 cups of decaf green tea a day and their antioxidant levels,are really high without any side effects or other problems. 
  • Decaf green tea, decaf tea and decaf coffee all contain no caffeine and high amounts of polyphenols. Cocoa does contain some caffeine, so excessive consumption should be avoided. However, you can always buy high polyphenol cocoa (also known as high antioxidant) cocoa which will allow you to receive maximum polyphenols with minimum caffeine.
  • I see no need to take green coffee, cocoa or green tea supplements, as you can take quite significant amounts of antioxidant naturally and at the same time enjoy the taste of those drinks several times a day. However, if you do hate tea, coffee or cocoa, that is an option you may wish to explore.
  • However, please note that if you suffer from low blood pressure or similar vascular problems you must be careful in your use of cocoa, especially the high antioxidant variety, as it effectively reduces blood pressure and may lead to dizziness. Always consult a doctor if unsure about changes in your diet and taking supplements. 
  • Of course, existing cellulite will need more than healthy eating and exercise to be significantly reduced, but drinking high polyphenol decaffeinated drinks will definitely enhance the results of any treatment you receive or cream you use. 
  • Since we started using green coffee, cocoa and green tea extracts at our clinic for our anti-cellulite and anti-ageing treatments, results have significantly increased. Our creams also include multiple sources of polyphenols, in addition to high purity coffee, cocoa and tea extracts, for maximum results. And of course, we always recommend high polyphenol drinks and also foods (such as berries) to all our clients. 
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Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora) fights fat accumulation and boosts fat metabolism - possible use against cellulite

  • Lemon verbena is a popular aromatic herb which is normally used as an anxiolytic (stress reducing) and natural sleeping aid. 
  • However, new research published recently has shown that polyphenols from lemon verbena decrease triglyceride (fat) accumulation in adipocytes (fat cells) and free radical production (antioxidant action). Most polyphenols possess anti-obesity and antioxidant actions, so the results of this study don't come as a big surpise.
  • Scientists attribute these changes to reductions in PPAR-gamma and fatty acid synthase (FAS), two proteins that boost fat accumulation. Lemon verbena was also found to boost AMPK and PPAR-alpha, two protein that boost fat oxidation (i.e. fat "burning").
  • Verbascoside, a well-known polyphenol found in verbena, was shown to be less potent than a more mixed polyphenol extract from verbena, showing that another molecule or a group of molecules are responsible for the beneficial effects and not verbascoside.
  • The scientists concluded that "the polypharmacological effects of plant-derived polyphenols from lemon verbena may have the potential for clinical applications in obesity".
  • We can safely add that similar potential exists against cellulite, by incorporating a concentrated lemon verbena extract in an anti-cellulite cream.
  • Source: Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora) polyphenols alleviate obesity-related disturbances in hypertrophic adipocytes through AMPK-dependent mechanisms. , http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26055125


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Eating more fat stimulates the growth of brown fat tissue in the body which in turn burns fat!

  • It is now widely known in the scientific community, but unfortunately not yet in the general public, that there are two types of fat tissue in our bodies: white fat, which stores fat tissue, and brown fat tissue which actually burns fat. There is also an intermediate type of fat tissue, called beige or brite fat tissue, which is white fat tissue but behaves like brown fat tissue, i.e. it burns fat, instead of storing fat.
  • White fat tissue can become "beige" naturally by intensive exercise or exposure to cold - with something that combines the two, such as swimming in cold water or running naked in the snow being even more effective, although a bit uncomfortable...
  • A new study has now shown that high fat diets, such as Paleo, Atkins, Ducan etc, can stimulate the growth of beige / brite fat tissue in our bodies, which will end up burning some of the ingested fat.
  • As the researchers put it, "acquisition of brown-adipocyte features in white adipose tissue could evidence an adaptation to try to counteract increased adiposity due to the intake of high fat diets".
  • In other words, the body reacts to eating more fat by burning more fat and produce heat in the adipose tissue itself (thermogenesis), not just the muscles and liver. This could explain the fact that most overweight people feel generally hotter than lean people. Their fat tissue burns fat for heat - it's not just the insulation from the fat that keeps them warm / hot.
  • Although eating more fat makes our adipocytes (fat cells) actually burn fat, they still do not burn all the ingested fat fast enough to prevent putting on weight and cellulite.
  • The best practical solution then, is to follow a high-fat, high-protein, high-vegetbale, low-carb, calorie-controlled diet combined with high intensity / medium duration exercise (such as interval running orinterval swimming in a non-heated pool), in order to make the most of the thermogenic potential of our fat cells, keep fat down and maintain skin firmness. 
  • Source: The intake of high fat diets induces the acquisition of brown adipocyte gene expression features in white adipose tissue, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26063331


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Why only very few electro-mesotherapy treatments work - and how to find one that does

  • Mesotherapy is a well-known aesthetic procedure that involves the multiple injection of substances - anything from vitamins and homeopathic "remedies" to quite nasty chemicals into the skin. Part of the effectiveness of mesotherapy is due to the injury - and subsequent healing - the needles cause and part is due to the actual substances injected.
  • Electro-mesotherapy, also known as needle-free mesotherapy or no-needle mesotherapy, is the application of the principles of mesotherapy, i.e. increased absorption of actives into the skin, without the intrusiveness and complications of injections.
  • Electro-mesotherapy sounds like a great idea on paper but unfortunately in most cases it does not work so well in practice, as many women who have tried this technique can attest.
  • The main reason these treatments do not work is not so much that the machines are not good enough but that the electro-mesotherapy gels / serums / creams used for the treatment are just not concentrated or comprehensive enough. Simple as that.
  • For most skin conditions, such as cellulite, acne, ageing, hair loss etc., using just one or two actives is simply not enough. A cocktail of several high quality actives is necessary for good results.
  • But most importantly, the vast majority of such serums, gels and creams, are simply not concentrated enough.  A 0.1% concentration of an active chemical will not achieve anything. However, these are the concentrations used in many electro-mesotherapy products. Of course, gimmicks such as homeopathic remedies or irrelevant "actives" such as seaweed or artichoke extract for cellulite will simply not work.
  • So to choose the right electromesotherapy treatment you must do your research, ask questions and ensure that the products used are highly concentrated and contain multiple natural actives, for best results.
  • Of course, electro-mesotherapy combined with other technologies, will yield faster and more impressive results than the stand-alone procedure. 


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If caffeine is lipolytic, why doesn't coffee help me lose weight? How caffeine creams help with local fat loss and cellulite?

  • Caffeine is the most widely known lipolytic chemical (lipolytic is a chemical that "break down" fat). However, as everybody knows coffee or caffeine itself does not help you lose weight. Why is that?
  • The answer is simple: caffeine does indeed break down triglycerides (fat) inside fat cells and stimulates the fat cell to release those triglycerides into the circulation. However, if fat is not oxidised (burned) for energy in muscles or other organs, it will inevitably be absorbed by another fat cell and stored there.
  • So unless you burn the fat with exercise or diet, that fat will end up back into a fat cell somewhere in the body. In this case, all that caffeine will help you achieve, is to move fat from one fat cell to another.
  • On the other hand, if you do eat less and exercise more, the fat released due to caffeine, exercise, diet or all the above, will be oxidised into carbon dioxide and water and expelled from the body via the lungs and urine & sweat, respectively.  This is why most diet pills contain caffeine: it stimulates the expulsion of fat from fat cells but the rest (i.e. burning the expelled fat) is your job.
  • So in summary: caffeine + diet + exercise = results. Caffeine on it's own = just nerves ;) 
  • On the other hand, caffeine applied locally, as in anti-cellulite creams that contain caffeine, is effective in reducing local fat, because it does help expell the fat from fat cells in that SPECIFIC area where it is applied, and thereby reduces local fat and cellulite.
  • Of course, if you don't exercise / diet when you apply the caffeine containing cellulite cream, the released fat will end up in the blood circulation and it will be redeposited somewhere else in te body - and some of it will actually be redeposited in the same area.
  • That's why you need to exercise / diet when you use a cellulite cream. If you don't, you just reduce the effectiveness of the cream and waste some of your money down the drain.
  • On the other hand, if you exercise / diet and use an anti-cellulite cream (with or without caffeine) on a specific area, you can reduce cellulite and local fat from that specific area. This is called spot fat reduction and it is impossible by just exercising a specific muscle on that area.
  • Finally, it does not really make sense to apply a caffeine / cellulite cream all over your body, because then you do not achieve a localised effect and the result of the whole body application is somewhat equivalent to... just drinking coffee. So be smart and use an anti-cellulite cream locally - on one or two body areas max - don't waste money on slapping it all over your body!


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When I lose weight, where does the fat go?

  • When scientist Ruben Meerman asked doctors, dietiticians and personal trainers the question "When somebody loses weight, where does the fat go?", the vast majority of them answered that fat becomes energy (something that is only possible with a nuclear reaction), faeces or muscle, with all answers being wrong, of course.
  • In fact, basic, high school-level chemistry explains that whenever an organic chemical is "burned" (oxidised), it ends up as carbon dioxide and water - as simple as that.
  • So after being "burned" in the body and releasing energy - NOT becoming energy - fat ends up as carbon dioxide and water. The carbon dioxide is exhaled by the lungs and the water is expelled as sweat and urine. Nothing becomes faeces, nothing becomes muscle and - thank God - no nuclear reaction occurs in our bodies to transform matter (fat) into energy.
  • However, I am not surprised by such myths, given the fact that most doctors and aesthetic practitioners believe that we have a set number of fat cells in our body throughout our life (which is totally incorrect) or that liposuction permanently removes fat from a given area.
  • Going back to the question of what happens to the fat after being burned with diet and/or exercise, Ruben Meerman actually conducted some research and found out that to completely burn 10 kg of fat, we require to breathe in 29 kg of oxygen and to breathe out 28 kg of carbon dioxide and sweat away or urinate 11 kg of water!
  • So in summary, we lose most of our fat through our lungs, in the form of carbon dioxide, and through our skin and urinary system, in the form of water.
  • Ruben has published these facts in the British Medical Journal and at the closing paragraph of his paper he stated: "We recommend these concepts be included in secondary school science curriculums and university biochemistry courses to correct widespread misconceptions about weight loss." I couldn't agree more.


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How extra virgin olive oil fights fat tissue inflammation - and consequently diabetes and cardiovascular disease

  • Extra virgin oive oil is well-known for it's heart protecting action. It contains the phytochemical antioxidant hydroxytyrosol and the monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) oleic acid, both of which are known for their blood vessel protecting properties and for their anti-inflammatory action.
  • A recent paper from Italy has now determined the mechanism by which hydroxytyrosol and oleic acid prevent and treat fat tissue inflammation.
  • Specifically, scientists found that both of those chemicals inhibit the inflammatory protein TNF-alpha, boost the anti-inflammatory fat tissue hormone adiponectin and also boost the beneficial fat tissue chemical PPAR-gamma, with the  combination of both hydroxytyrosol and oleic acid having being found to have an additive effect.
  • Olive oil contains several other beneficial phytochemicals, such as the antioxidant and anti-ageing compound oleuropein and the more recently discovered anti-cancer polyphenol oleocanthal.
  • But beware, olive oil may be healthy but it is also fattening, so moderation is the key here. Olive oil should be the preferred oil/fat to be used for cooking, together with coconut oil, but not in high quantities. In fact, coconut oil tends to be a bit less fattening due to the medium chain triglycerides it contains, which can be used for energy. But on the other hand coconut oil does not contain the healthful phytochemicals found in olive oil.
  • Source: Additive Regulation of Adiponectin Expression by the Mediterranean Diet Olive Oil Components Oleic Acid and Hydroxytyrosol in Human Adipocytes, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/26030149/
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Why is chocolate so irresistible - and what you can do about it

  • Chocolate is addictive in so many different ways. It contains sugar, which feeds and helps focus the brain, gives you energy, offers a sense of satisfaction (dopamine release) and facilitates the passage of serotonin into the brain. Chocolate also contains fat (traditionally only cocoa butter, but lately all sorts of other fats and oils). Fat also offers a sense of satisfaction (dopamine release).
  • Chocolate also contains PEA (phenylethylamine), the "love" molecule, which derives it's name from the chemical we produce when we are in love. Phenylethylamine is a mild amphetamine-like substance which gives us a gentle natural high.
  • High amounts of theobromine, a diuretic and mild stimulant, and low amounts of caffeine, a strong stimulant, complete the euphoria-inducing chemical profile of chocolate.
  • (Of course, cocoa also contains high amounts of polyphenols, especially epicatechins, which act as antioxidants, lower blood pressure and offer several other health-improving benefits.)
  • With so many euphoria / satisfaction / stimulation inducing substances, it is not surprise that caffeine is so addictive. So what can you practically do about it? How can you get rid off the chocolate addiction and the fat, sugar and calories that come with it?
  • Going cold turkey and never touching chocolate again is one option - albeit very drastic for most people.
  • Having 70% dark chocolate (or even 85%), is one option, so that you can have the maximum antioxidants / phytochemicals contained in cocoa with the minimum of sugar / calories. However, this still leaves you with 30% sugar (or 15% sugar, in the case of 85% dark chocolate).
  • (Of course, having chocolate desserts, such as chocolate biscuits, muffins, cake etc, is not the best thing you can do to your legs, with all the extra fat, sugar and starch contained in them and taking the place of cocoa antioxidants and phytochemicals.)
  • Having a cocoa drink, with cocoa, stevia and whey protein, is supposed to be another healthy option, but it is not as healthy as it sounds. Both stevia and whey protein strongly stimulate the secretion of insulin, which is not the best thing you can do to your body. If you use rice protein instead of whey protein, you will somewhat reduce the insulin effect but the taste will be quite off - nothing to remind you of your beloved chocolate...
  • Being a chocolate addict myself, I believe that the best thing you can do about chocolate is to enjoy it's taste - and benefit from all it's antioxidants - without suffering from the side effects of fat and sugar. Is this possible? Of course it is!
  • How to enjoy chocolate - or any other dessert - without putting on fat or getting cellulite
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How to enjoy chocolate - or any other dessert - without putting on fat or getting cellulite

  • Chocolate is a beautiful desert which contains several "feel good" chemicals, as we analysed in a previous article. However, chocolate also contains high amounts of fat and sugar, which are not very good for your health or figure. "Once in the lips forever in the hips", they say.
  • Still, there is a way to enjoy the taste of chocolate - or any other dessert - without ending up with loads of cellulite or diabetes and you can achieve this by having your favourite chocolate or chocolate dessert (a piece, not the whole cake!) immediately after one hour of vigorous exercise.
  • Examples of such exercise include running, fast cycling, fast / uphill walking etc - anything that raises your heart rate to 145+ beat per minute (155+ for young women; 135+ for older women). Obviously, pilates and yoga will not be able to help you, as they do not raise your heart rate to 145+ bpm.
  • The first 30-60' after a "quality workout" is the time when whatever sugar you ingest goes straight into your muscles and liver in order to be used for your next workout - instead of going straight into your hips in order to become cellulite. This is called carbohydrate loading and it is not an arcane secret - it has been used by athletes for decades.
  • There is a simple physiological explanation for this: immediately after exercise your fat cells are still influenced by the effect of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which prevents them from reacting to insulin and from accumulating triglycerides (fat) or glucose ("sugar"). As a result, whatever sugar you ingest (within reason) will be absorbed by your muscles and liver and will be used on your next workout or for your carb needs in the next few hours or days.
  • But please be aware that this window of opportunity only lasts about one hour after exercise, with 30' post-exercise being the ideal time to consume your favourite chocolate or chocolate cake.
  • Also, please ensure that your sweet treat does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which, as the name suggests, derives it's sweet taste from high amounts of fructose. This is because fructose converts to fat - not glucose - as soon as it enters your liver after ingestion, so it can not be used for carb loading.
  • And of course, be reasonable. No one suggests that you should exercise a lot and then eat huge amounts of sugar-laden foods, which is very unhealthy. Like with everything else, moderation is the key here.
  • Carb loading after intensive exercise also allows dieters to have a break from the diet without compromising the effective of their diet. Frequent so-called "refeeds" are actually essential for the success of any diet - and what better way to take a SMALL break from the diet than eating the forbidden foods within the 30-60' "window of opportunity" that intensive exercise offers?
  • So go on, hit the gym, the pool or the park, have an hour of intensive exercise and then reward yourself with SOME chocolate immediately after! Satisfy your addiction without undermining your beauty ;)
  • Note: Obviously, if you suffer from diabetes or any other disease or if you are on a restrictive diet for any reason, please consult your healthcare practitioner before changing your diet in any way.
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Fish oil prevents weight gain and fat accumulation - and consequently cellulite

  • Fish oil is the ONLY fat that does not cause weight gain but actually prevents it or reverses it. All other oils and fats (such as olive oil) or oily foods (such as avocado), healthy as they may be, can cause weight gain if consumed in large quantities. Even the very fashionable lately coconut oil can be used for energy but it does not cause fat loss and in lage quantities leads to weight gain. Fish oil has been found time and again in several studies to actually have the opposite effect. 
  • In a new study published recently, it was found that a very high fat diet (50% of calories coming from saturated fat) predictably caused weight gain, insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and inflammation. However, a very high fat diet (50% of calories coming from fish oil) actually prevented weight gain, inflammation and insulin resistance.
  • The researchers found that this is due to increased levels of the proteins PPAR (all three isoforms) and AMPK, which are known to prevent adiposity and it's side effects.
  • Of course, a diet consisting of 50% fish oil is impractical and possibly unhealthy (very high doses of fish oil decrease immunity). However, this paper shows that high quality, concentrated fish oil taken daily (or the equivalent regular oily fish consumption) can contribute in the fight against weight gain, inflammation (fish oil is also very well known for it's anti-inflammatory  action), diabetes and of course cellulite (cellulite is characterised by fat accumulation and inflammation, among other changes).
  • My personal suggestion to dieters and all those who care about their body weight and skin smoothness would be to consume oily fish several times a week and replace all oils and fats with coconut oil (mainly) and some olive oil.
  • Source: A high-fish-oil diet prevents adiposity and modulates white adipose tissue inflammation pathways in mice, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25997866


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The anti-ageing action of the pine extract dehydroabietic acid

  • Dehydroabietic acid (DAA) is a naturally occurring tree resin chemical, found in pine and for trees and it has antimicrobial, antiulcer, and cardiovascular activities.
  • A new study has now shown that dehydroabietic acid also has anti ageing and life extension properties, by activating SIRT-1, the most well known life extending / anti ageing protein. 
  • SIRT-1 is the protein also activated by the most well-known anti-ageing / life extending botanical extract know today, resveratrol, so both phytochemicals act in the same - or at least similar - way. Resveratrol is famous for being the most important anti-ageing active in red wine and is considered the reason behind the so called "French Paradox". 
  • The authors of the study state that "the direct activation of SIRT1 enzymatic activity suggests the potential use of this natural diterpene (dehydroabietic acid), or related compounds, in age-related diseases or as a preventive reagent against the aging process".
  • Practically, dehydroabietic acid could be used as an active ingredient in anti ageing creams and - pending further research and safety evaluation - as an anti ageing supplement. 
  • Source: The natural phytochemical dehydroabietic acid is an anti-aging reagent that mediates the direct activation of SIRT1, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25976661/
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Rhodiola rosea extract can be used in the fight against obesity and cellulite

  • The Rhodiola rosea herb is well known for it's anti-fatigue, anti-stress and anti-inflammatory activity and for this reason is very popular as a food supplement. 
  • Rhodiola is also known to improve glucose and fat metabolism and a new study has now shown that it may also be used in the fight against obesity, as it also possesses anti-adipogenic and lipolytic activity.
  • Specifically, the study has shown that the combination of the Rhodiola rosea extract chemicals salidroside and rosavines had the following effects on visceral fat cells: they induced adipocyte apoptosis (i.e. early fat cell death), lipolysis (i.e. fat release from fat cells), reduced triglyceride incorporation (i.e. reduced absorption of fat into fat cells) and reduced the levels of PPAR-gamma, a protein that stimulates adipogenesis (new fat cell creation).
  • In summary, salidroside and rosavines from Rhodiola hold great promise in the fight against overweight and it's complications (in the form of a food supplement) and in their fight against cellulite (in the form of an anti-cellulite cream rich in those two phytochemicals).
  • Source: Effects of Two Different Rhodiola rosea Extracts on Primary Human Visceral Adipocytes, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25970041/
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Fat tissue inflammation caused by injection-based mesotherapy

  • Mesotherapy Is a procedure that involves multiple injections of homeopathic remedies, vitamins or different chemicals into the skin for aesthetic or medical purposes. 
  • Mesotherapy is commonly used in aesthetics as an anti-ageing, body / face contouring and anti-cellulite treatment. Its effectiveness varies, depending on the chemicals injected and on practitioner skill and it is usually accompanied by bruising, pain and occasionally infection, inflammation or systemic side effects, such as fainting.
  • In fact, the cases of inflammation and/or infection reported have risen the last few years with the increase in the number of procedures that are performed and the use of more and more harsh agents, such as concentrated deoxycholic acid for fat reduction. Mesotherapy-induced panniculitis, in particular, i.e. Inflammation of the fat tissue, is becoming more common, according to a recent study. Such cases are typically treated with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • It is important to note here that electro-mesotherapy, also known as needle-free mesotherapy, which allows the absorption of natural actives Into the skin without the need of injections, has all the benefits of injection-based mesotherapy, without any of the side effects and complications - but only if high quality, concentrated electro-mesotherapy cream-gels are used (electro-mesotherapy with poor quality / low concentration cream-gels is not very effective). 
  • Source: A case of mesotherapy-induced panniculitis, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25970226/
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Cocoa reduces inflammation in fat tissue - implications in cellulite reduction

  • Fat tissue is quite often in a chronic state of low-grade inflammation, which is a risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, adipose tissue inflammation is one of the aspects of cellulite, which is related to glycation and oxidative damage, also found in cellulite.
  • Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is a polyphenol-rich food with well-known anti-inflammatory activities which can help fight fat tissue inflammation - and consequently cellulite.
  • A new study has now found how cocoa fights adipose tissue inflammation caused by high fat diet: cocoa supplementation reduces the levels of several inflammation-related markers in fat tissue, including TNF-alpha, iNOS, arachidonic acid, adipose-specific phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and plasma endotoxin by up to 60%.
  • This practically means that cocoa, especially high-polyphenol cocoa, can be safely and effectively used to fight inflammation in fat tissue and help reduce cellulite. 
  • Furthermore, high polyphenol cocoa extract may be used in anti-cellulite creams to help fight inflammation in cellulite. This is in addition to cocoa's well-known skin firming and circulation enhancing properties, which also help fight cellulite, offering a triple effect against cellulite. 
  • Dark chocolate, a food rich in cocoa polyphenols but also in sugar, is not an amazing anti-inflammatory food (sugar is known to promote inflammation), but it is still better than any other sugar-rich food. So practically, chocolate can not be used to fight fat tissue inflammation or cellulite, despite it's high cocoa content.
  • Source: Dietary cocoa reduces metabolic endotoxemia and adipose tissue inflammation in high-fat fed mice, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24561154
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Botox for fat loss? Are you serious?

  • I saw a client a couple of days ago who came for face contouring on the under chin / jowl area and to my surprise she said that she also received Botox injections on that area for fat loss. 
  • As is well known, botulinum toxin (Botox) is a nerve toxin which relaxes muscles in order to reduce the appearance of wrinkles (muscles are attached to the skin of the face and when they contract they cause wrinkles - by relaxing the muscles you gradually soften the wrinkles).
  • However, Botox has no effect whatsoever on fat cells, so the injections on the under chin / jaw area  were suggested out of pure greed and they will have no other effect other than reduce the bank balance of my client and increase that of the Botox provider.
  • I hear about similar misleading claims every day: liposuction that reduces cellulite (this is impossible), cellulite reduction with one session (ditto), fillers injected in all the wrong places and Botox injected to tone up facial muscles (which is the opposite of what Botox does) - the list is endless.
  • it is sad to see people being misled by unscrupulous practitioners, which has the end result of making people cynical and resentful and hurts the entire aesthetic and cosmetic industry... 
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How to help prevent sun damage by blocking COX-2

  • COX-2 is one of the most common inflammatory enzymes in the body and a recent study has discovered that levels of this enzyme are elevated in collagen cells (fibroblasts) and keratin cells (keratinocytes) of women who had sun damaged skin - these levels were found to be much higher than in women with normal ageing.
  • The authors of the study explain that  "The results indicate that COX-2 (cyclooxygenase-2) may be involved in the pathogenesis of the photoaging process. Inhibition of expression or activity of the enzyme may find application in photoaging treatment and/or prophylaxis."
  • Practically this means that eating foods rich in natural COX-2 blockers, such as oily fish and turmeric, taking fish oil or turmeric food supplements or applying anti-ageing creams rich in boswellia extract or curcumin extract, all of which are known to block COX-2, can help partially prevent sun damage. 
  • Source: Increase in cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts in photoaged skin, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25196686
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How the fat cell hormone leptin affects breast cancer

  • "More than one million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed worldwide each year and more than 400,000 deaths are caused by the disease. The origin of this pathology is multifactorial and involved genetic, hormonal, environmental and nutritional factors including obesity in women after menopause. The role played by the adipose tissue and their secretions, ie adipokines, is beginning to be recognised."
  • Fat cells secrete hormones, called adipokines, which can affect breast cells both locally in the breast (breast cells, including breast cancer cells are surrounded by fat cells, especially in obese women) and remotely, via the blood circulation.
  • Leptin, a fat cell hormone whose levels are elevated in obesity or overweight, appears to be strongly involved in breast cancer cell creation (mammary carcinogenesis) and may contribute to inflammation, oxidative damage and cancer cell immunity, especially in obese patients (such patients have increased potential for metastasis and greater risk of death from cancer.
  • Leptin levels are naturally reduced by eating a diet low in sugar, carbs and saturated fat and rich in fruit, vegetables and oily fish, increasing exercise and in general by losing weight and all those measures are also known to contribute in the fight against beast cancer. Several herbal extracts, such as curcumin, EGCG from green tea and dozens others are also known to reduce fat cell inflammation, oxidative stress and also help prevent cancer.
  • Source: Leptin, adipocytes and breast cancer: Focus on inflammation and anti-tumor immunity, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25957709
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