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Nutraceutical Science and Weight Management


by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Obesity, besides increasing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, also can take its toll on your knees, spine, and self image. Losing weight requires a combination of decreasing your calorie intake while stepping up or instituting an exercise regime. Many people are successful at loosing weight once they truly want too - keeping the weight off is the mean trick. This nutritional program is to help you successfully lose weight, and just as importantly, after all of that work and self denial - keeping it off. The first segment of my recommendations is to help you lose inches off of your midriff, the second segment is to help you keep the weight off.

Phase One – Losing Fat

DHEA - is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It has many important activities including the ability to help reinstitute control of an aging or out of control immune system. It is also partially converted into the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. In your twenties you have plenty of DHEA, but its level drops every decade, and by the time you reach your seventies you produce much less than when you were younger. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association detailed how people over the age of 65, when placed on 50mg of DHEA each day, an amount that restored their levels back to that of younger people, had a significant decrease in their abdominal obesity over the six-month study period versus subjects on placebo. They lost body fat around the waste, and their insulin worked significantly better and insulin resistance was decreased - reducing their risk of developing diabetes and heart disease (, click on Radio Studies, November 10th 2004).

Hoodia Gordonii Cactus - This succulent plant is used by the San people of southern Africa, who live in the Kalahari desert - a very harsh and unforgiving environment. When they go on their long hunting trips it is traditional for them not to consume the food they catch, instead they bring it back to their village and share it communally. To prevent hunger they cut a cucumber sized portion of the cactus and chew a slice of it whenever they feel the need to eat. The steroidal glycosides, natural constituents of the Hoodia cactus, send a powerful signal to the brain many times sronger than carbohydrates telling them that they have eaten and no longer require food. This is magnificent, non- stimulating control of the appetite.

Green Tea Polyphenols - concentrates of green tea enhance the ability to burn fat. This ergogenic activity is seperate and distinct from the ability of caffeine to increase metabolism. Studies show it is due to the green tea catechins especially the EGCG content and that consuming enough of the green tea catechins burns fat in both men and women. It helps reduce waist size, and whats more, it does this even when caffeine free. Green tea extract has been shown to cause weight reduction. It takes four eye droppers per day of the extract containing high levels of EGCG to do the job. It will take up to 10 pounds off in 6 months.

CLA - studies show that CLA, especially if combined with exercise, helps burn fat and in one study decreased both cellulite and the thigh diameter in women. CLA is a good type of fat that is known to signal cells to burn excess stored fat mainly in the trunk.

L-Theanine - this unique amino acid is derived from the Green Tea leaf. L-Theanine alleviates stress. It also p rotects you from your own stress hormones. These hormones can decrease insulin sensitivity and keep you hungry. They also break down muscle and cause an accumulation of fat. Many peole will tell you how they cannot stop eating when they are stressed out and nervous. Decreasing the release of stress hormones can help unlock your ability to loose weight.

Chromium picolinate - helps control insulin levels, restoring them to normal and bringing blood sugar under control. It also lowers the signal for fat storage. Additionally, alpha lipoic acid directs calories towards energy production and 5-HTP (5, hydroxy-tryptophan) is used for those people who are depressed and use comfort foods to make them feel better. This compound helps the body make more serotonin, a mood enhancing hormone, therefore they are less depressed and eat less by raising serotonin levels. One thousand milligrams of dietary calcium per day will also cause a reduction in your weight.

Note: Many people notice that after eating they are still hungry. This may be due to an abnormality in the stomach production of ghrelin, a hormone found to control appetite. When this hormone is not shut-off by a meal it can be turned-off by increasing the amount of dietary soy.

Phase Two - maintaining a lean look

Chitosan - this extract from the carapace or shell of crabs soaks up many times its weight in fat. Chitosan is useful in helping to block the absorption of fats and fat calories f rom unhealthy and high calorie meals.

Phaselolus Vulgaris - a concentration from white kidney beans, this extract attaches to a percentage of the enzymes that digest starches, decreasing the absorption of carbohydrate calories.

Soy Isoflavones- ghrelin is a hormone released by the digestive tract that makes you feel hungry. Soy isoflavones at a dosage of 120mg per day inhibit the release of ghrelin and they are useful for weight maintenance. (, click on Radio Studies, July 12th and September 16th 2004).

Meal replacements - these are good but they need to be whey and/or soy based. Use them to replace two or three meals per day. They need to be a meal substitute with all the requirements of a meal.

• Eat more of the right foods. A balanced meal, meaning protein, veggies and a carbohydrate in approximately equal portions, will help keep insulin levels lower thus minimizing cravings. If you add up your meals and the number of servings from the meal replacements, it means you are having at least 5-6 meals per day. However, make the food portions smaller. Eating less food will also cause you to loose muscle rather than fat. This could be serious because you want to increase muscle and lose fat!*

*web site,