The skin tightening & cellulite experts
"I look at myself in the mirror: there appears to be hardly any cellulite at all, my skin is much firmer and the dimples are obviously reduced", Daily Mail
Beauty through nature and technology
At LipoTherapeia you can have treatment with Meso-CRF®, an exclusive combination of deep tissue radiofrequency and real electromesotherapy with 40x natural actives including 95% pure curcumin (turmeric extract), hyaluronic acid, EGCG (green tea extract), resveratrol, cocoa polyphenols, forskolin, centella (gotu kola extract), carnosine, liposomal caffeine, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and 30x other natural, high-purity, high-concentration actives.
No other clinic in the world offers this exclusive combination of advanced technologies and pure actives, for maximum results, naturally.
PRICES / TREATMENT MENU
We currently offer the following signature treatments (45'):
Meso-CRF® Thighs & Booty (front/back)
Meso-CRF® BootyLift Intensive
Meso-CRF® ThighGap Intensive
Introductory session: £145
6x sessions: £870 (£145/session)
12x sessions: £1620 (£135/session)
We also offer the following popular double sessions (90'):
Meso-CRF® Facial + Décolletage
Meso-CRF® Facial + Thighs & Booty
Meso-CRF® Thighs & Booty (front+back)
Introductory session: £290
6x sessions: £1620 (£270/session)
12x sessions: £3240 (£270/session)
Science-based skin tightening & cellulite reduction
To offer you the absolutely best advice, treatment and skin products we daily follow all the scientific research, assess all new equipment and test all new natural actives relative to skin tightening and cellulite reduction. And we share all this knowledge via our blog.
All our treatments are based on physics and biology, not beauty therapy myths, and are offered by an expert with 16-year experience, not a machine operator. Meso-CRF® treatments are pain-free, non-invasive, super-safe and require zero downtime (you can go straight to work after face or body treatment). During the last 16 years we have treated more than 2,600 clients and have provided more than 16,000 cellulite and skin tightening procedures.
Our before & after treatment pictures are 100% Photoshop-free and our cream testimonies are 100% genuine. Our treatments, creams and expert advice are regularly featured in most major national magazines, newspapers and TV, including the Daily Mail, Cosmopolitan, OK, Grazia, the Times, Telegraph, Express, Daily Mirror, She, BBC among others.
At LipoTherapeia we will not sell you miracles or make exaggerated claims about "instant cellulite removal", "fat melting" and "permanent" skin tightening with just 1-3 sessions (as falsely advertised by many aesthetic clinics) because this is biologically impossible. Instead, we always offer honest, science-based advice (what to expect on your first session; you can also check our frequently asked questions). Please note that, as with any treatment or body product, results vary from person to person.
Dedicated treatments and protocols are also available for specific needs: office workers; post-lipo treatments (after liposuction / tummy tuck / vaser / laser lipo); after pregnancy; slim women with cellulite / skin laxity; models and dancers; overweight women; while you lose weight; when you cannot exercise; Meso-CRF® Clarity treatments for acne-prone skin; Celluence® Dynamic Cellulite Massage, for those who prefer hands-only treatment for cellulite; DermaPen® Original for stretch marks, acne, scar reduction and anti-ageing anywhere on the face/body.
Cellulite science in a bottle
At LipoTherapeia we have also developed Celluence® the ultimate leg wellness / cellulite creams. The Celluence® creams contain the same 40x high-purity natural actives we use for our treatments, in high concentrations, for maximum results. No other cellulite creams in the world contain ALL the important anti-cellulite actives in one bottle.
"Amazing, I haven't seen my body looking this smooth and toned in years!", Sunday Mirror
The Peach Factor Blog
The Peach Factor offers expert advice and the latest science on natural actives, anti-ageing, skin firming, cellulite, slimming and overall health, based on our 16-year research and practical experience in those fields
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Do all women have pre cellulite on their arms and legs when they do the pinch test? Does this mean that those areas will continue to advance if diet/lifestyle changes aren't made? [reader's question]
We have discussed pre-cellulite in another article and this gave rise to the above question by one of our readers.
All women have a "pre-cellulite" fibrous structure on the superficial connective tissue found within their hypodermis itself (lower part of the skin) and under the hypodermis. In the absence of enough amounts of fat, water retention, or both, this structure is either not visible with a pinch test, or barely visible. That's pre-cellulite: cellulite structure, just about visible with a pinch test. This is natural and normal. Of course, "not visible at all" is better than "barely visible", but both are absolutely fine at this stage.
Men also have this structure, especially if exposed to estrogenic factors, such as xenoestrogens from plastics, estrogen produced in their fat cells (yes, fat cells do produce estrogen), or even sex change hormones. However, most men though have this structure minimised, and also hidden underneath hair, so it irrelevant.
To answer the second part of the question: yes, cellulite will always develop from pre-cellulite, in most women and some men, if diet/lifestyle is unhealthy.
The different cellulite stages
In women, though, in most cases there is enough amount of fat within the skin itself, or under the skin, to make the actual cellulite structure visible. In this case we are talking about cellulite proper. This is "stage 1" cellulite, i.e. cellulite that is clearly visible with a pinch test.
Stage 2 refers to cellulite clearly visible while standing, while stage 3 refers to cellulite clearly visible while lying down.
Of course different aspects of the same thighs will have different stages of cellulite progression, perhaps stage 3 on the buttocks and saddlebags, stage 2 everywhere else etc.
Isn't cellulite just a normal aspect of being a woman?
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, and cellulite due to it's ubiquity may be considered today as a common aspect of the female physique.
However, that does not mean that cellulite is NOT normal (in the absence of sugar consumption, drinking, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, overweight or all the above, cellulite is non-existent or minimal), or that is is NOT healthy (cellulite is characterised by water retention, inflammation and fibrosis - definitely not the healthiest physical changes).
Obesity and overweight may becoming more and more aesthetically and socially acceptable in today's Western world, a world where people feed themselves with bucketloads of sugar and cheap fat and carbs every year. However, obesity and overweight is not "normal" and it is not healthy, being a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, among multiple other conditions.
In the same way, pre-cellulite is normal, but cellulite is neither normal nor healthy.
Fat shaming and cellulite shaming
Lately a campaign called "cellulite Saturday" is gaining ground, calling for the acceptance of the cellulite appearance and encouraging women to be "proud" of their cellulite.
Here at LipoTherapeia, we do not agree with any type of "fat shaming", "cellulite shaming" or any other "shaming". We do encourage all clients to love and accept their bodies, firstly. Then, secondarily, if they wish to improve their appearance, that is a positive step from a positive beginning.
I am sure we all agree that physical appearance should not be a reason to judge someone negatively. But on the other hand, we should not pretend that overweight or cellulite are "normal". They may be common in the Western world, but they are not "normal" at all, at least from a health perspective.
So, however commentable "cellulite Saturdays" or similar campaigns may be, we do not agree with "normalising", or even worse, glamorising overweight and cellulite, neither with being "proud" about them.
Forskolin, lipolysis, fat tissue inflammation and circulation
In a study published last week it was shown that forskolin, one of the most important lipolytic natural chemicals, also inhibits fat tissue inflammation, making it a valuable anti-obesity and anti-cellulite natural agent.
Fat tissue inflammation is the major cause of obesity's adverse health complications, so fighting fat tissue inflammation is an important step in restoring health in obese and overweight individuals.
One of the most important leg wellness actives
Previous studies have also shown that, in addition to it's widely recognised slimming properties, and the newly discovered anti-inflammatory action, forskolin also boosts local circulation, thereby helping maintain leg wellness and fight cellulite in three fronts: fat tissue inflammation, fat reduction and circulation enhancement.
Forskolin works best topically and in combination with caffeine, raspberry ketone and other natural phytochemicals as actives in a high concentration leg wellness cream formulation.
- Paper: Forskolin Inhibits Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Modulation of MCP-1 and GPR120 in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes through an Inhibition of NFκB.
- Abstract: In an obese state, Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) upregulates proinflammatory adipokines secretion including monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) in adipose tissue. In contrast, G-protein coupled receptor 120 (GPR120) mediates antiobesity effects. The aim of this study was to determine the signaling pathway by which Forskolin (FK), a cyclic adenosine monophosphate- (cAMP-) promoting agent causing positive changes in body composition in overweight and obese adult men, affects MCP-1 and GPR120 expression during an inflammatory response induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in adipocytes, such as in an obese state. 3T3-L1 cells differentiated into adipocytes (DC) were stimulated with LPS in the absence or presence of FK and inhibitors of TLR-4 and inhibitor of kappa B (IκBα). In DC, LPS increased MCP-1, TLR-4, and nuclear factor-κB1 (NFκB1) mRNA levels, whereas it decreased GPR120 mRNA levels. In DC, FK inhibited the LPS-induced increase in MCP-1, TLR-4, and NFκB1 mRNA levels and the LPS-induced decrease in GPR120 mRNA. BAY11-7082 and CLI-095 abolished these LPS-induced effects. In conclusion, FK inhibits LPS-induced increase in MCP-1 mRNA levels and decrease in GPR120 mRNA levels in adipocytes and may be a potential treatment for inflammation in obesity. Furthermore, TLR-4-induced activation of NFκB may be involved in the LPS-induced regulation of these genes.
- Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27881903/
Cocoa, arterial health, anti-ageing and microcirculation
One of the most important and best researched health properties of cocoa / cacao is it's reduction of arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness is an important risk factor of cardiovascular health disease.
In this new 12-week study on postmenopausal women published last month it was found that consuming a cocoa drink containing 40mg of flavanols per day, or 80mg every second day, significantly improved artery elasticity. The improvement was similar in both groups (daily and alternate day consumption).
Typical cocoa products found on supermarkets do contain the 40mg used for the study, while special high antioxidant cocoa products can contain more than 250mg per service, which do have even more pronounced results, not only in arterial stiffness improvement but also in micro-circulation, anti-ageing and connective tissue protection.
For all these reasons, high flavanol cocoa is also an important active in anti-ageing and quality leg wellness creams.
- Paper: Habitual cocoa intake reduces arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women regardless of intake frequency: a randomized parallel-group study.
- Abstract: Arterial stiffness is substantially higher in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women. Daily cocoa intake has been shown to reduce central arterial stiffness in health adults, regardless of age; however, the effect of cocoa-intake frequency on arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women remains unclear. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of cocoa-intake frequency on arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women. A total of 26 postmenopausal women (mean age ± standard deviation 64±12 years) were randomly assigned to two groups with different cocoa-intake frequencies: one group ingested 17 g of cocoa once daily except on Sundays (every-day group, n=13), and the other ingested 17 g of cocoa twice daily every other day (every-other-day group, n=13). These intake regimens were maintained in both groups for 12 weeks. Carotid-femoral pulse-wave velocity and femoral-ankle pulse-wave velocity were measured in both groups at baseline and again at the end of the 12-week study period. Compared to baseline, both pulse-wave velocities had significantly decreased after the 12-week study period in both groups (P<0.05). However, no significant difference in degree of change was observed between the two groups. Although this study did not include a sedentary control group, these results suggest that regardless of frequency, habitual cocoa intake reduces central and peripheral arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.
- Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27881914/
Why is post-lipo aftercare is needed
Like all surgery, some aftercare treatments are essential after all types of liposuction, even if liposuction is performed by a very skilled surgeon. This is because pain and swelling always follow any intrusive procedure. The following side effects typically occur:
- Loose skin (with plain lipo)
- Excessive hardening of the skin (with vaser / smart lipo / bodytite)
- Scar tissue formation / bumps (with all procedures)
- Lumps of fat left unremoved (with all procedures)
- Skin adhesion onto the underlying tissue, which leads to movement restriction (with all procedures, but especially so with vaser / smart lipo / bodytite)
Post-lipo aftercare treatment timeline
The recommended treatments differ depending on the timeline after surgery. Here is a short list:
- Day 3-20: Focusing on pain, swelling and tissue healing. During the first 2-3 weeks post-lipo aftercare treatments are very gentle and aim to minimise pain and swelling and prevent excessive scar tissue from forming. Mild lymphatic drainage massage by hand or with special lymphatic drainage equipment is needed in the first few days after any liposuction surgery. A firmer massage - but not too strong - must be applied from the second week onwards.
- Day 21+: Focusing on scar tissue breakdown and cellulite reduction. From the third week onwards treatment can become progressively more vigorous: stronger lymphatic stimulation massage is preferred to the "fluffy" MLD variety used the first three weeks. In addition to reducing water retention, stronger massage also helps with the breakdown of scar tissue / hard bumps that typically form after lipo surgery, reduce fatty lumps and reduce cellulite (which liposuction does NOT remove), uncouple skin stuck on underlying tissue and increase range of movement.
- Day 60+: After about 8 weeks you can start having a strong radiofrequency treatment to more effectively break down leftover fat and cellulite and tighten up the skin.
A good, multi-ingredient cellulite cream can help enormously
A good anti-cellulite cream, i.e. a cream that contains anti-inflammatory, circulation/lymph drainage-enhancing and lipolytic ingredients, should offer valuable with recovery as well as with cellulite and residual fat removal, and it can be applied throughout the different stages of recovery.
Cream application can start immediately, as long as contact with the portals (cannula insertion points) is avoided while the wounds are still open.
- Most people are asymmetrical for various reasons and in many women cellulite, water retention and deep fat levels are worse on one leg than the other. Usually the right side is worse in most women.
- The explanation is simple: most people tend to stand putting more pressure on one leg or cross their legs, compressing one leg more than the other.
- As a result, venous return and lymphatic drainage is hindered on that leg, which means reduced removal of water, waste products and fatty acids from the fat tissues of that specific leg. This leads to more cellulite, water retention and fat.
- To make matters worse, fat can still enter the fat tissues, as arterial flow is much stronger than venous return and lymph drainage.
- Any other cause of poor lymphatic or venous function on one leg, apart from compressing the leg by crossing it or by putting pressure on it while standing, can also lead to more pronounced cellulite on that leg.
- The solution to this problem is simple: prevent cellulite by being very active and by not supporting yourself on one specific side / crossing your legs. And have a course of intensive cellulite treatments, with most of the treatment time spent on the more affected leg than the other.
- Cellulite creams act more slowly (but then again they are more economical than treatments), so it does not make sense to apply just to the "worse" leg. So use a concentrated cellulite cream on both legs, and when you are happy with the results on the "good" leg, continue with applying the cream only on the more affected leg.
Hydrolysed collagen: not just an anti-ageing compound
Lack of estrogen is considered to be one of the factors that lead to weight gain and obesity during after menopause.
An in-vivo study published last week has shown that supplementation with hydrolysed collagen inhibits weight gain during menopause and also reduced the tendency for larger fat cells that was associated with menopause. This weight gain inhibition was more pronounced with higher dosages.
Hydrolysed collagen is already widely used for it's anti-ageing skin benefits, so the possibility that collagen can also help with weight loss, even to a limited extent, makes hydrolysed collagen supplements all the more appealing.
- Paper: Amelioration of estrogen deficiency-induced obesity by collagen hydrolysate
- Abstract: Objectives: Menopausal transition with declining estrogen levels significantly affects the physiological properties of women and consequently contributes to a series of medical conditions, including obesity. Obesity is a crucial risk factor associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and breast cancer. Increasing dietary protein content improves satiety and energy expenditure. Thus, we hypothesize that supplementing with collagen, a common dietary protein, may alleviate menopause-induced obesity. Methods: We used ovariectomized (OVX) rats to mimic a menopausal human. The body weight of OVX rats significantly increased compared with that of sham-operated rats (P<0.05), but uterus weight was decreased. Adipocyte size in perigonadal adipose tissue also increased (P<0.05). Results: By contrast, OVX rats supplemented with aqueous collagen hydrolysate (2.5 mg/mL) exhibited significant attenuation in body weight gain and adipocyte enlargement (P<0.05), but insignificant change in uterus weight. Further investigation indicated that collagen hydrolysate supplementation insignificantly affected the levels of dorsal fat, serum total cholesterol, and serum triacylglycerol. Levels of serum biochemical factors, calcium, phosphorus, and glucose were also insignificantly altered by collagen hydrolysate supplementation. Conclusion: Collagen hydrolysate supplementation reduced body weight gain and adipocyte enlargement in response to ovariectomy but slightly affected blood lipids, calcium, and glucose in both sham-operated and OVX rats. Collagen hydrolysate supplementation is beneficial in ameliorating estrogen deficiency-induced obesity and its associated risk factors.
- Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27877077
Is glycation the cause of today's obesity and degeneration disease epidemic?
A new study published last month has shown that a high-fat diet rich in AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) induces overweight / obesity faster than an equivalent high-fat but low-AGE diet.
This study shows that AGEs accelerate fatty liver and obesity, when combined with a high fat diet, but similar results should be expected with a AGE-rich, high carb diet, as it seems both diets are fattening and glycation plays the role of accelerator of fattening.
What are AGEs / advanced glycation end-products?
Advanced glycation end-products are produced when sugar reacts with protein, either during cooking or inside the body. Sugar-rich foods and overcooked protein-rich foods, both lead to the creation of AGEs.
The evils of dry-heated protein and of sugary food
For example, dry-cooked meat, i.e. barbecued, fried, grilled, broiled or over-roasted meat, is extremely high in AGEs. Caramelised or crispy protein is exactly a glycated protein. Fried bacon, for example, contains 38,985% more AGEs than smoked ham! Other dry-heated, high-protein foods are also quite high in AGEs. Conversely, protein cooked in moist heat produces very few AGEs.
Furthermore, high-temperature, dry-heated food also lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines, benzopyrenes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known carcinogens. In addition, fried food leads to the creation of lipid peroxidation products and advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), also very detrimental to health, especially cardiovascular health and skin ageing.
Over-grilled, charred food, so popular in the UK, is one of the richest sources of AGEs, benzopyrenes, lipid peroxidation products and AOPPs.
On the other hand, sugar-rich foods, cooked or uncooked, produce AGEs inside the body, as opposed to dry-heated protein where AGEs are produced during cooking.
AGEs are know to contribute to ageing, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cellulite, and this new study has shown that they also lead to faster weight gain and fatty liver disease. From this perspective, a low-AGE diet seems to be essential in the fight against overweight, obesity and degeneration diseases that plague people the modern world.
"What can I practically do?"
- Keep to low-heat, moist-cooked food, rather than high-heat, dry-cooked or fried food. Marinated meat or meat cooked with a little water in the oven and covered (not wrapped) with some aluminium foil is far better than broiled, grilled, charred or fried meat. The same applies to all other protein-rich foods. This may sound boring, but with some nice marinade, food can be as tasty as grilled food, so try to become an expert cook in marinades, instead of a barbecue expert. Besides, skin ageing, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cellulite is far more boring...
- Avoid sugar and all sugary food, at all costs
- Have a diet rich in vegetables and fruit, both known to contain substances that fight glycation. The antioxidant chlorogenic acid, for example, found in numerous vegetables, herbs and green coffee, helps fight glycation. Moreover, the flavonoid quercetin has recently been found to reduce glycation by 60%. More and more natural chemicals from fruit and veg are discovered every year that can fight glycation, so you can't go wrong by increasing your intake!
- The aminoacid carnosine is the strongest natural anti-glygation agent we currently know. Take 500-2,000mg of carnosine daily to help mitigate some of the effects of glycation (always consult a healthcare professional first)
- On skin, use a quality, concentrated cream that is rich in chlorogenic acid and carnosine for topical protection against glycation
- Paper: Advanced Glycation End Products Induce Obesity and Hepatosteatosis in CD-1 Wild-Type Mice.
- Abstract: AGEs are a heterogeneous group of molecules formed from the nonenzymatic reaction of reducing sugars with free amino groups of proteins, lipids, and/or nucleic acids. AGEs have been shown to play a role in various conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In this study, we hypothesized that AGEs play a role in the "multiple hit hypothesis" of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and contribute to the pathogenesis of hepatosteatosis. We measured the effects of various mouse chows containing high or low AGE in the presence of high or low fat content on mouse weight and epididymal fat pads. We also measured the effects of these chows on the inflammatory response by measuring cytokine levels and myeloperoxidase activity levels on liver supernatants. We observed significant differences in weight gain and epididymal fat pad weights in the high AGE-high fat (HAGE-HF) versus the other groups. Leptin, TNF-α, IL-6, and myeloperoxidase (MPO) levels were significantly higher in the HAGE-HF group. We conclude that a diet containing high AGEs in the presence of high fat induces weight gain and hepatosteatosis in CD-1 mice. This may represent a model to study the role of AGEs in the pathogenesis of hepatosteatosis and steatohepatitis.
- Link: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2016/7867852
Curcumin: the natural anti-inflammatory from turmeric now shows to reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms
Previous studies have found that "curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and clinical benefits in cancer and asthma".
In this recently published randomized, double-blind study, 241 patients with hayfever received either placebo or oral curcumin for 2 months and the study showed that curcumin improved hayfever symptoms (sneezing, drippy nose and nasal congestion( by reducing airflow resistance through the nasal passages.
Curcumin achieved that by reducing swelling of the nose mucous membranes, due to reduced histamine production / inflammation, which in turn was due to curcumin's diverse immunomodulatory (immune balancing) effects.
Specifically, curcumin suppressed the inflammatory proteins IL-4, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF alpha) and increased production of the immunomodulatory protein IL-10 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule.
As a conclusion, the study authors note that "this pilot study provides the first evidence of the capability of curcumin of improving nasal airflow and modulating immune response in patients with allergic rhinitis".
- Paper: Effect of curcumin on nasal symptoms and airflow in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis
- Abstract: BACKGROUND: Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a common disorder that can significantly affect patient quality of life. Previous studies have found that curcumin had anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and clinical benefits in cancer and asthma. OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy of curcumin in the treatment of AR and to explore the molecular mechanisms involved. METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind study, 241 patients with AR received either placebo or oral curcumin for 2 months. The therapeutic effects of curcumin were evaluated by nasal symptoms and nasal airflow resistance. In addition, the production of interferon γ, interleukin (IL) 4, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor α from mononuclear cells and IL-8, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule, polyethylene glycol 2, and leukotriene C4 from polymorphonuclear neutrophils were compared before and after curcumin treatment. RESULTS: Curcumin alleviated nasal symptoms (sneezing and rhinorrhea) and nasal congestion through reduction of nasal airflow resistance. Curcumin was found to exert diverse immunomodulatory effects, including suppression of IL-4, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor α and increased production of IL-10 and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule. However, curcumin did not affect the release of prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene C4 from polymorphonuclear neutrophils. CONCLUSION: This pilot study provides the first evidence of the capability of curcumin of improving nasal airflow and modulating immune response in patients with AR.
- Link: http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(16)31054-7/abstract
Topical 18-beta glycyrrhetinic acid reduces local fat - and subsequently cellulite
Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active principle of licorice root, blocks 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, which in turn reduces the availability of cortisol at the level of adipocytes. Cortisol is known for it's lipogenic / adipogenic activity (helps grow fat tissue).
In this study, scientists used a 2.5% glycyrrhetinic acid cream for one month and measurement showered that "both the circumference and the thickness of the superficial fat layer of the thighs were significantly reduced in comparison to the untreated thigh and to control subjects treated with the placebo cream".
No changes were observed in blood pressure, plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone or cortisol, which means that glycyrrhetinic acid was not absorbed into the general circulation.
The researchers concluded that "glycyrrhetinic acid could be effectively used in the reduction of unwanted local fat accumulation".
As cellulite is more superficial to the deep fat layer measured in this study, glycyrrhetinic acid should have an even more pronounced effect on cellulite, making glycyrrhetinic acid and ideal cellulite cream active ingredient.
- Paper: Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active principle of licorice, can reduce the thickness of subcutaneous thigh fat through topical application.
- Abstract: Cortisol is involved in the distribution and deposition of fat, and its action is regulated by the activity of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active principle of licorice root, blocks 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, thus reducing the availability of cortisol at the level of adipocytes. We evaluated the effect of topical application of a cream containing glycyrrhetinic acid in the thickness of fat at the level of the thigh. Eighteen healthy women (age range 20-33 years) with normal BMI were randomly allocated to treatment, at the level of the dominant thigh, with a cream containing 2.5% glycyrrhetinic acid (n=9) or with a placebo cream containing the excipients alone (n=9). Before and after 1 month of treatment both the circumference and the thickness of the superficial fat layer of the thighs (by ultrasound analysis) were measured. The circumference and the thickness of the superficial fat layer were significantly reduced in comparison to the controlateral untreated thigh and to control subjects treated with the placebo cream. No changes were observed in blood pressure, plasma renin activity, plasma aldosterone or cortisol. The effect of glycyrrhetinic acid on the thickness of subcutaneous fat was likely related to a block of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 at the level of fat cells; therefore, glycyrrhetinic acid could be effectively used in the reduction of unwanted local fat accumulation.
- Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0039128X05000577
Cellulite and exercise | Cellulite eliminating exercises | Exercises for saddlebags and cellulite | Cellulite exercise YouTube
Inactivity is a major cause of cellulite, even with a perfect diet. On the tour hand, exercise does help gradually and slowly reduce cellulite. Best types of exercise against cellulite are, in order of effectiveness: interval sprinting (that can be running, cycling, rowing, uphill walking, spinning etc.); power-plate training; continuous (non-interval) running; continuous swimming or cycling; fast walking; intensive forms of Pilates and Yoga. Anything else, including the softer types of Pilates and Yoga, do not help much. For faster, better results you must combine exercise with diet and a concentrated cellulite cream and/or a strong cellulite treatment.
Cellulite and estrogen
Estrogen is a major cause of cellulite and the main reason why women get and men don't get cellulite. It is also the reason why male-to-female transexuals develop cellulite. Estrogen-containing contraceptive pills/implants/injections do cause cellulite. Women with higher levels of oestrogen (oestrogen dominance) are also more susceptible to cellulite. Hormone replacement therapy / HRT also causes cellulite in perimenopausal / menopausal women. To reduce cellulite caused by estrogen, try alternative methods of contraception / natural methods of menopause symptom management, and combine with exercise and diet. For faster resets, consider a good cellulite cream and/or treatment.
Cellulite and essential oils
Most essential oils significantly boost circulation and some of them may also inhibit fat accumulation, although research is limited. Good examples are essential oils of the lemon, mandarin, orange, pine, cypress, mint etc. Some essential oils though, such as lavender, have an estrogenic action, so they should not be used for cellulite. The problem with essential oils for cellulite reduction is that with continuous use they become irritating. Always dilute essential oils in carrier oil at less than 3% concentration, before applying on skin. Never use internally.
Cellulite and eating meat
Fatty meat will contribute to cellulite, due to the calories contained in it, while lean meat (<7% fat) won't. Meat grilled at very high temperatures does taste better, but also contains cancer causing and metabolism disrupting chemicals, so it should be avoided. The same applies to cured/processed meat, such as salami, ham etc. Fried meat contains peroxided fat, which seriously disrupts metabolism and health. However, fresh organic lean meat that is not cooked at high temperatures, is absolutely healthy. It provides iron and protein, both of which most women lack, ending up with fatigue and loose skin, respectively. There is really nothing wrong with this kind of meat and it will probably help reduce cellulite, due to it's lean protein and low fat content.
Cellulite and clean eating
Clean eating refers to eating whole unprocessed foods, such as fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, wholemeal grains etc, and it is definitely a cellulite-preventing eating regime. However, the term clean eating has been corrupted to mean all sorts of things to suit different interests. For example agave syrup, maple syrup, honey, having loads of coconut oil, frying "only with good oils" etc are supposed to be "clean eating", when they are not. Sugar is sugar, no matter how natural and unprocessed it is and cannot be part of any "clean eating" diet. Coconut oil still has 9 calories per gram and contrary to popular myth does not burn itself into thin air if you don't exercise or keep your overall calories low. Also, frying is lethal for your heart and your thighs, regardless of the oil you use: all oils become peroxidised, especially the "health ones". And no, coconut oil is not good for frying, it has a very low smoke point, which means it gets chemically damaged by frying. So keep to clean eating to prevent cellulite, but with no "natural" sugars, no frying and no excess fat, even "healthy fats".
Cellulite and thigh exercises
Thigh exercises are great for muscle toning UNDERNEATH cellulite-afflicted skin, but they did nothing about cellulite itself. It is impossible to reduce cellulite on an area of skin by exercising the muscle beneath that area of skin. So don't waste money and time on videos and web articles on thigh exercises for cellulite. Intensive overall exercise, as described above, healthy eating, and if possible, a good cellulite cream and a strong treatment are your best chances of reducing cellulite. By all means, do loads of squats to tighten up your butt, but cellulite on your butt will not reduce AT ALL just because of those squats.
Cellulite and epsom salts
Epsom salt baths may help reduce water retention temporarily (due to osmosis transfer of fluids), improving the appearance of cellulite for a day or two, but that's all. Epsom salts are "healthy" and make you feel good, but they will NOT reduce cellulite in the long-run. It would be nice is life was so easy...
Cellulite everywhere | Universal cellulite
Quite a few women suffer from cellulite almost anywhere on their body: calves, thighs, butt, stomach, upper arms, you name it. Normally mild cellulite appears on one or two areas, usually thighs and buttocks, so cases of cellulite throughout the body are quite progressed, both in terms of time and severity. Cellulite has been developing for years, starting usually on the thighs and buttocks and then affecting more areas. Thighs and butt have quite a lot of cellulite, usually stage 2, 3 or even 4, with arms, stomach and calves having cellulite stage 1, 2 or even 3. Although cellulite is not a disease and at least a little cellulite occurs in more than 90% of women, "universal cellulite" shows that there is a serious underlying health problem, usually due to poor diet, stress, no exercise, hormonal imbalances, medication etc. It is probably impossible to have "universal cellulite" and be healthy or living a healthy lifestyle. Cellulite, especially progressed cellulite, signifies excess fat accumulation, poor circulation, skin looseness, fibrosis, inflammation, glycation and oxidative damage, and those physiological changes are causes/symptoms of several degeneration diseases. In this case, cellulite can be treated holistically with healthy diet, exercise, treatments, creams and, if necessary, by medical intervention (balancing hormones, changing medication etc).
(Quick answers to your queries on our website. For more detailed info simply please use the search button above.)
Best skin tightening machine for home use
Radio frequency devices for home use
Such a thing as a "good skin tightening machine for home use" does not exist. Home use cosmetic machines, such as radiofrequency and ultrasound machines, are deliberately made weak to avoid injury. Even professional machines are not strong enough (most of them, anyway), so don't expect much from a home use skin tighenting machine. Don't waste your money. For our super-strong, super-safe professional RF treatment, click here.
Facial radio frequency machine
Radiofrequency is one of the best anti-ageing technologies for the face (together with some - but not all - lasers) and THE best skin tightening technology (much better than laser, as it penetrates much deeper). Look for monopolar radiofrequency, which penetrates deeper and is much stronger than bipolar / tripolar. Check our facial RF treatment here.
What cellulite treatments really work
Best cellulite treatment uk
Cellulite is notorious to treat and most such treatments simply do not work. Look for a treatment that combines multiple, high-strength technologies and multiple, high-concentration actives for a good result with cellulite reduction. The best technologies are monopolar radiofrequency and to a lesser extent ultrasound cavitation and electromesotherapy; and the best actives are forskolin, centella, caffeine and escin, among several others. Check ours here.
Beware: cellulite reduction is not easily seen in "before and after photos" by untrained individuals, so most such pictures are blatantly fake (different light before/after, photoshop-ed, stolen from other websites etc). BTW, ours are 100% real - same light, no photoshop, all taken at our own clinic :)
Gotu kola for loose skin
Gotu kola before and after
Gotu kola / centella asiatica is unarguably the most important herb for skin tightening. Our cellulite creams and treatments contain highly purified gotu kola in high concentrations and in combination with multiple other actives. Regarding the "before and after" gotu kola pics, please read the "cellulite photos" paragraph above.
Pregnancy does cause cellulite, especially during the last 3 months before labour. To prevent/minimise it, power-walk a lot (better than anything else); eat lots of veg and fruit; and after you give birth have a course of six intensive cellulite treatments.
RF for face slimming
The best technology for face slimming without surgery is monopolar radiofrequency (not bipolar RF, which is too superficial and does not reach the hypodermis, where all the fat is located). A course of 12 sessions is needed for good results without side-effects. Check our super-intensive, super-comfortable RF facial treatment here.
Pressotherapy does it work
Pressotherapy is great for circulation enhancement, lymphatic drainage and water retention reduction - we love it! For cellulite, pressotherapy lags well behind radiofrequency and cavitation in effectiveness, but nevertheless it is an economical and relaxing treatment. Machines vary in effectiveness, so do your research first.
Treatment after liposuction
Immediately after liposuction (from the first week) a mild treatment such as manual lymphatic drainage is recommended. You can also use a good multifunctional cellulite cream - just keep it away from the portals (inception points). From the third week onwards you can have a quite strong manual massage to help with healing and scar tissue avoidance. From the eighth week onwards you can start radiofrequency and ultrasound cavitation to tighten up loose skin, minimise leftover fatty bumps and reduce cellulite (cellulite looks much worse worse after lipo; and no, lipo does not work on cellulite).
Cellulite worse before period
The water retention that occurs before your period will also make cellulite look puffier, i.e. worse. Best thing is to use a good anti-cellulite cream, which will help boost circulation and drain some water from your skin; eat lots of veg and fruit; and do some exercise. Massage and cellulite treatments will definitely help, more than anything.
What is a body melt treatment
Nothing, Doesn't exist. Body does not melt after any kind of treatment (thank God!), neither fat does. Fat is already liquid in the body, it does not need to melt. No external treatment can melt body fat tissue. A good radiofrequency or ultrasound cavitation treatment can help you reduce cellulite and (some) body fat, by stimulating the release of fat from fat cells and the early death of fat cells. But nothing melts, nothing liquifies. Only misinformed people talk about "fat melting treatments", so don't listen to them. Vaser / laser liposuction surgery utilises a special cannula that melts and sucks fat our of your body, but these are not "treatments", they are surgery procedures.
Power plate results
Power plate is ideal for circulation improvement; bone density improvement; cartilage, ligament and tendon strengthening; skin firming; and cellulite reduction / prevention. It's awesome and you don't need to do much - just squat, or even stand, for 10-20', three times a week. Don't sit on it - it's no good for you. Results do not appear in days, they appear in weeks/months, but it's well worth your patience and perseverance. The immediate circulation boost is also nice :)
Cocoa, berries and red wine
Sirtuins are a group of body chemicals known for their anti-aging / longevity benefits, and the mast few years more and more studies examine their action against fat accumulation / overweight.
In this new paper, published last week, it was shown that "SIRT1 acts as a crucial repressor of adipogenesis", i.e. SIRT1 stops the growth of new fat cells (contrary to the urban myth, the body continuously creates new fat cells as old ones die off). By halting the growth of new fat cells, it is possible to reduce adiposity and lose weight, as the excess fat is directed towards oxidation ("fat burning") by the body.
Other studies in the past have shown that resveratrol and pterostilbene may also have a direct lipolytic / thermogenic action on fat cells. In fact resveratrol and pterostilbene are also used in quality cellulite creams, due to their direct lipolytic action and their activity against fat cell growth and fat accumulation. Creams with high concentrations of these two chemicals are needed to replicate the amounts of resveratrol and pterostilbene used in studies.
Losing weight with resveratrol and pterostilbene
Of course, taking resveratrol or pterostilbene supplements or eating loads of blueberries is not a license to eat anything you fancy and expect to lose or not put on weight. In the end the excess calories will stimulate adipogenic (fattening) chemicals in the body which are much stronger than SIRT1. Between insulin and SIRT1, for example, insulin wins hands-down.
But if you follow a healthy diet and you exercise, SIRT1-stimulating foods and supplements, i.e. foods and supplements rich in resveratrol and pterostilbene, will help you make the most of your weight loss effort and and improve your overall health in the process.
Furthermore, continuous, lifelong consumption of SIRT1-stimulating foods, or resveratrol and pterostilbene supplements, may also help keep you younger for longer (SIRT1 is more known for it's longevity/anti-ageing properties than for it's anti-adipogenic action).
Of course, getting the majority of your resveratrol and pterostilbene from red wine and dark chocolate is not the same as getting it from blackberries and cocoa powder-enriched shakes and smoothies. So don't get too excited about indulging in wine and chocolate in order to stay young and lose weight!
- Paper: SIRT1 suppresses adipogenesis by activating Wnt/β-catenin signaling in vivo and in vitro
- Abstract: Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) regulates adipocyte and osteoblast differentiation. However, the underlying mechanism should be investigated. This study revealed that SIRT1 acts as a crucial repressor of adipogenesis. RNA-interference-mediated SIRT1 knockdown or genetic ablation enhances adipogenic potential, whereas SIRT1 overexpression inhibits adipogenesis in mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). SIRT1 also deacetylates the histones of sFRP1, sFRP2, and Dact1 promoters; inhibits the mRNA expression of sFRP1, sFRP2, and Dact1; activates Wnt signaling pathways; and suppresses adipogenesis. SIRT1 deacetylates β-catenin to promote its accumulation in the nucleus and thus induces the transcription of genes that block MSC adipogenesis. In mice, the partial absence of SIRT1 promotes the formation of white adipose tissues without affecting the development of the body of mice. Our study described the regulatory role of SIRT1 in Wnt signaling and proposed a regulatory mechanism of adipogenesis.
- Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27776347
Fish oil fatty acid EPA helps reduce superficial fat by turning white fat cells "beige"
Fish oil is already well-researched for it's action against fat accumulation, with EPA and DHA, the two main omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil, being responsible for this anti-obesity effect.
Now a new study has shown that the omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) helps control adiposity by turning "white fat" into "beige fat", a process which is aptly named "adipocyte browning" by biologists.
Browning the fat helps turn it from a fat accumulation tissue into fat burning tissue that breaks down fat for heat production, a process called thermogenesis.
More mitochondria = brown colour. More fat = white colour.
EPA was found to be a fat browning and thermorgenic nutrient, that also inhibits fat accumulation and boosts fat oxidation in the fat cells themselves. EPA achieves this by increasing the number of mitochondria in fat cells, the cell power plants, a process which also makes fat cells appear brown, instead of the normal white colour endowed to them by fat droplets inside them.
The scientists conclude the study by stating that their "results suggest that EPA induces a remodeling of adipocyte metabolism preventing fat storage and promoting fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial biogenesis and beige-like markers in human subcutaneous adipocytes from overweight subjects".
Consuming oily fish (sardines, salt-free anchovies, herrings, mackerel, salmon, halibut) three days a week is already known to help maintain/reduce weight. However, to consume the same amount of EPA with fish oil, high-dose fish oil capsules must be used, though (1000+ mg/capsule)
- Paper: Eicosapentaenoic acid promotes mitochondrial biogenesis and beige-like features in subcutaneous adipocytes from overweight subjects.
- Abstract: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, has been reported to have beneficial effects in obesity-associated metabolic disorders. The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of EPA on the regulation of genes involved in lipid metabolism, and the ability of EPA to induce mitochondrial biogenesis and beiging in subcutaneous adipocytes from overweight subjects. Fully differentiated human subcutaneous adipocytes from overweight females (BMI: 28.1-29.8kg/m(2)) were treated with EPA (100-200 μM) for 24 h. Changes in mRNA expression levels of genes involved in lipogenesis, fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial biogenesis were determined by qRT-PCR. Mitochondrial content was evaluated using MitoTracker® Green stain. The effects on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, co-activator 1 alpha (PGC-1α) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) were also characterized. EPA down-regulated lipogenic genes expression while up-regulated genes involved in fatty acid oxidation. Moreover, EPA-treated adipocytes showed increased mitochondrial content, accompanied by an up-regulation of nuclear respiratory factor-1, mitochondrial transcription factor A and cytochrome c oxidase IV mRNA expression. EPA also promoted the activation of master regulators of mitochondrial biogenesis such as sirtuin 1, PGC1-α and AMPK. In parallel, EPA induced the expression of genes that typify beige adipocytes such as fat determination factor PR domain containing 16, uncoupling protein 1 and cell death-inducing DFFA-like effector A, T-Box protein 1 and CD137. Our results suggest that EPA induces a remodeling of adipocyte metabolism preventing fat storage and promoting fatty acid oxidation, mitochondrial biogenesis and beige-like markers in human subcutaneous adipocytes from overweight subjects.
- Link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27637001
Fighting norovirus with curcumin and resveratrol
Curcumin and, to a lesser extent, resveratrol inhibit were the two most potent plant chemicals against norovirus, the diarrhoea and vomiting-causing stomach bug, also known as the "cruise ship" virus.
Curcumin is found in the indian spice turmeric, while resveratrol is found in grapes and berries. The two phytochemicals were found to inhibit norovirus infectivity in the lab by 91% and 80%, respectively. The anti-noroviral effect of curcumin was verified to increase as dose increased.
In closing, the authors suggest that curcumin "may be a promising candidate for development as an anti-noroviral agent to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness".
- Curcumin Shows Antiviral Properties against Norovirus.
- Abstract: Phytochemicals provide environmentally friendly and relatively inexpensive natural products, which could potentially benefit public health by controlling human norovirus (HuNoV) infection. In this study, 18 different phytochemicals were evaluated for antiviral effects against norovirus using murine norovirus (MNV) as a model for norovirus biology. Among these phytochemicals, curcumin (CCM) was the most potent anti-noroviral phytochemical, followed by resveratrol (RVT). In a cell culture infection model, exposure to CCM or RVT for 3 days reduced infectivity of norovirus by 91% and 80%, respectively. To confirm the antiviral capability of CCM, we further evaluated its antiviral efficacy at various doses (0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, and 2 mg/mL) and durations (short-term: 10, 30, 60, and 120 min; long-term: 1, 3, 7, and 14 days). The anti-noroviral effect of CCM was verified to occur in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, we evaluated the inhibitory effect of each phytochemical on the replication of HuNoV using a HuNoV replicon-bearing cell line (HG23). Neither CCM nor RVT had a strong inhibitory effect on HuNoV replication, which suggests that their antiviral mechanism may involve viral entry or other life cycle stages rather than the replication of viral RNA. Our results demonstrated that CCM may be a promising candidate for development as an anti-noroviral agent to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness.
- Link: http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/21/10/1401
Turning our body and our planet into a wasteland, just by overeating
A new paper published this month has examined the impact of overeating on the planet's resources. It is little known that 2 billion people, i.e. a bit less than 30% of the planet's population is either overweight or obese. There are 1.5 billion overweight and 500 million obese people at the moment!
This excess consumption of food causes degenerative disease, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and at the same time it wastes the planet's resources and produces excessive greenhouse gas emissions for it's production.
Metabolic food waste is worse than supermarket/fridge food waste
The authors' main position is that "food eaten above physiological needs, manifesting as obesity, should be considered waste". The authors have actually developed a new metabolic/environmental indicator, named "metabolic food waste" (MFW), corresponding to the amount of food leading to excess body fat and its impact on environment expressed as carbon, water and land footprint.
The researchers studied the dietary habits of 60 overweight and obese people and found out that "the average amount of MFW was of 63.1 kg of food in the overweight and 127.2 kg of food in the obese."
Animal products made up most of the metabolic food waste in both groups, (24.3 kg and 46.5 kg, respectively), followed by "carbs" (cereals, legumes and starchy roots (19.4 kg and 38.9 kg), sugar and sweets (9.0 kg and 16.4 kg) and alcoholic drinks (7.5 kg and 20.1 kg).
(Note: it seems that the obese, at least in this sample, consume quite a lot more alcohol than the mere overweight).
Treating our body as a wasteland
The basic premise of metabolic food waste is that by routinely overeating we literally "dump" toxic waste in our bodies and treat our bodies, specifically our fat cells, as a dumping ground for excess calories. Excess fat accumulation then becomes literally toxic, leading to the production of inflammatory hormones, tissue damage at many different levels and malignant growths.
The ecological impact of metabolic food waste
As expected, animal products where responsible for the highest volumes of carbon emissions, water consumption and land usage needed for their production, followed by carb-rich foods (cereals, pulses and starchy roots).
As the study took place in Italy, the researchers calculated that Italy's metabolic food waste was 2 million kilograms of food for the overweigh and obese.
"Reducing obesity will make a contribution toward achieving sustainable and healthier diets, preserving and re-allocating natural resources for fighting hunger and malnutrition and reducing greenhouse gas emissions", the study authors concluded.
The social, economic and healthcare impact of metabolic food waste
This study did not even look at the economic, social and ecological impact of the medical care needed for the complications of obesity and overweight, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which would further add to the metabolic food waste.
The solution to reducing metabolic food waste on the plant lies on both avoiding food overconsumption and stopping population growth, so that all people on earth can enjoy nutritious food and lifetime health, without undermining the environment we, our children and grandchildren must live in.
The more we consume excess food and the more we "multiply" uncontrollably, based on obsolete religious superstitions, the more planetary resources will be strained and the social, economic, environmental and health costs will mount.
- Paper: Unsustainability of Obesity: Metabolic Food Waste.
- Abstract: The obesity burden, with 1.5 billion overweight (OW) and 500 million obese (OB) worldwide, significantly increased the risk of degenerative diseases. Excessive consumption of foods that are energy dense lead to obesity, which represents a titanic cost for not only the world's health systems but also a substantial ecological cost to the environment. The waste of resources and the unnecessary green house gas emissions (GHGs) emission, due to "obesigen" consumption of foods, have been ignored so far in practical assessments of ecological impacts. Our position is that food eaten above physiological needs, manifesting as obesity, should be considered waste. In this study, we developed a new indicator, metabolic food waste [MFW(kg of food)], corresponding to the amount of food leading to excess body fat and its impact on environment expressed as carbon [Formula: see text], water [MFW(×10 L)], and land footprint [Formula: see text]. Results shows that the average amount of MFW(kg of food) was of 63.1 and 127.2 kg/capita in a observational study on 60 OW and OB subjects. Animal products contributed mostly to MFW(kg of food) in both OW (24.3 kg) and OB (46.5 kg), followed by cereals, legumes and starchy roots (19.4 kg OW; 38.9 kg OB), sugar and sweets (9.0 kg OW; 16.4 kg OB), and alcoholic beverages (7.5 kg OW; 20.1 kg OB). When dietary intake corresponding to MFW was transformed in ecological indexes, animal products displayed the highest values for carbon emissions, water consumption, and land use in both OW and OB followed by cereals, legumes, and starchy roots. The estimated MFW(kg of food) of the Italian population resulted to be 2.081 million kilograms of food for OB and OW. Reducing obesity will make a contribution toward achieving sustainable and functional diets, preserving and re-allocating natural resources for fighting hunger and malnutrition, and reducing GHGs emissions. Although further evidences in epidemiological studies are needed, MFW represents an innovative and reliable tool to unravel the diet-environment-health trilemma.
- Link: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnut.2016.00040/full
Physical activity levels do not predict abdominal fat accumulation
Contrary to popular belief, lack of exercise / low physical activity is not the primary factor for the accumulation of stomach fat or fat in the liver.
A study published this month has accurately measured the "habitual physical activity" of 82 people and has shown that between sedentary, moderately active or vigorously training people there is only 3% difference in deep abdominal fat accumulation and practically no difference in liver fat.
However, the study authors state that almost no physical activity at all (as in sitting down all day with very little walk or other movement) does affect abdominal / central obesity.
Food, not lack of exercise, creates the "beer belly"
This shows that the vast majority of the visceral / abdominal fat mass is accumulated due to excessive food consumption, especially that of sugar, fat, refined carbohydrates and alcohol.
This also means that you can be physically active and still have excess abdominal or whole body fat, a condition called “metabolically healthy obesity”. In metabolically healthy obesity, you do not suffer from the health risks of central obesity, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and risk of cardiovascular disease, and so your abdominal fat is just an aesthetic issue, not a health liability - at least for as long as you stay physically very, very active.
However, as most people are more interested in how they look, not how healthy they are, this study helps clarify how these people can achieve their objective and lose that stomach fat: by dieting and by adopting lifelong healthy eating habits, and not by exercising.
What about stomach skin looseness?
On the other hand, lack of exercise / physical activity unavoidably leads to skin looseness, which is an important aesthetic concern for more and more men and women these days. People do not want to just have a slim stomach anymore, they also want it to look firm/tight.
In that case, losing the excess weight with diet first and then maintaining your weight and tightening up the body with loads of exercise makes the most sense (you cannot both diet and exercise intensively at the same time, it will inadvertently fail).
However, as skin tightness picks up very slowly with exercise, especially after the age of 30, an intensive skin tightening treatment, such as deep tissue radiofrequency, will help tighten up the excess skin while losing weight - and as a bonus will also help you focus the fat loss on the area that it is applied (spot fat reduction with radiofrequency).
- Paper: Objectively Quantified Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Predicting Visceral Adiposity and Liver Fat.
- Abstract: Objective. Epidemiologic studies suggest an inverse relationship between nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and self-reported physical activity levels. However, subjective measurements can be inaccurate and prone to reporter bias. We investigated whether objectively quantified physical activity levels predicted liver fat and VAT in overweight/obese adults. Methods. Habitual physical activity was measured by triaxial accelerometry for four days (n = 82). Time spent in sedentary behavior (MET < 1.6) and light (MET 1.6 < 3), moderate (MET 3 < 6), and vigorous (MET 6 < 9) physical activity was quantified. Magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy were used to quantify visceral and liver fat. Bivariate correlations and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed. Results. There were no associations between physical activity or sedentary behavior and liver lipid. Sedentary behavior and moderate and vigorous physical activity accounted for just 3% of variance for VAT (p = 0.14) and 0.003% for liver fat (p = 0.96). Higher levels of VAT were associated with time spent in moderate activity (r = 0.294, p = 0.007), but there was no association with sedentary behavior. Known risk factors for obesity-related NAFLD accounted for 62% and 40% of variance in VAT and liver fat, respectively (p < 0.01). Conclusion. Objectively measured levels of habitual physical activity and sedentary behavior did not influence VAT or liver fat.
- Link: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2016/2719014
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is one of the most important pro-inflammatory protein the body
- Curcumin, the active ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric, is a well-known anti-inflammatory natural molecule
- A new paper published this month examined the anti-inflammatory action of curcumin and concluded that there are numerous studies demonstrating that the anti-inflammatory action of curcumin is due to blocking the action of IL-6
- Curcumin is taken as a supplement and also as an active ingredient in advanced skincare creams
- Source: Curcumin: An effective inhibitor of interleukin-6.
- Abstract: Curcumin is apolyphenolic compound found in the dietary spice turmeric. Anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric have been known for centuries and extensive studies over the last two to three decades revealed that curcumin is a key component in the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. Chronic inflammation is involved in the various pathologic states and curcumin demonstrated therapeutic effects in different inflammation-related diseases in various in vivo, in vitro and human based studies through regulation of different signaling molecules including transcription factors, chemokines, cytokines, tumor suppressor genes, adhesion molecules and microRNAs. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays important roles in various events during inflammation including regulation of antibody (and autoantibody) production, activation of T cells, differentiation of B cells, increased production of acute-phase proteins, hematopoiesis and angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and osteoclast differentiation. IL-6 is also involved in pathogenesis of different inflammatory diseases. There are numerous studies demonstrating association of down-regulation of IL-6 and/or inhibition of IL-6 signaling with therapeutic effects of curcumin suggesting a role for modulation of IL-6 in anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin. Moreover, curcumin can be considered as potential therapy against IL-6 involved pathologic stats. In this narrative review, the in vitro, experimental and clinical studies that report association of IL-6 inhibition and therapeutic effects of curcumin are discussed.
Resveratrol is not an "antioxidant"
Resveratrol is a well-known anti-ageing plant molecule, contained in grapes, berries and red wine, among other foods. Resveratrol works by increasing a protein called SIRT1, which improves lifespan and overall health and fights fat accumulation. But most importantly, resveratrol was thought to work as an "antioxidant".
However, this new study published this week shows that resveratrol does not act as an antioxidant. Instead it acts in quite the opposite way, as a pro-oxidant. The researchers have found that by being slightly poor-oxidant, resveratrol stimulates the body to boost it's antioxidant defences and produce more glutathione, one of the body's own powerful antioxidants.
Resveratrol is "hormetic"
Resveratrol achieves this effect by stimulating a protein called Nrf2, which is known to stimulate the body's own antioxidant defences. In fact, more and more papers, published the last few months, show that previously thought antioxidant molecules actually act as pro oxidants, by stimulating the same process, mediated by the protein Nrf2. nudge
The process by which a little bit of negative stimulation leads to positive changes in the body is called hormesis, a Greek work which means "gaining momentum". So by getting a bit of negative stimulation (mild free radical damage) that body is gently nudged, it gains momentum, to get much more efficient in fighting free radical damage.
- Paper: Hormetic shifting of redox environment by pro-oxidative resveratrol protects cells against stress.
- Abstract: Resveratrol has gained tremendous interest owing to multiple reported health-beneficial effects. However, the underlying key mechanism of action of this natural product remained largely controversial. Here, we demonstrate that under physiologically relevant conditions major biological effects of resveratrol can be attributed to its generation of oxidation products such as reactive oxygen species (ROS). At low nontoxic concentrations (in general <50µM), treatment with resveratrol increased viability in a set of representative cell models, whereas application of quenchers of ROS completely truncated these beneficial effects. Notably, resveratrol treatment led to mild, Nrf2-specific gene expression reprogramming. For example, in primary epidermal keratinocytes derived from human skin this coordinated process resulted in a 1.3-fold increase of endogenously generated glutathione (GSH) and subsequently in a quantitative reduction of the cellular redox environment by 2.61mVmmol GSH per g protein. After induction of oxidative stress by using 0.78% (v/v) ethanol, endogenous generation of ROS was consequently reduced by 24% in resveratrol pre-treated cells. In contrast to the common perception that resveratrol acts mainly as a chemical antioxidant or as a target protein-specific ligand, we propose that the cellular response to resveratrol treatment is essentially based on oxidative triggering. In physiological microenvironments this molecular training can lead to hormetic shifting of cellular defense towards a more reductive state to improve physiological resilience to oxidative stress.
Interval sprinting: the ultimate exercise
It is now well-known that the most effective method of exercise, both for weight loss and for fitness development, is sprint interval training. Sprint interval training includes interval running, interval swimming, interval cycling and interval rowing and uphill/downhill walking among others.
Nitrates boost the effectiveness of interval training
In this study published last June, it was found that nitrates, such as those found in spinach and beetroot, can improve sprint interval training performance and can even turn slow twice fibres to fast twice ones!
This is a significant breakthrough, given that as people age the natural tendency is to lose fast twice fibres, which convert into slow twice ones.
For this study, averagely fit individuals performed 4-5 sprints per session, three times a week, in hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions. These conditions replicate training in high altitude, known to be beneficial for both sprint and endurance athletes.
The all-out sprints were of 30-second duration, interspersed by 4½ minutes of recovery intervals (these typically consist of slow walking).
The volunteers who took nitrate capsules 3 hours before each session, saw increased growth of type IIa (fast twitch) muscle fibres, while volunteers training without the nitrates or under normal oxygen levels saw no such improvement.
A higher percentage of fast twitch fibres means an increased printing capacity and increased muscle strength. Indeed, the volunteers who took the nitrate supplement had better performance than the other groups.
On the other hand, maximum oxygen use (VO2max) and endurance training performance increased equally in all groups. This shows that neither nitrates nor hypoxic sprint training gives an edge in endurance training, both of which were to be expected.
Spinach, beetroot and green salads fight hypoxia - and cellulite
So all in all, nitrates seem to increase strength and sprinting fitness, especially when combined with hypoxic training - as Popeye always knew ;)
Given the anti-hypoxic effect of nitrates, we can deduce that spinach, green salads and other nitrate-rich foods are ideal as cellulite-preventing foods (hypoxia is an important cause of cellulite).
Sprint interval training is also known to be the absolute best anti-cellulite exercise, due to it's effect on metabolism, circulation and fat burning, so having spinach smoothies and doing interval training may not just improve athletic performance but also fight cellulite.
- Paper: Nitrate Intake Promotes Shift in Muscle Fiber Type Composition during Sprint Interval Training in Hypoxia
- Abstract: Purpose: We investigated the effect of sprint interval training (SIT) in normoxia, vs. SIT in hypoxia alone or in conjunction with oral nitrate intake, on buffering capacity of homogenized muscle (βhm) and fiber type distribution, as well as on sprint and endurance performance. Methods: Twenty-seven moderately-trained participants were allocated to one of three experimental groups: SIT in normoxia (20.9% FiO2) + placebo (N), SIT in hypoxia (15% FiO2) + placebo (H), or SIT in hypoxia + nitrate supplementation (HN). All participated in 5 weeks of SIT on a cycle ergometer (30-s sprints interspersed by 4.5 min recovery-intervals, 3 weekly sessions, 4–6 sprints per session). Nitrate (6.45 mmol NaNO3) or placebo capsules were administered 3 h before each session. Before and after SIT participants performed an incremental VO2max-test, a 30-min simulated cycling time-trial, as well as a 30-s cycling sprint test. Muscle biopsies were taken from m. vastus lateralis. Results: SIT decreased the proportion of type IIx muscle fibers in all groups (P < 0.05). The relative number of type IIa fibers increased (P < 0.05) in HN (P < 0.05 vs. H), but not in the other groups. SIT had no significant effect on βhm. Compared with H, SIT tended to enhance 30-s sprint performance more in HN than in H (P = 0.085). VO2max and 30-min time-trial performance increased in all groups to a similar extent. Conclusion: SIT in hypoxia combined with nitrate supplementation increases the proportion of type IIa fibers in muscle, which may be associated with enhanced performance in short maximal exercise. Compared with normoxic training, hypoxic SIT does not alter βhm or endurance and sprinting exercise performance.
- Source 2: Popeye was right: Could nitrate-rich spinach enhance strength & fitness
- Link: http://www.nutraingredients.com/Ingredients/Botanicals-Herbals/Popeye-was-right-Could-nitrate-rich-spinach-enhance-strength-fitness
Broad-spectrum protection against fight tissue inflammation - and cellulite
Pterostilbene, is an anti-ageing phytochemical primarily found in berries and grapes. It is closely related to another well-known anti-ageing chemical, resveratrol (the secret behind the so-called "French paradox"). Based on animal studies, both resveratrol and pterostilbene are thought to exhibit anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties.
In this study it was discovered that pterostilbene (and the phytochemical garcinol) has a specific anti-inflammatory action on adipocytes (fat cells), reducing almost all important inflammatory markers: COX-2, iNOS, IL-6, and IL-1β and IL-6!
This is important news for cellulite reduction, as fat tissue inflammation is an important aspect of cellulite, and pterostilbene may be used in the fight against cellulite as an anti-cellulite cream ingredient, or to a lesser extent as a nutritional supplement ingredient.
- Paper: The inhibitory effect of pterostilbene on inflammatory responses during the interaction of 3T3-L1 adipocytes and RAW 264.7 macrophages, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23268743
- Abstract: Chronic inflammation is characterized by the upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines in obese adipose tissue. Accumulations of adipose tissue macrophages enhance a chronic inflammatory state in adipose tissues. Many studies have indicated that the adipocyte-related inflammatory response in obesity is characterized by an enhanced infiltration of macrophages. The aim of this work was to study the inhibitory effects of garcinol and pterostilbene on the change in inflammatory response due to the interaction between 3T3-L1 adipocytes and RAW 264.7 macrophages. In the TNF-α-induced 3T3-L1 adipocyte model, garcinol and pterostilbene significantly decreased the mRNA expression of COX-2, iNOS, IL-6, and IL-1β and IL-6 secretion by suppressing phosphorylation of p-IκBα and p-p65. In a coculture model of 3T3-L1 adipocytes and RAW 264.7 macrophages, pterostilbene suppressed IL-6 and TNF-α secretion and proinflammatory mRNA expression and also reduced the migration of macrophages toward adipocytes. In the RAW 264.7 macrophage-derived conditioned medium (RAW-CM)-induced 3T3-L1 adipocyte and 3T3-CM-induced RAW 264.7 macrophage models, pterostilbene significantly decreased IL-6 and TNF-α secretion and proinflammatory mRNA expression (COX-2, iNOS, IL-6, TNF-α, PAI-1, CRP, MCP-1, resistin, and leptin). Our findings suggest that garcinol and pterostilbene may provide novel and useful applications to reduce the chronic inflammatory properties of adipocytes. We also found that pterostilbene inhibits proinflammatory responses during the interaction between 3T3-L1 adipocytes and RAW 264.7 macrophages.
French pine bark extract helps improve microcirculation and cardiovascular health
The French maritime pine bark extract is well-known for it's protective effects on microcirculation and blood vessels.
Now a new clinical trial has shown that red pine bark extract protects cardiovascular health in another way: it increases HDL (good cholesterol) while at the same time reducing oxidised LDL (bad cholesterol) and high blood pressure.
The clinical study
For this placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial, 24 participants who suffered from mild hypertension took either 150mg of red pine bark extract or placebo for 5 weeks.
At the end of the trial and compared to placebo, the pine bark extract raised HDL/good cholesterol by 14%, improved the ratio of apolipoprotein B-100/A-1 by 10%. (p = 0.046) and also reduced systolic blood pressure and oxidised LDL/bad cholesterol, all major markers of cardiovascular disease.
About red pine bark procyanidins
The pine bark extract used for the study was Oligopin, a branded pine bark extract, rich in a group of compounds called "low molecular weight procyanidins" or "oligomeric procyanidins".
Procyanidins are plant chemicals primarily found in apples, maritime/red pine bark, cocoa beans, grape seed & skin, red wine, bilberries, cranberries, black currants, green & black tea. Procyanidins have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, connective tissue-protecting and blood vessel-protecting action.
Oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) are compounds formed from a small number (less than four) of catechin and epicatechin molecules, making them the most absorbable and bioactive type of procyanidins.
Red pine bark extract is used in supplement form, as well as an active ingredient in quality anti-ageing / anti-cellulite creams, due to it's desirable action on collagen production, microcirculation and fat reduction.
- Paper: Effects of low molecular weight procyanidin rich extract from french maritime pine bark on cardiovascular disease risk factors in stage-1 hypertensive subjects: Randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled intervention trial.
- Abstract: BACKGROUND: Oligopin (OP) is a quantified extract from French Maritime Pine bark (FMPB) with low molecular weight procyanidins. The cardioprotective effects of OP need to be tested in human clinical intervention trials with an appropriate design. PURPOSE: The aim of the present study was to assess the effect of subchronic consumption of OP on cardiovascular disease risk factors such as lipid profile, systolic blood pressure (BP) and oxidized-Low Density Lipoprotein (ox-LDL) in stage-1-hypertensive subjects. METHODS: Between February 14 and May 31, 2014, eligible subjects were recruited from the outpatient clinics of Hospital Universitari Sant Joan (Reus, Spain). A total of 24 participants (mean age ± DS; 57.36 ± 11.25; 17 men) with stage-1-hypertension who were not receiving BP-lowering medication and LDL cholesterol < 4.88 mmol/l were randomized in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. The subjects received 2 capsules/day with 75 mg of OP or placebo for 5-weeks. RESULTS: At 5-weeks, compared to the placebo, OP raised High Density Lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) by 14.06% (p = 0.012) and apolipoprotein A-1 by 8.12% (p = 0.038) and reduced the ratio of apolipoprotein B-100/A-1 by 10.26% (p = 0.046). Moreover, at 5-weeks, compared to the baseline, OP reduced the systolic BP by 6.36 mmHg (p = 0.014), and decreased ox-LDL concentrations by 31.72 U/l (p = 0.015). CONCLUSION: At 5-weeks, the consumption of 150 mg/day of OP improve lipid cardiovascular profile and represents one of the scarce ways to increase HDL-c in stage-1-hypertensive subjects.
- The olive extract maslinic acid has been found in a recent study to fight fat accumulation in fat cells, by blocking the protein PPAR-gamma, one of the most important adipogenic proteins in the body
- Maslinic acid is found in olives and commercially it is extracted from the olive pomace, i.e. the paste that remains after the extraction of extra virgin olive oil from olives.
- Due to it's anti-adipogenic action, maslinic acid may be useful in the fight against metabolic imbalance, oversight and obesity, and may be also useful in the fight against cellulite as an anti-cellulite cream active ingredient.
- Source: Target molecules in 3T3-L1 adipocytes differentiation are regulated by maslinic acid, a natural triterpene from Olea europaea.
- Abstract: BACKGROUND: Metabolic syndrome is a set of pathologies among which stand out the obesity, which is related to the lipid droplet accumulation and changes to cellular morphology regulated by several molecules and transcription factors. Maslinic acid (MA) is a natural product with demonstrated pharmacological functions including anti-inflammation, anti-tumor and anti-oxidation, among others. PURPOSE: Here we report the effects of MA on the adipogenesis process in 3T3-L1 cells. METHODS: Cell viability, glucose uptake, cytoplasmic triglyceride droplets, triglycerides quantification, gene transcription factors such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) and adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (aP2) and intracellular Ca(2+) levels were determined in pre-adipocytes and adipocytes of 3T3-L1 cells. RESULTS: MA increased glucose uptake. MA also decreased lipid droplets and triglyceride levels, which is in concordance with the down-regulation of PPARγ and aP2. Finally, MA increased the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration, which could also be involved in the demonstrated antiadipogenic effect of this triterpene. CONCLUSION: MA has been demonstrated as potential antiadipogenic compound in 3T3-L1 cells.
Isotretinoin causes low back pain
In a study published this week it was found that 50% of acne sufferers who are on isotretinoin medication (Roaccutance / Accutane) for more than 6 months, suffer from low back pain, with 8% of them suffering from acute inflammation of the sacroiliac joint in the low back/pelvis area.
Muscle pain was also reported in 42% of participants and lethargy (low energy levels) was reported by 50% of participants.
The authors conclude their report by stating that "the incidence of sacroiliitis in patients using isotretinoin is quite high. Patients using isotretinoin must be questioned about sacroiliitis findings and must be subject to advanced assessment when necessary. Further studies regarding the development of sacroiliitis under isotretinoin therapy are now needed."
Acne diet and medication
The most common acne treatments are either isotretinoin or contraceptives, both of which reduce sebum production. Acne and antibiotics also fight the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium Acnes.
A diet low in dairy products, saturated fat and sugar, and high in vegetables, fruit and lean protein is also beneficial in acne, and helps maximise the results of medication.
- Paper: The prevalence of sacroiliitis in patients with acne vulgaris using isotretinoin.
- Abstract: BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the pilosebaceous unit in the skin. Isotretinoin is a synthetic vitamin A derivative regarded as the most effective agent in the treatment of acne. There have recently been increasing reports of adverse effects of isotretinoin on the skeletal system. Our aim in this study was to evaluate the rheumatic side-effects triggered by this drug, and particularly the prevalence of sacroiliitis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seventy-three patients receiving isotretinoin due to moderate or severe acne vulgaris were included. All patients were questioned about inflammatory low back pain and musculoskeletal pains during the treatment process. Inflammatory low back pain was evaluated using Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS) criteria. Patients meeting ASAS criteria were evaluated with radiography and when necessary with sacroiliac magnetic resonance. RESULTS: The dose range for isotretinoin was between 0.4 and 0.8 mg/kg/day (mean 0.53 mg/kg/day). Treatment lasted for 6-8 months (mean 6.8 months). Lethargy was determined in 37 (50.7%) patients, myalgia in 31 (42.5%) and low back pain in 36 (49.3%). Mechanical low back pain symptoms were present in 20 of the patients describing low back pain and inflammatory low back pain in 16. Acute sacroiliitis was determined in 6 patients (8.2%) following a sacroiliac MRI. Five (83.3%) of the patients with sacroiliitis were female and one (16.7%) was male. No statistically significant difference was determined between male and female patients in terms of prevalence of sacroiliitis (p: 0.392). CONCLUSION: The incidence of sacroiliitis in patients using isotretinoin is quite high. Patients using isotretinoin must be questioned about sacroiliitis findings and must be subject to advanced assessment when necessary. Further studies regarding the development of sacroiliitis under isotretinoin therapy are now needed.
Nicotine + carbon monoxide = weight loss (+disease)
It is common knowledge that smoking inhibits weight gain, and up until recently scientists knew that this was due to finished appetite and also due to nicotine boosting lipolysis and inhibiting lipogenesis/adipogenesis in fat cells.
However, this study shows that chronic, low level treatment with a carbon monoxide-releasing molecule has been shown to prevent the development of obesity in response to a high fat diet.
Carbon monoxide is a well known poison produced from incomplete oxidation/burning (as in smoking) and as is widely known that high levels of it will lead to asphyxia and death.
Furthermore, scientists found that inhaling carbon monoxide only had a short term effect on weight loss in mice.
However, when used over 30 weeks, low levels of carbon monoxide released by a novel carbon monoxide-releasing molecule actually reduced obesity, and also obesity-related inflammation, insulin resistance and liver damage.
Smoking, fat and cellulite
This could be an additional mechanisms by which smoking helps prevent weight gain. However, I would not urge anyone to take up smoking just to benefit from this effect.
This is because smoking has a negative effect on circulation and also encourages the growth of fibrosis and collagen breakdown, leading to cellulite development, despite it's inhibitory effect on fat growth. Not to mention the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, due to the chemicals contained in tar...
- For the moment we have to wait probably for several years to see if a safe and effective anti-obesity treatment can be offered, based on this breakthrough, or even if an anti-cellulite cream can be developed, based on this specific or a similar molecule.
- Paper: Chronic treatment with a carbon monoxide releasing molecule reverses dietary induced obesity in mice.
- Abstract: Chronic, low level treatment with a carbon monoxide releasing molecule (CO-RM), CORM-A1, has been shown to prevent the development of obesity in response to a high fat diet. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that chronic, low level treatment with this CO-RM can reverse established obesity via a mechanism independent of food intake. Dietary induced obese mice were treated with CORM-A1, the inactive compound iCORM-A1, or saline every 48 hours for 30 weeks while maintained on a high fat (60%) diet. Chronic treatment with CORM-A1 resulted in a 33% decrease from initial body weight over the 30 week treatment period while treatment with iCORM and saline were associated with 18 and 25% gain in initial body weight over the same time frame. Chronic treatment with CORM-A1 did not affect food intake or activity but resulted in a significant increase in metabolism. CORM-A1 treatment also resulted in lower fasting blood glucose, improvement in insulin sensitivity and decreased heptatic steatosis. Chronic treatment with CO releasing molecules can reverse dietary induced obesity and normalize insulin resistance independent of changes in food intake or activity. These findings are likely though a mechanism which increases metabolism.
The ayurvedic herb Gotu kola (centella asiatica) is well-researched for it's connective tissue and blood vessel protecting action. Now a new study has shown that madecassic acid, one of the primary actives found in gotu kola, may help protect against damage of the retina caused by to hypoxia (low oxygen levels).
Retinal hypoxia, a common complication of diabetes, contributes to retinal damage which can ultimately lead to blindness. In this cell study scientists found that the addition of madecassic acid reduced cell damage in retinal cells and protected them from oxidation.
The authors suggest that madecassic acid could comprise a promising therapy to reverse the process and development of hypoxia-induced retinal endothelial cell dysfunction.
- Paper: Madecassic Acid protects against hypoxia-induced oxidative stress in retinal microvascular endothelial cells via ROS-mediated endoplasmic reticulum stress.
- Abstract: Madecassic acid (MA) is an abundant triterpenoid in Centella asiatica (L.) Urban. (Apiaceae) that has been used as a wound-healing, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent. Up to now, the effects of MA against oxidative stress remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of MA and its mechanisms on hypoxia-induced human Retinal Microvascular Endothelial Cells (hRMECs). hRMECs were pre-treated with different concentrations of MA (0-50μM) for 30min before being incubated under hypoxia condition (37°C, 5% CO2 and 95% N2). Cell apoptosis was evaluated with MTT assay and TUNEL staining, and the expression of apoptosis- and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-related molecules was assessed with western blotting and RT-PCR analysis. Intracellular ROS level was evaluated using DCFH-DA. Intracellular malondialdehyde (MDA), dehydrogenase (LDH), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were evaluated using related Kits. Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) nuclear translocation was assessed with western blotting analysis and immunofluorescence staining. MA significantly reduced oxidative stress in hypoxia-induced hRMECs, as shown by increased cell viability, SOD and GSH-PX leakage, decreased TUNEL- and ROS-positive cell ratio, LDH and MDA leakage, caspase-3 and -9 activity, and Bax/Bcl-2 ratio. In addition, MA also attenuated hypoxia-induced ER stress in hRMECs, as shown by reduced mRNA levels of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), C/EBP homologous transcription factor (CHOP), protein levels of cleaved activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) and inositol-requiring kinase/endonuclease 1 alpha (IRE1α), phosphorylation of pancreatic ER stress kinase (PERK) and eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF2α), cleaved caspase-12 and ATF4 translocation to nucleus. The current study indicated that the regulation of oxidative stress and ER stress by MA would be a promising therapy to reverse the process and development of hypoxia-induced hRMECs dysfunction.
"Creams don't get absorbed". Seriously?
Most people are misled by ignorant beauty "experts" to believe that cosmetic products do not get absorbed by the skin. This is in contrast to a huge body of scientific evidence that shows exactly the opposite.
Anti-ageing, anti-cellulite and other skincare creams do get absorbed, so much so that regulatory authorities around the world have very strict limits of how much of each chemical, natural or man-made, can be contained in each product.
The EU, for example, has extremely stringent such limits and cosmetic companies must provide a full list of ingredients together with a safety report based on upper inclusion limits. EU legislation explicitly states that cosmetic ingredients are absorbed by the body, not just by the skin, and must be used in appropriate, safe amounts. Of course the upper safe limit of something like vitamin C is very high, while the upper limit for other chemicals is very low.
A huge body of science, unknown to beauty "experts"
Depending on the design of the product, cosmetic ingredients may be absorbed to a larger or lesser degree. A good example of designing for minimal absorption are sun protection creams and lotions, where we desire skin absorption to be minimised. On the other hand, a good example of formulating for maximal absorption are anti-ageing or anti-cellulite creams, where we do want the actives to penetrate not just the epidermis, but also to reach the dermis and hypodermis.
Penetration enhancers and penetration inhibitors are also used, and special techniques based on physics rather than chemistry, such as electro-mesotherapy cosmetic treatments, can be used to further boost skin penetration. Furthermore, simple mechanical techniques, such as skin needling beauty treatments can also boost penetration.
On the other hand, liposomes, special silicon compounds and active molecules attached to sugar or fatty acid molecules, are some of the several transdermal skin delivery mechanisms proven to help penetrate into/through the skin and deliver active molecules inside the cells.
Furthermore, several pharmaceutical creams, gels and ointments exist (e.g. anti-inflammatory creams for musculoskeletal pain, bioidentical hormone creams etc.), that are proven in pharmaceutical-level clinical studies to be absorbed and indeed to be approved by regulatory authorities as clinically effective.
The 500 Dalton rule
A general rule of a thumb was proposed by a group of scientists in 2000, which states that compounds that must penetrate into/through the skin for pharmaceutical or cosmetic purposes must be of a molecular weight below 500 Da (Dalton). The scientists stated that almost all known pharmaceutical drugs proven to penetrate the skin are of 500 Da or smaller size.
However, since then it was shown that quite larger molecules, often above 1000 Da, can also penetrate into/through the skin, usually with the help of the specially designed delivery molecules, penetration enhancers, electroporation / electro-mesotherapy or skin needling, that we mentioned above.
Most natural actives are much smaller than 500 Dalton
In regard to cosmetics, most natural actives that are used in anti-ageing / anti-cellulite creams are of sizes below 500 Da, with some being of up to 700 Da molecular weight and extemely few being 1000 Da. Some examples of such actives, include:
- Caffeine, 194.19 Da (2.5x smaller than the upper size limit)
- Quercetin, 302.236 Da (1.6x smaller than the upper size limit)
- Ascorbic glycoside, 338.265 Da (1.5x smaller than the upper size limit)
- Ascorbic acid, 176.12 Da (2.8x smaller than the upper size limit)
- Forskolin, 410.5 Da (1.2x smaller than the upper size limit)
- Asiatic acid, 488.70 Da (just below the upper size limit)
- Curcumin, 368.38 Da (1.4x smaller than the upper size limit)
- Retinol, 286.45 Da (1.7x smaller than the upper size limit)
This list could go on and on and on, but the fact is that as far as skin formulations containing vitamins, antioxidants and similar anti-ageing compounds are concerned, absorption is not a problem: those actives are well below the 500 Dalton size and they do penetrate the skin, even more so if the design of the formulation is focused on absorption (for various reasons, not all products are designed as such)
Those actives are even more easily absorbable, if natural penetration enhancers are used for the creams or electro-mesotherapy / skin needling are used for body/face aesthetic treatments.
An urban myth
Clearly, the urban myth of "creams do not get absorbed" is exactly that: an urban myth propagated by the usual hear-say of misinformed "experts".
Hundreds of studies have been contacted, possibly thousands, by cosmetic manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and universities, and whole volumes of books have been written on transdermal absorption and skin penetration. Yet some people keep maintaining that the earth is flat...
On the other hand, these same people advocate naive methods, such as the application of ground coffee bans on the skin for the reduction of cellulite. However, it is well-known that the very little caffeine contained in the ground coffee is firmly bound to the fibrous structure of the coffee bean, making it impossible to release caffeine onto the skin just by rubbing the coffee grounds on it.
It just beggars belief...
- Paper: The 500 Dalton rule for the skin penetration of chemical compounds and drugs.
- Abstract: Human skin has unique properties of which functioning as a physicochemical barrier is one of the most apparent. The human integument is able to resist the penetration of many molecules. However, especially smaller molecules can surpass transcutaneously. They are able to go by the corneal layer, which is thought to form the main deterrent. We argue that the molecular weight (MW) of a compound must be under 500 Dalton to allow skin absorption. Larger molecules cannot pass the corneal layer. Arguments for this "500 Dalton rule" are; 1) virtually all common contact allergens are under 500 Dalton, larger molecules are not known as contact sensitizers. They cannot penetrate and thus cannot act as allergens in man; 2) the most commonly used pharmacological agents applied in topical dermatotherapy are all under 500 Dalton; 3) all known topical drugs used in transdermal drug-delivery systems are under 500 Dalton. In addition, clinical experience with topical agents such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus and ascomycins gives further arguments for the reality of the 500 Dalton rule. For pharmaceutical development purposes, it seems logical to restrict the development of new innovative compounds to a MW of under 500 Dalton, when topical dermatological therapy or percutaneous systemic therapy or vaccination is the objective.
Fructose turns into fat as soon as it hits the liver
Fructose makes up 50% of the common table sugar, 50% of the sugar contained even in freshly squeezed juices (even more in apple juices), 75% of honey and up to 55% of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Fructose, in all it's guises, is now known to be detrimental to metabolism and liver health and excessive consumption may eventually lead to diabetes and heart disease.
Unlike glucose, which is found in what we call "carbs" and also comprises the other 50% of the sucrose (common sugar) molecule, fructose does not enter the bloodstream intact, but it undergoes metabolism by the liver and it is converted into fat, from where it finds it's way into the bloodstream and eventually the fat cells.
A parenthesis on "diabetic" foods containing fructose
Needless to say, that the old-fashioned "diabetic" fructose powder, and "diabetic foods" that contain fructose instead of glucose or sugar, are exactly that": diabetic foods. They actually cause diabetes or make diabetes worse.
It beggars belief that "medical foods" based on erroneous knowledge or decades past still exist and are still sold, even in pharmacies!
Fatty liver, diabetes and insulin resistance
Excessive fructose consumption leads not only to fat accumulation on the hips and especially the waist (the worst possible type of body fat), but also on the liver itself (non alcoholic fatty liver disease) and the pancreas.
Eventually, excessive fructose / sugar / brown sugar / agave / honey / high-fructose corn syrup / fruit juice consumption leads to insulin resistance, whole body inflammation and diabetes, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Furthermore, fructose has a very strong pro-glycation action. Glycation is responsible for skin ageing, whole body ageing and cellulite.
Pharmaceutical methods aiming to act not the fructose metabolism are being developed, but the best course of action to avoid fructose-mediated health deterioration is to simply not eat the fructose-containing sweeteners mentioned above (yes, even agave and honey) and to consume whole fruit, rather than fruit juices.
The difference between fruit and fruit smoothies/juices
Fruit is different to fruit juices for three reasons:
- Fruit is digested more slowly, leading to less severe reactions in the liver.
- It is difficult to consume excessive amounts of fructose just by eating whole fruits, while it is very easy to do by drinking juices. A 500ml bottle of apple juice, which can be drunk even in seconds, requires 6-7 medium apples, and will still leave you hungry minutes later. On the other hand, it can take more than half an hour to eat 6-7 apples and they will definitely leave you full for several hours.
- Furthermore, commercial fruit juices are even sweeter than freshly squeezed, to the type of fruit selected for them, and are definitely more unhealthy.
- Paper: The Sweet Path to Metabolic Demise: Fructose and Lipid Synthesi
- Abstract: Epidemiological studies link fructose consumption with metabolic disease, an association attributable in part to fructose-mediated lipogenesis. The mechanisms governing fructose-induced lipogenesis and disease remain debated. Acutely, fructose increases de novo lipogenesis through the efficient and uninhibited action of ketohexokinase and aldolase B which yields substrates for fatty-acid synthesis. Chronic fructose consumption further enhances the capacity for hepatic fructose metabolism by activating several key transcription factors (i.e., SREBP1c and ChREBP) which augment the expression of lipogenic enzymes, increasing lipogenesis and further compounding hypertriglyceridemia and hepatic steatosis. Hepatic insulin resistance develops from diacylglycerol–PKCɛ-mediated impairment of insulin signaling and possibly additional mechanisms. Initiatives that decrease fructose consumption and therapies that block fructose-mediated lipogenesis will be necessary to avert future metabolic pandemics. Trends: Fructose comprises ∼50% of the dietary sugars sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, and when consumed in excess exacerbates cardiometabolic risk factors including dyslipidemia, fatty liver disease, and insulin resistance. Ketohexokinase (KHK) may be a therapeutic target. Complete knockout of all KHK isoforms prevents fructose-induced disease. By contrast, selective knockout of the ubiquitous, low-activity KHK-A isoform exacerbates fructose-induced disease, possibly by increasing flux through the KHK-C isoform expressed in key metabolic tissues such as liver. Fructose contributes to lipogenesis and associated pathologies, including steatosis, dyslipidemia, and hepatic insulin resistance, both by providing substrate and coordinating the expression of lipogenic enzymes via SREBP1c and ChREBP. Limiting fructose intake and regulating fructose metabolism may represent a promising therapeutic strategy to reduce cardiometabolic risk factors.
A double whammy for fat loss
The so-called activated thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) (the metabolite of the relative inactive T4/thyroxine) has been found to boost fat accumulation in fat cells by increasing fatty acid synthase/FAS and at by inhibiting hormone sensitive lipase/HSL the same time.
Thyroid hormone is well-known to help with weight loss, but as this study shows it actually has an anabolic role on fat tissue. This means that thyroid hormone exerts it's slimming effect by boosting metabolism in muscles and organs, not by acting on fat cells directly.
- Paper: Triiodothyronine enhances accumulation of intracellular lipids in adipocytes through thyroid hormone receptor α via direct and indirect mechanisms.
- Abstract: Triiodothyronine (T3) enhanced the expression of adipogenic and lipogenic genes with elevation of the intracellular lipids through thyroid hormone receptor (TR) α in mouse 3T3-L1 cells. However, the transcription of the SREBP-1c and HSL genes was decreased by T3. Such T3-mediated alterations were negated by TRα siRNA. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay showed that the binding of TRα to the TR-responsive element (TRE) of the FAS promoter was elevated by T3. In contrast, the ability of TRα to bind to the TRE of the SREBP-1c promoter was decreased by T3. In addition, the binding of SREBP-1c to the SRE of the HSL promoter was lowered by T3. These results indicate that T3 increased the accumulation of intracellular lipids by enhancing the expression of the FAS gene through direct binding of TRα to the FAS promoter and simultaneously lowered the amount of lipolysis via reduced binding of T3-decreased SREBP-1c to the HSL promoter.
Orange cancels blue
Photographers know all too well that adding a yellow/orange filter on a lens or in front of lighting corrects bluish light, producing clean whites, greys and blacks, Also, they know that combining yellow light with blue light also produces white light. So in Physics yellow/orange cancels blue.
Now, a new clinical study has shown that the yellow/orange spices turmeric (source of curcumin) and saffron do indeed improve depression scores, especially in atypical depression :)
1000mg a day of curcumin ease the blues
This 12-week quality (randomised, double-blind & placebo-controlled) study on 123 individuals with major depressive disorder has shown that low-dose curcumin (500mg/day), high-dose curcumin (1000mg/day) or low-dose curcumin combined with 30mg/day of saffron, all reduced depressive symptoms to the same extent.
In the past "several studies have supported the antidepressant effects of curcumin (from the spice turmeric) and saffron for people with major depressive disorder, however, these studies have been hampered by poor designs, small sample sizes, short treatment duration, and similar intervention dosages", the authors of the study state.
Atypical depression and curcumin
Furthermore, the study has shown that curcumin and saffron had greater efficacy (65%) in people with atypical depression compared to the remainder of patients (35% efficacy).
"Atypical depression, or depression with atypical features, is depression that shares many of the typical symptoms of the psychiatric syndromes major depression or dysthymia but is characterized by improved mood in response to positive events. In contrast, people with melancholic depression generally do not experience an improved mood in response to normally pleasurable events. Atypical depression also features significant weight gain or an increased appetite, hypersomnia, a heavy sensation in the limbs and interpersonal rejection sensitivity that results in significant social or occupational impairment."
In a nutshell, if your depression is eased by positive events, chances are that curcumin can help. And the good news is that at doses of 500-1000mg (the typical does found in supplements today) it can not do any harm either.
If you suffer from other types of depression, trying curcumin is still a good idea, but may not be as effective.
Turmeric itself may not be enough
"Curcumin is one of the many curcuminoids, present in turmeric. Turmeric contains approximately 2% curcumin, so a teaspoon of turmeric, which weighs 2 grams, contains about 60mg curcumin."
Given that for this study 500-1000mg of curcumin per day were used, one has to consume 25-50g of turmeric powder to achieve the same results. This is a huge amount of turmeric to take every day - expect to be fed up of it in days and your teeth to become all yellow...
So by all means, keep adding turmeric to your food, but to replicate the results of this study you will most probably need a curcumin supplement.
On the other hand, given curcumin's poor bioavailability, one would have to use much less liposomal curcumin or other enhanced bioavailability curcumin form.
Saffron may not be entirely necessary
This study showed that 500mg curcumin, 1000mg curcumin and 500mg curcumin + 30mg saffron all have the same effect, which means that most probably saffron is not the main component, as curcumin by itself was equally effective to the combination of curcumin and saffron.
This study has shown that curcumin works well independent of saffron in depression, but future studies focusing on saffron may shed more light in the effectiveness of saffron against depression.
How could curcumin alleviate depression?
This study did not look into the mechanism by which curcumin alleviates depression, but in the past curcumin has also been proven potentially helpful in mental health conditions, including Alzheimers disease, by preventing nerve damage, via oxidative damage / inflammation inhibition.
Curcumin is well-known for it's anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and overall anti-ageing action, and these two properties are most probably the reasons behind it's effectiveness in alleviating depression.
- Paper: Efficacy of curcumin, and a saffron/curcumin combination for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
- Abstract: BACKGROUND: Several studies have supported the antidepressant effects of curcumin (from the spice turmeric) and saffron for people with major depressive disorder. However, these studies have been hampered by poor designs, small sample sizes, short treatment duration, and similar intervention dosages. Furthermore, the antidepressant effects of combined curcumin and saffron administration are unknown. METHODS: In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 123 individuals with major depressive disorder were allocated to one of four treatment conditions, comprising placebo, low-dose curcumin extract (250mg b.i.d.), high-dose curcumin extract (500mg b.i.d.), or combined low-dose curcumin extract plus saffron (15mg b.i.d.) for 12 weeks. The outcome measures were the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology self-rated version (IDS-SR30) and Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). RESULTS: The active drug treatments (combined) were associated with significantly greater improvements in depressive symptoms compared to placebo (p=.031), and superior improvements in STAI-state (p<.001) and STAI-trait scores (p=.001). Active drug treatments also had greater efficacy in people with atypical depression compared to the remainder of patients (response rates of 65% versus 35% respectively, p=.012). No differences were found between the differing doses of curcumin or the curcumin/saffron combination. LIMITATIONS: Investigations with larger sample sizes are required to examine the efficacy of differing doses of curcumin and saffron/curcumin combination. Its effects in people with atypical depression also require examination in larger scale studies. CONCLUSIONS: Active drug treatments comprising differing doses of curcumin and combined curcumin/saffron were effective in reducing depressive and anxiolytic symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.
Why lower abdomen is saggier than the upper abdomen? Elementary, Dear Watson, there is less collagen and elastin there.
In this recently published study, which examined the elastin, collagen and hydroxyproline content of superficial abdominal fascia, it was found that those three proteins were abundant in the upper abdominal region and found in much lower levels on the lower abdomen.
The superficial abdominal fascia is a tissue found below the skin and above deep fat stores and muscles, and it is rich in collagen and elastin fibres in slim/fit people; and rich in fat and poor in elastin and collagen fibres in the overweight/unfit people.
Collagen provides firmness to the surface of the body and elastin provides elasticity. Hydroxyproline is the most important aminoacid in collagen and it is used as a collagen marker.
Low levels of elastin and collagen and high levels of fat are responsible for the loose, saggy look found in, usually overweight, people. In this study it was found that the lower part of the abdomen has much less collagen, elastin and hydroxyproline than the upper part, hence the propensity of the lower "stomach" to be more loose and "flabby" than the upper stomach.
Radiofrequency (RF) treatments represent the best non-surgical skin tightening technology known today, but only if high intensity, monopolar RF is used. Hydroxyproline contained in the radiofrequency treatment cream/gel offers enhanced results.
- Paper: Histological and biochemical study of the superficial abdominal fascia and its implication in obesity.
- Abstract: The advancement of liposculpturing and fascial flaps in reconstructive surgery has renewed interest in the superficial fascia of abdomen. Its histological and biochemical composition may play a vital role in maintaining strength and elasticity of the fascia. Hence, study of abdominal fascia for the elastic, collagen, and hydroxyproline contents is desirable to understand asymmetrical bulges and skin folds and in improving surgical treatment of obesity. Samples of superficial fascia were collected from of upper and lower abdomen from 21 fresh cadavers (15 males and 6 females). Samples were stained using Verhoeff-Van Gieson stain. Digital images of superficial fascia were analyzed using TissueQuant software. The samples were also subjected to hydroxyproline estimation. The superficial fascia was formed by loosely packed collagen fibers mixed with abundant elastic fibers and adipose tissue. Elastic contents and collagen contents of superficial fascia were significantly more in the upper abdomen than that in the lower abdomen in males. Hydroxyproline content of superficial fascia of upper abdomen was significantly more than that of lower abdomen in both males and females. The elastic, collagen and hydroxyproline contents of superficial fascia of upper abdomen were higher compared to the lower abdomen. This may be a reason for asymmetric bulging over abdomen and more sagging fold of skin in the lower abdomen than in the upper abdomen. This study may therefore be helpful in finding new ways to manage obesity and other body contour deformities.
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