Despite being promoted for weight loss, foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners have never been proven to help weight loss. In fact, studies that look at this actually find people gain weight when Continue reading
The foods we eat and sedentary lifestyles have left our bodies reeling with a plethora of avoidable ailments and conditions. One such condition is leptin resistance which contributes significantly to weight gain and ultimately diabetes. It most certainly does not have to be like this, however, and once recognized for what it is, reversing leptin resistance becomes a manageable and beneficial endeavor.
What is leptin resistance and what causes it? Continue reading
You don’t need to hear about more high-salt diets causing weight gain, heart problems, and diabetes. You get it all the time. But there’s something you might not know: it can also make you more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis, by impacting your body’s ability to fight infection. Continue reading
Just because your doctor prescribes it does not necessarily mean it is safe for you to take. Many popular prescription drugs, it turns out, come with the potential for serious side effects, including everything from short-term nausea and headaches to chronic inflammatory myopathy and heart disease — or worse. Continue reading
Pharmaceutical antidepressants are usually among a class of varied chemicals known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is the feel good central nervous system neurotransmitter that is produced in the body.
The phrase re-uptake inhibitor is confusing to most of us laypersons. Why does inhibiting a feel good chemical make someone feel less depressed?
The SSRIs purportedly modulate and redistribute serotonin, keeping it from being taken in by some neuron receptors and Continue reading
Who doesn’t want flat abs? People desperate to lose weight will willingly starve themselves, take expensive supplements or do the latest fad diet that promises to give them that flawless figure in 30 days. Thankfully, belly fat is metabolically active and easier to lose. However, if proper nutrition is not observed Continue reading
“Increases in fructose consumption have paralleled the increasing prevalence of obesity, and high-fructose diets are thought to promote weight gain and insulin resistance,” lead author Kathleen A. Page, MD, Continue reading
- The longest ever human aspartame study, spanning 22 years, found a clear association between aspartame consumption and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and leukemia in men
- Leukemia was associated with diet soda intake in both sexes
- The study was done out of Harvard but after caving to pressure from industry, a press release was issued that minimized the impact of the study
- The long-term nature of this study is crucial as one of the primary tricks companies use to hide Continue reading
Fructose has been the target of a deep well of negative health news over the past decade or so. Its most glaring presence, in terms of our collective nutrition, is in high-fructose corn syrup. This is a classic ingredient in many unhealthy foods, notably soft drinks. But a new study suggests that maybe we have it wrong with fructose. Continue reading
You’ve probably heard something about “probiotics” in the news or at the grocery store. Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria. They help your digestive system work efficiently — both to digest and absorb nutrients and to remove toxins. Probiotic supplements can literally contain billions Continue reading
Obesity is common among patients with mental illness, occurring in up to 60% of patients with bipolar disorder, 70% of patients with schizophrenia, and 55% of patients with depression. A review by Taylor and colleagues in the current issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry analyzes why mental illness is associated with higher rates of obesity. Although the use of psychoactive medications is an obvious reason for weight gain in this patient population, there is also evidence that disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle may promote a resistance to leptin, which promotes satiety, and higher levels of circulating ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. In addition, depression is associated with higher levels of circulating cortisol, which promotes weight gain. Finally, both mood disorders and obesity are marked by dopaminergic deficits. Continue reading
Trying to lose weight by eating foods with imitation fat substitutes and artificial sweeteners can actually be a cause of weight gain, according to a new study published online in the American Psychological Association (APA) journal Behavioral Neuroscience. According to researchers from Purdue University in Indiana, consuming low-calorie fat and sugar substitutes appears to actually induce weight gain rather than weight loss.
Dr. Susan Swithers, lead researcher, and her colleagues observed that test rats fed high-fat diets actually fared better in the weight department than rats fed low-fat, low-calorie diets. Using regular Pringles chips, which are high in fat and calories, as well as low-calorie Pringles, which contain olestra, an artificial zero-calorie fat substitute, the team observed that fake fats confuse the bodily response to food intake, and the body basically does not know what to do Continue reading
For some babies, such as low birth weight or premature infants, promoting early rapid weight gain is important. The type of infant formula a baby drinks has a major impact on that weight gain, finds a group of researchers from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
Infants on Cow’s Milk Gained More Weight
Newborn infants usually gain about two-thirds of an ounce each day, or between 4 to 7 ounces a week during the first month. Between the second month of life and six months – typically the time when babies are introduced to solid foods – weight gain is slowed slightly to an average of one to two pounds per month. But not all weight gain is positive. Excessive weight in infancy affects the child’s future risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and other diseases.
Read: Breast Milk Better than Supplemented Baby Formula
“Events early in life have long-term consequences on health, and one of the most significant influences is early growth rate,” says study author Julie Mennella, a developmental psycho biologist at Monell.
Mennella and colleagues assigned two-week old bottle-fed infants to one of two formula types. One group (35 infants) received a formula based on cow’s milk and the second group (24 babies) received a protein hydrolysate formula containing pre-digested proteins. The infants drank the formula, which both contained an equal amount of calories, for seven months.
The infants who drank the cow’s milk-based formula gained weight faster. The infants on the protein hydrolysate formula had a weight gain more typical of breast-fed babies. Infant length (linear growth) was not affected by the choice of formula.
Read: Breast Milk is best for Babies – Here’s why
Between four and six months of age, formula-fed babies tend to gain weight faster than those that are breastfed. The extra weight is thought to be due to excess water retention and a difference in the composition of body fat. Breast-fed babies are often leaner and gain an average of one pound less than formula fed babies during the first twelve months.
Protein hydrolysate formulas contain more protein than cow’s milk and the babies consumed less of the liquid during a feed compared to those on cow’s milk-based formula. “The next question to ask is: Why do infants on cow’s milk formula overfeed?”
For women of a certain age, menopause is a fact of life. But this middle-age change no longer looks so feminine.
More men are arriving in doctors’ offices complaining of sexual dysfunction, weight gain, fatigue, depression and other unpleasant, but potentially vague, symptoms. In some of these men, a blood test reveals low testosterone levels. And there has been a corresponding uptick in testosterone prescriptions, one approach to treating low male hormone levels.
For these patients, doctors like Robert Brannigan in Chicago may give testosterone replacement a trial run to treat symptoms which, he said, can have a profound effect on a patient.
“It helps many, many of these individuals to have overall improved quality of life. It not only affects them, but very often their partners and their intimate relationships,” said Brannigan, an attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an associate professor of urology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Male menopause, as it has been dubbed, is controversial. First there’s the name, which experts dislike because it draws an inaccurate parallel with the female experience. (The accurate term for men is late-onset hygonadism.) What’s more, the disorder itself is not universally accepted, with some saying there is weak evidence for a link between symptoms and decreased hormone levels, and questioning whether benefits outweigh the risk and unknowns of testosterone prescriptions.
“I think the question that arises is how much of this is related to hormones and how much of it is the facts of life that we experience as we age,” said Dr. Thomas Walsh, an assistant professor and director of male reproductive and sexual medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine in Seattle. Walsh, a urologist, prescribes testosterone after what he describes as “heavy informed consent.” [7 Ways the Mind and Body Change With Age]
“There is still a lot of controversy, and I don’t think we have all the answers yet. You have to take the data at hand and apply it to the individual,” he said.
Up to four million men may have low testosterone, with most caused by age-related declines. However, only a minority receive treatment, according to Walsh. That number of men affected is expected to rise.
The female misnomer
‘Male menopause’ may grab attention, but experts dislike the term, because it glosses over the significant differences between the hormonal changes men and women experience as they age.
“Nobody doubts female menopause, and nobody doubts the mechanism by which it happens, that’s not the case for male menopause,” said Dr. Ike Iheanacho, editor of the journal Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, which in June published a review on using testosterone to treat so-called male menopause. “That epithet is unhelpful, because it deters people from doing what we [have] done, which is look at the evidence.”
The review, which reflected the journal’s opinion, found weak causal evidence that age-related hormone declines cause symptoms in men, a lack of long-term data, and at best, mixed results for short-term treatment.
For a woman, menopause marks the end of fertility and occurs when progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries, drop off. Symptoms can last several years, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Hormonal changes in men are quite different. Testosterone levels can decrease by about 1 percent to 2 percent each year after about the age of 40. While menopause is a universal experience for women, testosterone does not decline in all men. Other factors besides aging, like obesity or injury, are associated with low testosterone.
For many years, long-term hormone replacement for women was considered protective for all kinds of ailments, until study results in 2002 revealed it increased risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer, according to the NIH.
This history has implications for men with low hormones and symptoms, Walsh said. “You are seeing today far more caution on the part of clinicians and investigators.”
Two papers published in the July issue of the New England Journal of Medicine addressed the diagnosis of hypogonadism and its treatment.
In one study, researchers led by Frederick Wu of the University of Manchester used data from 3,369 European men to find correlations between testosterone levels and a battery of potential symptoms. As a result, they suggested that the presence of at least three measures of sexual dysfunction, including frequency of thoughts about sex and erectile function, in a man with a testosterone level below 11 nanomoles per liter could be used to define late-onset hypogonadism. (The study defined a decreased level as between 13 and 8 nanomoles per liter for total testosterone.) However, these symptoms were also widely reported by men who did not suffer from depressed hormone levels.
This causal relationship between hormone levels and symptoms is always a question, according to Dr. William Bremner, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, who wrote about that research in an editorial in the journal.
“In truth you don’t know that those are due to the testosterone until you give men testosterone and see whether those symptoms are improved,” he said.
Testosterone has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength, so a second study in the same journal issue set out to test how much testosterone supplementation was needed to increase mobility among men ages 65 or older with difficulty walking or climbing stairs. The authors, led by Shehzad Basaria of Boston University’s School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, found evidence that testosterone did improve the men’s strength. However, the men taking testosterone also experienced an unusually high rate of cardiovascular problems.
The latter result is surprising, and may be due to chance, since previous studies have not shown a connection between testosterone and cardiovascular risk, Bremner said.
The Women’s Health Initiative Study, which revealed risks of hormone replacement therapy, followed a total of 161,808 women over 15 years. No long-term research like this has been conducted in men, but it is needed, Bremner said.
“There really are a large number of older men receiving testosterone and the numbers seem to be increasing and it’s not something that is going away,” he added.
On the rise
In roughly the past four years, Brannigan’s urology practice has seen an increase in patients he said are suffering from late-onset hypogonadism.
“Certainly, there is no question we are seeing more patients, and the question is, and I don’t think we know, is it due to increased public awareness or is it due to increased prevalence,” Brannigan said. Still, he estimates that 95 percent of cases are undiagnosed.
His office is not unique. With an aging, more at-risk population living in a post-Viagra era, when taboos on men’s sexual health issues like erectile dysfunction are lifting, the increase is expected to continue. Prescriptions appear headed up as well.
Between 2005 and 2009, testosterone prescriptions dispensed by pharmacies rose 65 percent in the United States, according to a LiveScience analysis of data from IMS Health, a heath-care information and consulting company.
There is also a lifestyle connection. Low testosterone is associated with obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome – a combination of disorders linked to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. All three are on the rise within the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
NEW YORK – Researchers from Columbia University have suggested a gene therapy that will allow dieters to eat less and burn calories at the same rate as they do when eating normally, thus helping them keep off weight gain.
During the study, the team genetically engineered a group of to limit the action of a gene called Cpe.
Their metabolism remained high despite being less hungry and not eating as much as normal mice.
They hope if a similar gene in humans could one day be targeted by drugs, it would allow dieters to keep burning calories at the same rate as they do when eating normally.
Lead researcher Leona Plum of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Centre at Columbia University’s Medical Centre have found a protein called Fox01 in the brain region of the mice, which controls a gene, Cpe, which is known to make mice susceptible to obesity.
The team genetically engineered mice lacking this protein.
“Interrupting the link between the protein and Cpe caused a different breakdown of neuropeptides – brain chemicals – in the hypothalamus, which made the mice less hungry,” New Scientist quoted Plum as saying.
The study showed that the experimental mice did not eat the full amount of food presented to them yet their energy expenditure remained at a normal level.
These mice also ended up 15 per cent lighter with 27 per cent less body fat.
And because their energy expenditure did not reduce along with their calorie intake, the weight stayed off.
While the specific mechanisms are still unknown, the research presents a possible new target for weight loss drugs.
“Many years down the road, gene therapy could be one thing that would work,” said Plum.
The study appears in the journal Nature Medicine.