Tag Archives: metabolism

Large Neck Size Equals Big Metabolic Problems


Large Neck Size Equals Big Metabolic Problems:

A bulging stomach is widely accepted as a sign of poor metabolic health. A recent study published in the August Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (95:3701, 2010), finds a chubby neck is likely to hold even a worse prognosis for metabolic health.

The research team evaluated the relationship between waist circumference and neck circumference with levels of blood sugar, good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, and insulin resistance, as well as blood pressure. What was found was that neck circumference was a better predictor than waist circumference of elevated blood pressure, LDL, triglycerides and insulin resistance, with lower levels of HDL. All this amounts to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease as neck size increases. As an example, an increase in neck circumference of about one inch is expected to result in a 2.5 point rise in blood pressure.

The authors point out that the neck circumference was a more accurate predictor of cardiovascular risk in women than men. The average neck size for men in this study was about 16 inches (40.5 cm) and about 13.7 inches for women (34 cm).

Alfred Hitchcock, the famous director of suspense movies, made a trademark of his corpulent silhouette with bulging chin and abdomen. Thanks to this research we know his silhouette can signify more than a movie that will thrill you but also a metabolism that will kill you.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

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Does Inflammation Caused by Obesity Result in Diabetes ?


What comes to mind when considering the term “inflammation”? A festering pimple, or perhaps a high fever, an infected tooth, toe, abscess? These are typical examples of inflammation. Inflammation may exist in many other forms however, including possibly obesity.

Inflammation describes the immune system when it is activated. The presence of pus or fever are obvious forms of this. More subtle forms of inflammation can exist in the body. Recently, researchers from Australia, presented evidence that obesity itself is associated with abnormal activation of the immune system, or in other words, inflammation. This inflammation might in turn, cause type 2 diabetes. It is already becoming clear that the inflammation associated with obesity contributes to insulin resistance, the first step in the development of type 2 diabetes. In a study just published in the June volume of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (95:2845-2850, 2010), patients with either type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes were evaluated for the distribution of inflammatory blood cells before and after gastric band surgery. Abnormal immune activation or inflammation was detected in this group. After an average of 13% weight loss following gastric surgery, the scientists found up to an 80% reduction in inflammatory blood cells. Many of the patients were able to significantly reduce their diabetic medications after the weight loss. The conclusion is that inflammation may result from obesity and is reversible when significant weight is lost. Metabolic problems like diabetes improve as the inflammation is reduced, as well. Therefore, inflammation may be part of the reason people develop diabetes as their weight increases.

Studies like this will provide new avenues for attacking the development of type 2 diabetes due to excessive weight gain, and possibly to help find ways of combating obesity, as well.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, metabolism.com

Will Insomnia Lead to Diabetes?


During the past decade researchers have discovered that lack of adequate sleep can cause metabolic defects similar to those of diabetes. Blood sugar tends to be higher and insulin resistance more pronounced in people who don’t get adequate sleep. To create these abnormalities in blood sugar metabolism for studies, researchers typically deprived subjects of sleep to an extreme degree for several days. Recent research however, showed that less drastic sleep deprivation can create the same diabetes-like problems in metabolism.

In a study just published in the June edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (95:2963-2968, 2010), researchers in the Netherlands allowed normal subjects to sleep for only 4 hours for a single night. They found that after one night of sleep deprivation the body was not able to respond nearly as well to insulin as after a normal night of sleep.

Can this type of sleep deprivation eventually lead to permanent blood sugar problems? A group of researchers from Columbia University found that people who habitually sleep less than 5 hours per night are twice as likely to develop diabetic levels of blood sugar compared to those who sleep more.

What is the connection between sleep deprivation and diabetes? The thought is that lack of sleep fosters an inflammatory environment in the body. Whether this is because during sleep the body removes inflammatory cells and toxins or whether sleeplessness increases the production of inflammatory agents is not known. Inflammation, in turn, creates the basic metabolic defect in type 2 diabetes known as insulin resistance. Since insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar, if the body is resistant to insulin than high blood sugar (diabetes) can develop.

Conclusion? Work and worry less, sleep better and longer, and reduce your risk of getting diabetes. (Did I hear you say he must be dreaming?)

This article is for educational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice or treatment.

Gary Pepper, M.D.
Editor-in-Chief, Metabolism.com

Debbi Reveals Her Experience with Weight Gain after Quitting Smoking


In this post Debbi gives advice to Melanie who is concerned about weight gain when stopping smoking:

Debbi writes:

Melanie: Not sure if you have read all of these posts, but a few years back, I quit and gained THIRTY pounds just as you described. Made me feel exactly like you say “humongous slug” and buying bigger clothes every 4 weeks. It drove me back to smoking. Recently, (Nov. 14, 2009), I quit again and gained 13 lb. by Christmas!!! I had to buy new clothes once again & could feel the depression rolling in again, but instead of smoking this time, I started going to the gym like a total maniac. I follow Weight Watchers also. I am 54 years old, 5′ 2″and have weighed 120-125 most of my life – now I’m ‘hanging tight’ at 135 by doing what I’m doing. It will be 6 months smoke-free for me on Friday and I don’t feel too bad about it. I love going to the gym, especially my weight-lifting classes 2x week. I also do Pilates and a lot of walking and rowing. I just came back from a 18 day vacation and only gained 2 lb. – which isn’t bad considering I did NO exercise at all! Hang in there….things WILL even out. I am waiting for the day I can drop these 10 unwanted pounds and I know eventually it will happen. Be proud of yourself for not smoking – I am!

Melanie: Not sure if you have read all of these posts, but a few years back, I quit and gained THIRTY pounds just as you described. Made me feel exactly like you say “humongous slug” and buying bigger clothes every 4 weeks. It drove me back to smoking. Recently, (Nov. 14, 2009), I quit again and gained 13 lb. by Christmas!!! I had to buy new clothes once again & could feel the depression rolling in again, but instead of smoking this time, I started going to the gym like a total maniac. I follow Weight Watchers also. I am 54 years old, 5′ 2″and have weighed 120-125 most of my life – now I’m ‘hanging tight’ at 135 by doing what I’m doing. It will be 6 months smoke-free for me on Friday and I don’t feel too bad about it. I love going to the gym, especially my weight-lifting classes 2x week. I also do Pilates and a lot of walking and rowing. I just came back from a 18 day vacation and only gained 2 lb. – which isn’t bad considering I did NO exercise at all! Hang in there….things WILL even out. I am waiting for the day I can drop these 10 unwanted pounds and I know eventually it will happen. Be proud of yourself for not smoking – I am!
hogan55@cogeco.ca
Debbi
1

What is My Correct Thyroid Dose?


Lots of members at metabolism.com with hypothyroidism ask what is their correct thyroid hormone dosage. For those who are still confused I am posting the latest Q and A addressing this issue.

Member ecchho received radioactive iodine for hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid) and as commonly happens, developed hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). Despite t4 levels which appear to be normal symptoms persist, so ecchho inquires about ways of dealing with this common problem.

Here is the Q and A regarding ecchho’s post:

Hi Dr. Pepper:

I had Graves disease at 23 and then had RAI at 28 and have been on synthroid for 18 years. I did try ARmour once, but I found it had too much t3 (I think the pig’s ratio of t4 to t3 is much more potent than humans) and I actually had a real hard time regulating. I don’t have a thyroid anymore, and I take 225 synthroid. i still suffer a bit with impossible weight loss (despite running, dieting, etc) and some depression that feels quite hormonal at times. My dr. brought up adding t3 last visit and tested me, and then said, oh, you don’t need any xtra t3, you seem to be converting fine.
what are the levels that the t3 should be, and is this free t3 or t3? thanks.

My reply to Ecchho’s post:

Your question regarding the correct level for thyroid functions, is frequently raised on this website. I would respond to your question with this question, ” What is the correct shoe size?” Obviously, the answer is, whatever shoe size fits best. Similarly with thyroid function, everyone has a different “comfort zone” where their body functions best. That is their “correct” thyroid hormone level. You also refer to a t4 to t3 ratio for pigs versus humans. These ratio’s are averages of several hundred individuals (human or pig)and do not apply to any particular individual. Some people function better at a t3 to t4 ratio which is higher than the average. As pointed out in my article,https://www.metabolism.com/2009/11/07/breakthrough-discovery-thyroid-hormone-therapy-part-2/ , there is recent evidence that due to genetic differences, a percentage of the population does not convert t4 to t3 efficiently and therefore are likely to require t3 supplementation when treated for hypothyroidism.

Rather than spend the money for genetic testing to discover whether the genes for conversion of t4 to t3 are abnormal, some doctors recommend simply adding an appropriate dose of t3 to the standard t4 (levothyoxine)treatment and following the patient for improvement in clinical symptoms. You might want to consider discussing this approach with your doctor.

Gary Pepper, M.D

Expert Advice for Those Who Want to Gain Weight.


Yes, as we can see from so many posts here at Metabolism.com, some folks just can’t slow their metabolism down and keep their weight up! It is true some people just have a “high metabolism”… they burn up Calories like they were a fiery furnace. My professor at Columbia University’s College of Physician and Surgeons Institute of Human Nutrition was such an individual. He was tall and thin and took part in a study where he consumed an extra 6,000 Calories per day for 2 weeks and didn’t gain a pound! This can actually be frustrating for some people and needs to be addressed as seriously as the desire for weight loss is. No one wants to just gain adipose tissue (fat) either. Most people want to gain HEALTHY WEIGHT by increasing their lean body mass/muscle. A person’s total Calorie, protein, carbohydrate, fat and fluid needs depend on their height, weight, activity, gender, age, and yes, their metabolism! Metabolic rate can actually be measured by an indirect calorimetry machine. Once we know what your basal or resting metabolic rate is, we would factor in activity and other variables. It is always important to work on a weight gain program with a nutrition professional. Nutrition plans and supplementation should be developed by a professional so that you are not led astray and given misinformation. We have had inquiries about supplements such as L-carnitine and CLA for example. Always learn the basics about a supplement and see if it is really appropriate for YOU to use. I will answer quickly about L-carnitine because it is a popular supplement. Think of a CAR… it can carry things… CARnitine is like a little car that carries fatty acids across the cell membrane and into the mitochondria where they can be burned for fuel. We are able to produce carnitine ourselves and it is found in most animal based foods. However, some people may not produce enough and functional levels can be determined by a Spectracell test (see SpectraCell.com Comprehensive Nutritional Panel). Now, that is just a little Nutrition 101 for CARnitine… there is more where that came from, and as always,

Consider having an individualized consultation!

Beth Ellen DiLuglio

Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RD, CNSD, CCN, LD/N
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