Obesity is the single most common problem that doctors see in their practices. Unfortunately, it's also a risk factor for a host of disorders. People who are more than 20 percent over the recommended weight for their height and sex are more vulnerable to degenerative diseases-heart problems, certain cancers, diabetes, arthritis, and so on-than the rest of the population is. High blood pressure, strokes, hemorrhoids, hiatal hernias, varicose veins, kidney problems, infertility, gallstones, and liver disease are all more likely to strike the overweight. And since heavy people are likely to consume high quantities of toxic food, their immune systems are depressed, leaving them susceptible to any virus or bug that happens to be going around at home or in the office.
But most people with weight problems already know all that. Weight loss is probably the most written-about subject in America, but despite all the diets, pills, spas, and programs, only a small percentage of people are able to lose weight and keep it off. In fact, the rising occurrence of obesity can be traced in part to our attempts to fight it. Take the low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet that in the early 1990s was universally espoused as healthful: People filled up their plates with so much pasta, bread, and fat-free sweets that they actually ended up eating more calories-and, of course, gaining more weight. Other strategies, such as appetite suppressants, and extreme diets, do indeed help people lose weight in the short term. But they're also too dangerous to use for long, so at some point those people have to return to a lifestyle that is healthful. Because many "diet gurus" haven't taught people how to put healthful eating in the context of their daily routines, they soon put the weight right back on.
There are several reasons why a person is susceptible to obesity. Genetics is an obvious factor that makes it more difficult for some people to lose weight. One example is people who have syndrome X. This inherited condition makes some people more likely to put on weight from simple carbohydrate consumption than others are. Insulin levels spike upward and result in fat deposition. This problem is compounded by the fact that the average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year! In addition, some researchers feel that the body has a genetically programmed "set point." This refers to the theory that the body tries to maintain a set metabolic rate at which calories are burned, especially the fat cells. For people with a genetic susceptibility, it is even more important to be diligent with the diet and lifestyle recommendations we make. Also, nutritional supplements can help to lessen genetic tendencies.
The amount of calories someone consumes is an obvious reason for weight gain. Consuming too many calories without burning them results in a simple mathematical reality-weight gain. To stay within a certain parameter for your metabolism, it is helpful to grasp the concept of general calorie amounts of commonly consumed foods.
The second important concept, after calorie consumption, is the calories expended through movement and exercise. The more calories are utilized for energy, the less will go toward fat accumulation. In this technologically advanced and television-addicted society, people are expending many less calories than they used to.
Hormone balance is also important for the prevention and the treatment of obesity. Many hormones in the body have an effect on metabolism. The most notable are thyroid hormones, which greatly influence the metabolic rate in our cells. However, several others hormones, such as DHEA, testosterone, and growth hormones, have powerful effects as well. We have also found that an estrogen and progesterone imbalance contributes to fat deposition and water retention, and thus to weight gain. This seems to be particularly true for women who use synthetic hormones. A hormone balance also includes the level of the brain hormone serotonin. Low levels of this neurotransmitter contribute to feelings of hunger and to sugar/carbohydrate cravings. There are natural ways to optimize this neurotransmitter. Further research in this field will shed more light on the role of neurotransmitters and obesity.
Toxins in the body also pose a problem for people who are overweight. Many of the chemicals that people are exposed to interfere with normal cell function, including metabolism. Pesticides, heavy metals such as mercury, and others are a part of out polluted world. Interestingly, many of these toxins are stored in fat tissue in order to prevent damage to vital body organs, such as the brain and the heart.
In addition, a diet that is devoid of nutrients leads to nutritional deficiencies. The body does not burn fat by magic but requires several vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. It appears that certain nutrients can help in the prevention and the treatment of obesity. While none should be considered "magic bullets," they can in some cases be quite helpful as part of a comprehensive weight or fat reduction protocol.
The mental and the emotional, as well as the spiritual, well-being of a person cannot be ignored in regard to obesity. Imbalances in these areas often supersede genetic and physical reasons for weight gain. For example, many people with depression and anxiety consume comfort foods as a way to feel a false sense of love or worth. Some patients with obesity first began to have problems with weight after experiencing an unresolved emotional trauma. Treating the whole person is of paramount importance with obesity.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements shown to
The Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Prescription #1 Magnesium - LifeSource
Take 400 mg daily.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxer, and a deficiency contributes to cramping,
aching, and tightness.
Prescription # 2 Calcium / Magnesium – LifeSource
Products - See All of our
Take 600 mg twice
daily. Calcium is required for muscle and nerve relaxation. It works in
tandem with magnesium to relax muscles.
Prescription #3 Potassium - LifeSource Product
Take up to 300 mg
daily. A potassium deficiency can lead to muscle cramping. Note: If you are
on blood pressure medication, use under the guidance of our doctor.
Prescription #4 Aspirin – All Natural - LifeSource
Take as directed on
bottle. This remedy is has shown help in this area.
Prescription #5 Multivitamin – High Potency – LifeSource Products - See All of our Multivitamin Products.
Take a high-potency
multivitamin and mineral formula daily, as it will contain a strong base of
the nutrients that protect against muscle cramping.
Prescription #6 Phyto Greens -
Super Greens - LifeSource
Products - See All of our Phyto
Take an organic
super green food, such as chlorella or spirulina, or a mixture of "super
green foods" each day. Take as directed on the container. It contains a
variety of minerals for muscle relaxation.
Prescription #7 MSM – Methylsulfonylmethane – LifeSource Product
Take 500 mg three
times daily. This nutrient has natural antispasmodic properties. It is
especially good for muscle cramps and aches related to an injury. Reduce the
dosage if diarrhea occurs.
- Weight gain and fat deposition
- Increased sweating
- Difficulty breathing
Obesity is almost always caused by a combination of the first two items listed here: taking in more calories than are expended. But, as we described, there can be many factors at work.
- Poor diet (high in calories and simple carbohydrates)
- Hormone imbalance (particularly thyroid)
- Neurotransmitter imbalance (serotonin)
- Mental, emotion, or spiritual issues
- Preexisting medical conditions (e.g. hypothyroidism)
- Side effects of pharmaceutical medications (e.g. antidepressants)
Instead of counting calories or fat grams, your best bet for health and weight loss is to focus on eating foods that are fresh, whole, and nutritionally dense.
Don't rely on someone else: start cooking for yourself. Shop for a variety of basic, whole foods. You can eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds raw for their fiber and digestive enzymes; the rest of the time, use light cooking methods like broiling, steaming, roasting or grilling.
Make sure you get enough protein every day. Otherwise, you'll feel deprived and downright hungry. Fish is an excellent source of protein, but few of us can eat it every single day. Plan on having beans, lean poultry, soy products, nuts, or yogurt with every meal. High-quality protein drinks from whey, eggs, or rice are good choices.
Whole complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole-grain bread, and oats are necessary for a healthful eating plan. They're also high in fiber, which helps you feel full and keeps you free of toxins. Use common sense, though; carbohydrates are meant to be one part of your diet, not all of it. Have a small or moderately sized serving at each meal-no more.
Essential fatty acids are just what their name implies: fats that are good for you. Cold-water fish, flaxseeds, and cold-pressed oils like olive oil are necessary for proper functioning of almost every body system, and they help you feel satisfied after a meal. As with everything else, however, use EFAs in moderation. Extra helpings of anything, even of salmon fillets, contribute to your waistline but not to your health. Saute your vegetables in a tablespoon, not a cup, of olive oil.
Low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, may increase your desire for refined and complex carbohydrates, including for sugar. Eat foods that are high in tryptophan-turkey, chicken, tuna, soymilk, and live unsweetened yogurt. This chemical encourages the production of serotonin and may stave off cravings.
Vegetable juice is healthful and filling. Drink a glass a half hour before meals to keep your appetite in check.
Water also takes the edge off your hunger. Plan on drinking a glass of clean water every two waking hours.
Eat a balanced ratio of the major food groups. Many people do well on a diet that is 40 to 50 percent carbohydrates (mainly, complex carbs), 30 percent fats (mainly, good fats), and 30 percent protein. This is just a sample percentage. Some people do better with a slightly higher protein intake.
Eat more small, regular meals throughout the day to quench your appetite and balance blood-sugar levels.
Do not skip meals, particularly breakfast. This puts the body into a starvation mode that can increase fat accumulation.
Foods to Avoid
Americans are addicted to sugar. Sugar is high in calories and causes mood swings and blood-sugar crashes that may only increase your cravings. If you're trying to lose weight, your first priority should be to reduce or, in some cases, eliminate refined sugar from our diet. No cookies, cakes, candy, ice cream, sodas, white breads, pastas, and crackers, and especially no low-fat sweets, which contain extra sugar to make up for the missing richness. It's also wise to limit your intake of natural sugars. Fruit sugars, honey, and molasses are less damaging to your body than refined products are, but in large quantities, they can still lead to weight gain. Eat them only in moderation.
Avoid processed and junk food. Food made with artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives offers you little in the way of real sustenance. Their toxins are also highly addictive. As most of us know, even one fast-food cheeseburger or a handful of greasy, salty potato chips is enough to derail your body from its natural sense of what's healthful.
Refined flours are another example of the proverbial "empty calories." Pasta, white bread, and white rice are stripped of most of their nutrients, leaving you with nothing but a plate full of calories.
You've heard if a thousand times, and it's still true: you must radically cut back on your consumption of "bad" fats. If you stop eating processed food (including margarine and shortening), you'll go a long way toward this goal. Naturally sweetened baked goods are also high in saturated fats. If you enjoy any of these items, reserve them for the occasional treat.
If you're overweight, chances are that you've been eating food that's highly toxic. A short juice fast will encourage your fat cells to release their waste products and toxins. A few days without solid food will also help you break your addictions, so that your body "remembers" the healthful foods it needs and begins to crave those instead of junk. Consider beginning your diet with a one- to three-day juice fast.
People who are overweight may also suffer from frequent constipation. The best course of action is to follow the eating plan given here; with less fat and more fiber, you'll soon find that you're regular again.
Identify your food sensitivities. Food sensitivities or allergies can contribute to weight gain.
- A high-potency multivitamin provides a base of vitamins and minerals required for people on a restricted diet.
- Supplementing 7-KETO (3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone) has been shown in a study of overweight people to help with weight and fat loss. Take 100 mg twice daily.
- Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) improves liver metabolism and detoxification, which may support weight loss. Take 300 mg or 2 ml with each meal.
- Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) supports thyroid function. Use it if you have suboptimal thyroid activity. Take 100 mg or 1 ml twice daily.
- Exercise. It's more effective than dieting alone. But you don't have to run a marathon to reap the benefits of activity; in fact, it's far better for you to take a brisk walk every day than to engage in more strenuous activity once or twice a week. Overall, it is best to pick an exercise that you really enjoy. If you're very out of shape or have heart problems, contact your doctor before starting an exercise program. And whatever you're doing, ease into it gradually.
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*Disclaimer: None of the above statements have been evaluated
by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent
any disease. As always, consult your physician before taking any and all
supplements. LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
Disclaimer: All the information contained throughout
this website is based upon the opinion of the founder of LifeSource Vitamins,
Bruce Brightman, and the entire team at LifeSource Vitamins whose relentless
research and studies have been ongoing on since 1992. Other articles and
information are based on the opinions of the authors, who retains the copyright
as marked on the article. The information on this site is not intended to
replace your health care professional, but to enhance your relationship with
them.Doing your own studying and research and taking your health care into your
own hands is always best, especially in partnership with your health care
professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have
any medical conditions, always consult your health care professional before
taking supplements based on the information on this site.