Vitamin D Improves Both HDL Levels and Weight Loss



A new prospective randomized clinical study showed that Vitamin D supplements increased levels of the HDL (“good cholesterol”) and improved weight loss.


 

 

VITAMIN D IMPROVES BOTH HDL LEVELS AND WEIGHT LOSS

Many health claims have been made for Vitamin D, although very few such claims have been well substantiated by high quality research studies.

In my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, I exhaustively review and discuss the available scientific data supporting Vitamin D as a potential cancer prevention nutrient.  However, other health claims have also been made for Vitamin D, aside from cancer prevention.  For example, there is some research data available suggesting that low levels of Vitamin D in the blood may be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.  As with most disease prevention research, though, much of the data supporting this claim for Vitamin D is based upon rather weak methods of clinical research, and there is very little “gold standard” prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical research data available that confirms a role for Vitamin D in cardiovascular disease prevention.  However, a newly published prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical study, which appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, adds further support for Vitamin D as a protective factor against cardiovascular disease, particularly among overweight and obese women.

In this new study, 77 otherwise healthy overweight or obese women were secretly randomized to receive either 1,000 International Units (25 micrograms) of Vitamin D per day or a daily placebo (sugar) pill for a period of 12 weeks.  Both groups of patient volunteers were then tested throughout the course of this study, including measurements of their blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels, and weight.  Food intake and physical activity levels were also monitored throughout the course of this clinical research study.

At the end of the study, the blood level of HDL cholesterol (the so-called “good cholesterol”) was found to have significantlyincreased in the group of women who had been secretly randomized to receive daily Vitamin D supplements for 12 weeks.  Similarly, the blood levels of apolipoprotein A-I, which also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (and which makes up part of the HDL molecule), was also noted to be significantly higher in the group of women who had received Vitamin D supplements, when compared to the women in the placebo control group.  (Moreover, the levels of both HDL and apolipoprotein A-I were noted to have actually decreased, over time, in the group of women who received only daily placebo pills.)

Finally, in this group of overweight and obese women, 12 weeks of daily Vitamin D supplementation was also associated with an average weight loss of just over 5 pounds (2.7 kilograms), whereas the women in the placebo control group lost less than one pound (0.4 kilogram) during the 12 week course of this study.  Interestingly, the enhanced weight loss that was observed in the Vitamin D group was not associated with any differences in the level of physical activity between the two groups of women in this study.

The rather dramatic results of this prospective, randomized, doubled-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical study, therefore, showed that, at least among overweight and obese women, daily Vitamin D supplementation for 12 weeks was associated with heart-healthy improvements in HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels, as well as significant weight loss.  Although this study included a rather small group of patient volunteers, and should therefore be repeated with a larger cohort of patients, the fact that this study was conducted according to “gold standard” methods of clinical research further adds to the credibility of its findings.  (Whether or not similar improvements in HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels can be achieved by Vitamin D supplements in non-overweight or non-obese women, or in men, was not addressed by this clinical study.  However, other human and animal studies have suggested that Vitamin D deficiency may, indeed, be associated with lower HDL and apolipoprotein A-I levels in both males and females.)

As excessive levels of Vitamin D can lead to significant health problems, including nausea, vomiting, dehydration, kidney stones, kidney failure, and ulcers of the GI tract, I strongly recommend that you see your physician first if you choose to start taking Vitamin D supplements.

For more information regarding the potential cancer prevention effects of Vitamin D, order your copy of my evidence-based book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, today!



For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books.  Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a lighthearted perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 






Bookmark and Share





































Post to Twitter

Orlistat (Alli or Xenical) Significantly Reduces Obesity

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


New research suggests that the over-the-counter drug orlistat can significantly improve weight loss when combined with a low-fat diet.



ORLISTAT (ALLI or XENICAL) SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCES OBESITY

Approximately two-thirds of the population in the United States is overweight, while at least a third of all people are obese.  Excess weight has clearly been linked to serious illnesses, including high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, liver disease, gallstones, and arthritis, among other potentially life-threatening ailments.  As I note in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, the extremely high concentration of fat and calories in modern processed foods, when combined with the sedentary lifestyles that most of us lead, almost guarantees a high level of obesity in our population.

Orlistat, which is available in both prescription and non-prescription forms, blocks the activity of lipase, an enzyme within the GI tract that breaks down dietary fats so that they can be absorbed.  Previous clinical research studies have shown that the addition of orlistat to a low-fat diet can significantly reduce body fat, and, in turn, can reduce the risk of illnesses that are associated with obesity.  Now that orlistat is available without a prescription, there have been concerns that this medication may be less effective, as it can now be purchased and taken without first having to enroll in a structured weight loss program.

A newly published study, which appears in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that non-prescription doses of orlistat (trade names Alli and Xenical) may still be an effective addition to the standard weight loss strategies of a healthy low-fat diet and exercise.  In this study, 27 obese research volunteers took over-the-counter orlistat (60 milligrams three times a day, with meals) for three months.  At the beginning and end of this study, the 27 volunteers were subjected to specialized imaging tests, including MRI scans, to measure the amount of fat in their bodies.  Blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels were also assessed.

In this clinical study, the use of over-the-counter orlistat, in combination with a reduced calorie, low-fat diet, was associated with a significant 11 percent reduction in body fat after 3 months.  Moreover, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate all decreased, as well, following three months of orlistat combined with a prudent diet.

The findings of this study suggest that even over-the-counter orlistat, in conjunction with healthy eating habits, can significantly reduce both body fat and at least some of the adverse health effects associated with obesity.

Now for the bad news… orlistat works by blocking the absorption of fat from the GI tract, which means that 25 to 30 percent of the fat consumed while taking orlistat will remain within the GI tract until it is eliminated in the feces.  Unfortunately, high levels of undigested fat in the stool can lead to some rather unsettling symptoms, including flatulence, greasy/oily stools, bloating, and in some patients, an urgent desire to have a bowel movement.  On the other hand, while these symptoms are very common during the first few months of orlistat use, they appear to improve over time, such that only about one-third of patients taking orlistat will still have these symptoms four years after starting the drug.  Moreover, in patients who conscientiously maintain a low-fat diet while taking orlistat, the incidence and severity of these GI tract side effects are even lower.  (Another potential complication of orlistat is the reduced absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, although vitamin supplements will prevent significant deficiencies of these vitamins.)

While orlistat is associated with significant potential side effects, and thus should not be taken by everyone, the results of this small study do strongly suggest that orlistat is an effective option for obese patients who are able to both tolerate the drug’s side effects and remain compliant with a low-fat diet.  As always, however, I strongly recommend that you check with your primary physician prior to starting any new diet or medication, including orlistat.

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!


On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


Bookmark and Share



































Post to Twitter

Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Obesity and Weight Loss

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID, OBESITY AND WEIGHT LOSS

Alpha-lipoic acid plays a very important role in the energy production centers of our cells (mitochondria).  In recent years, clinical research has suggested that alpha-lipoic acid supplements may have a variety of potential health benefits, including a possible reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Recent laboratory research has also shown that alpha-lipoic acid supplements markedly reduce the incidence of obesity in obesity-prone rats.  However, it has not been clear whether or not alpha-lipoic acid has any clinically significant anti-obesity effects in humans.  Now, a newly published prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical research study suggests that alpha-lipoic acid supplementation may indeed improve weight loss in obese humans.

In this study, which appears in the current issue of The American Journal of Medicine, 360 obese patient volunteers were randomized to receive either alpha-lipoic acid supplements or identical-appearing placebo pills.  Patients who were assigned to receive alpha-lipoic acid supplements received either 1,200 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid per day or 1,800 milligrams per day.  After 20 weeks, all patient volunteers were weighed once again.

After 20 weeks, the group of patients that had received 1,800 milligrams of alpha-lipoic acid per day experienced a modest but significant reduction in weight (2.1 percent of body weight) when compared the patient volunteers who had received the placebo pills.

While a 2 percent weight loss may sound trivial, it must be emphasized that obesity is an illness that has been shown to be refractory to almost every medical treatment (other than surgery), including the handful of very expensive prescription medications that have been approved by the FDA to treat obesity.  Certainly, alpha-lipoic acid, by itself, is not likely to reverse the epidemic of obesity that has spread throughout the world.  However, if the findings of this small prospective, randomized, controlled clinical study can be confirmed by larger studies, then alpha-lipoic acid may find use as an adjunct to other weight-loss strategies (including, of course, dieting and exercise).

Finally, as always, I remind readers not to begin new diets, exercise programs, or nutritional supplements (including alpha-lipoic acid) without first discussing such lifestyle changes with their doctors.

 

For a complete discussion of the impact of obesity on cancer risk, and the role of diet and nutritional supplements in cancer prevention, as well as other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

 

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books!  On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list! 



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:   Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.






 

Bookmark and Share



 

Post to Twitter

Better Tag Cloud