Tamoxifen protects against obesity-related metabolic disorders

Tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, is the gold standard for endocrine treatment of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Tamoxifen is also known to have metabolic effects. A new study in The American Journal of Pathology reports that the drug also prevents obesity, fatty liver, and insulin resistance in female mice who were fed a high-fat diet and whose ovaries had been removed. The study was also able to pinpoint which estrogen receptors underlie these protective effects, opening up possibilities for new therapies to treat these conditions.

“For the past two decades, estrogen receptor α (ERα) has been identified as a key regulator of energy and glucose homeostasis and consequently proposed as a promising target to develop new therapeutic strategies to fight against obesity-related metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. However, understanding the mechanisms of the metabolic protection conferred by ERα activation has been a crucial challenge,” explained Pierre Gourdy, MD, PhD, INSERM UMR1048, Institut des Maladies Métaboliques et Cardiovasculaires, Université de Toulouse (France).

Mice whose ovaries had been removed were fed a high-fat diet and treated with either tamoxifen or a placebo for 12 weeks. Investigators found that tamoxifen prevented weight gain,…

Eating Avocado May Help Prevent Risks Associated With Heart Disease

A new analysis of existing research shows that consuming the creamy fruit can help with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of diseases and symptoms that include heart disease and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

Researchers analyzed more than 100 published studies that examined how consuming avocado can affect individual aspects of metabolic syndrome. They found that avocado, along with avocado oil or even peel, may have protective effects on the heart, including lowering “bad” cholesterol, reducing hypertension and lowering risk of obesity.

An avocado-rich diet had the most positive effect on “good” HDL cholesterol levels and may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. That’s important because high levels of bad cholesterol is one of the biggest indicators of heart disease risk, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers also noted that…

Insulin resistance may lead to faster cognitive decline

A new Tel Aviv University study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease finds that insulin resistance, caused in part by obesity and physical inactivity, is also linked to a more rapid decline in cognitive performance. According to the research, both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects with insulin resistance experienced accelerated cognitive decline in executive function and memory.

The study was led jointly by Prof. David Tanne and Prof. Uri Goldbourt and conducted by Dr. Miri Lutski, all of TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine.

“These are exciting findings because they may help to identify a group of individuals at increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older age,” says Prof. Tanne. “We know that insulin resistance can be prevented and treated by lifestyle changes and certain insulin-sensitizing drugs. Exercising, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, and watching your weight will help you prevent insulin resistance and, as a result, protect your brain as you get older.”

Insulin resistance is a condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin. The…

New role for immune cells in preventing diabetes and hypertension

Immune cells which are reduced in number by obesity could be a new target to treat diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension that affect overweight people, according to a collaborative study between The University of Manchester, Lund University and the University of Salford.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers from immunology and cardiovascular backgrounds investigated a type of immune cell called eosinophils. Eosinophils are present in a layer of fat tissue called the perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT), which surrounds blood vessels and helps to maintain normal blood vessel function by reducing artery contraction.

The current research by the researchers found that eosinophils were considerably reduced in the PVAT in obesity in mice, and that the PVAT function was severely impaired, contributing to type 2 diabetes and hypertension. This is not something that has previously been observed.

Dr Sheena Cruickshank, the lead researcher on the Wellcome Trust-funded study, said: “This type of immune cell is present in many parts of the…

Can whole-body vibration stave off obesity and diabetes?

An intriguing study, published this week in the journal Endocrinology, compares the benefits of whole-body vibration with regular exercise. Could this innovative intervention help to stave off obesity and diabetes? Preliminary findings suggest that it could.

[Obese woman's belly]
Whole-body vibration could offer a new approach to treating obesity and diabetes.

It is difficult to ignore the obesity crisis currently sweeping across the United States and the rest of the West. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) write: “Obesity is common, serious, and costly.”

More than a third of U.S. adults are obese and, in some states, over 35 percent of adults fall into the obese category.

It is now well documented that obesity brings with it a range of negative health consequences, not least of which is diabetes.

One of the best ways to combat obesity is physical activity, but many people struggle to exercise regularly for a number of reasons. Anything that can either replace or add to the benefits of exercise could be hugely beneficial for a large proportion of the population.

A team of researchers from Augusta University in Georgia, led by Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence, set out to investigate a potential alternative to exercise – whole-body vibration (WBV).

Investigating WBV

WBV involves standing, sitting, or lying on a machine with a vibrating platform. As the machine vibrates, it transmits energy through the body, resulting in muscles contracting and relaxing many times per second.

First tested for its therapeutic benefits in the late 19th century, WBV has been studied for use in a range of situations. For instance, the European Space Agency is investigating it as a potential way to maintain muscle mass on…

Good vibrations: A bit of shaking can burn fat, combat diabetes

Whole-body vibration, the activity this gym-goer is performing, provided a metabolic tune-up for obese mice.

It sounds like a crazy way to improve your health—spend some time on a platform that vibrates at about the same frequency as the lowest string on a double bass. But recent research indicates that the procedure, known as whole-body vibration, may be helpful in illnesses from cerebral palsy to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Now, a new study of obese mice reveals that whole-body vibration provides similar metabolic benefits as walking on a treadmill, suggesting it may be useful for treating obesity and type II diabetes.

“I think it’s very promising,” says exercise physiologist Lee Brown of the California State University in Fullerton, who wasn’t connected to the study. Although the effects are small, he says, researchers should follow-up to determine whether they can duplicate them in humans.

Plenty of gyms feature whole-body vibration machines, and many athletes swear the activity improves their performance. The jiggling does seem to spur muscles to work harder, possibly triggering some of the same effects as exercise. But researchers still don’t know how the two compare, especially when it comes to people who are ill. So biomedical engineer Meghan McGee-Lawrence of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and colleagues decided to perform a head-to-head comparison of exercise and whole-body vibration.

The researchers tested mutant mice resistant to the appetite-controlling hormone leptin, resulting in obesity and diabetes. McGee-Lawrence and colleagues divided their animals into three groups. One group lived in cages on a platform…

Researchers aim to develop sustained and controllable insulin release system for treatment of diabetes

The prevalence of diabetes has grown around the world over the past three decades. In 2016, the World Health Organization estimated that 422 million people had the disease as the rate of obesity also increased. Aside from proper diet and exercise, the best treatment for diabetes is the delivery of insulin into the body that is both controllable and sustainable over time to manage blood glucose levels. Working toward the development of a better insulin delivery system, a research group from Kumamoto University in Japan has been experimenting with polyethylene glycol (PEG) modification (PEGylation) of protein drugs through a host-guest interaction between cyclodextrin (CyD) and adamantane to improve the stability and lifetime of insulin, calling the results of their work “SPRA technology”. Their current research focuses on combining SPRA technology with another development of their own that allows for better control of insulin release, “polypseudorotaxane (PPRX) technology”. Their goal in combining the two technologies was to develop a sustained and controllable insulin release system.

Using mono- or multi-SPRA-insulin solutions and alpha- or…

Cutting Carbs To Get Healthy + Lose Weight

When you are looking to get healthier, one of the most effective strategies is to start cutting carbs from your diet. In fact, most of today’s popular diet trends like the Atkins or paleo diet call for just that. Read on to find out why cutting carbs to lose weight could be the best choice to successfully reach your weight loss goals.

How Carbs Hinder Your Diet

In today’s modern society, most of us pack our daily meals with pasta bowls and freshly baked loaves. They make cheap and convenient meals that suit all taste buds.

The problem is, our modern diets are having a detrimental effect on our society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 66% of Americans are overweight, 33% are obese, and those numbers are continuously rising each year.

It’s clear from these results that our current grain-filled diets are not the way forward if we want to live fit and healthy lives. Grains are made from carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose (sugar) in the body. This glucose should be used as energy. However, any excess glucose is instead stored as fat.

When your diet is packed with high glycemic grain foods and sugar, your body is continually in fat storage mode. This means your body never has the opportunity to use your stored body fat as fuel. These stored triglycerides are normally found around the waist. So if you’d like to reduce your waistline, you can start by reducing your refined carbohydrate intake.

Although the idea of cutting out carbs completely from your diet may seem drastic, there’s a lot of research supporting this type of change. Numerous studies have shown that switching to a ketogenic (zero sugar) diet can actually have positive results on a number of diseases, even in cancer patients.

Which Carbs to Cut

When we talk about cutting carbs there are four main types of food to avoid.

  • Bread and Baked Foods

If you want to be healthy, bread and bakery foods are the first things you need to cut from your diet. These kinds of foods will usually have the strongest effect on your blood sugar, therefore, increasing the production of insulin, the hormone responsible for fat storage.

  • Wheat Pasta

Pasta that is made from wheat is another culprit of spiking fat-storing insulin. Filling up on a big bowl of pasta in the evening is the quickest way to pile on the pounds.

  • White Rice

Although rice doesn’t have the same gluten issues as wheat, it does raise your blood sugar enough to promote fat storage, especially if eaten regularly. Believe it or not, Japanese sumo wrestlers have bowl after bowl of white rice in order to fatten up. Unless you want to look like them, it’s best to cut down on rice or at least switch to brown rice for an occasional treat which is a healthier alternative.

  • Potatoes

If you’re looking to get healthy and lose weight, it’s a good idea to avoid potatoes for a while. This is because they have one of the strongest effects on blood glucose levels of any vegetable. Although good quality steamed organic potatoes are filled with healthy essential nutrients, most people get their potatoes in the form of french fries or chips, which are most definitely to be avoided.

Which Carbs Can You Keep?

Like most things in life, not all carbs are created equal. Although you should remove all refined carbs from your diet if possible, many high- fiber fruits and vegetables are a natural source of carbohydrates.

The fact is, when you cut back on grains and sugar and start getting your carbohydrates from high-fiber vegetables, your body will naturally begin accessing its stored fat as fuel. Simply changing your fuel source makes getting healthy (and losing weight) a much simpler process.

Ideally, you want to be reducing your daily carbohydrate intake to around 50 to 80 grams per day. Doing so will give your body the opportunity to utilize stored fat you have accumulated. Without any other changes to your diet or exercise regime, you will be on the right track for weight loss.


When looking to start a healthier lifestyle and lose weight and keep it off long term, adjusting your meals to no longer center around carbohydrates is the way to go.

Packing your plate with healthy protein from organic sources like turkey, chicken or eggs, accompanied by a mix of flavorsome veggies like pumpkin, bok choy, eggplant, and kale is a great way get the most flavor and nutrition from your food.

As let’s face it, how much flavor does a bowl of plain white rice offer anyway?

Stick to This Diet If You Want to Reverse Diabetes Risk Factors—or Avoid Them Completely

Illustration by stephen cheatham for Reader’s Digest International Edition

“Your blood sugar is too high. You have pre-diabetes.” When Gail Tudor heard her doctor say that in July last year, the 54-year-old U.K. wedding videographer was shocked. How could she? She had a normal body mass index of 24, and she followed the NHS-recommended diet low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables and healthy grains. Plus Gail, a mother of two who lives in Wales, was very active—skating, walking, kayaking, and more. Since she already did those things, her doctor said, it was unlikely she could reverse her path to Type 2 diabetes. She was offered a treatment plan including drugs, and was told that it was likely she’d need them for the rest of her life. “I couldn’t believe it,” Gail says. She determined to learn what else she could do to prevent diabetes from developing—without resorting to drugs.

Retired engineer Frank Linnhoff, 69, who lives near Bordeaux, France, knew his obesity and his family history put him at high risk of T2 diabetes. His father died aged 70 from kidney failure caused by the disease; his brother had a leg amputated at 45 because of it. Diagnosed with pre-diabetes a number of years earlier, Linhoff had tried his best to follow his doctor’s advice on diet and exercise, but still his weight climbed.

In January 2015, he was feeling so poorly he went for a blood test at a medical laboratory. The results showed his fasting blood glucose was sky high. He knew if he went to the doctor he would be diagnosed with diabetes. “I was so shocked that I was up all night, searching the Internet for answers,” he says. “My father and brother had failed to control their diabetes; I couldn’t have the same fate.” He was determined to pull himself back from the precipice.

In August 2015, at age 57, I, too, was told by my doctor that my fasting blood sugar was in the pre-diabetes range. Like Gail, I wasn’t overweight. My BMI was a healthy 23.7. I exercised three times a week and walked 10,000 steps every day. Moreover, as a health writer for more than 25 years, I had been following all the recommended dietary guidelines for three decades. What more could I do?

I began searching the medical literature for the most up-to-date facts and views. Pre-diabetes, I learned, is a warning flag of health troubles down the road for tens of thousands of men and women in Europe this year who will be told that they have it. An estimated one in three U.K. adults already do, and the International Diabetes Foundation estimates that in Europe, around five percent of adults, aged 20-79, are already living with impaired glucose tolerance and are at increased risk of developing diabetes. Pre-diabetes increases the risk up to ten times for developing eventual T2 diabetes with its dire rates of heart disease, stroke, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, and limb amputations. What’s more, damage to the body’s tissues and blood vessels can start well before full-blown T2 diabetes occurs.

Often causing or accompanied by hyperglycemia, pre-diabetes is linked to a problem with the body’s insulin, a hormone that moves sugar out of the blood and into cells for energy use or storage as fat. When pre-diabetes occurs, higher and higher amounts are being churned out that no longer work as effectively, a process called insulin resistance. The result is that too much sugar is left circulating in the blood, which leads to higher blood sugar levels and the higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Soaring rates of T2 diabetes are a massive health problem, not only for the individuals facing its consequences, but for health systems burdened by the burgeoning numbers. According to the European Commission, an estimated 32 million Europeans have the disease within the European Union itself. Worldwide, rates have almost quadrupled since 1980. In the last decade alone, T2 diabetes rates in the U.K. have increased 65 percent, and, according to Diabetes U.K.’s 2016 report, if the current trends persist, by 2034 a staggering third of Britons will be obese, while T2 diabetes will develop in 10 percent of the population.

The good news is pre-diabetes is reversible with lifestyle changes. So the choice is yours. In fact, Gail Tudor, Frank Linnhoff, and I have all eliminated our pre-diabetes since our 2015 diagnoses and greatly improved our health. So have thousands of others.

If you or a loved one has been told you have pre-diabetes, here is what you need to know.

Who is at risk?

Being overweight or obese, inactive, or from a family with a history of T2 diabetes makes you more likely to get a pre-diabetes diagnosis. Women—like Gail—who have had gestational diabetes (a type that affects women during pregnancy) are at much higher risk of eventually developing pre-diabetes or T2 diabetes. So are women who have given birth to a baby bigger than nine pounds—as I did 23 years ago. I also had a related condition that up to 20 percent of European women may have: a genetic, hormonal condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which causes lowered fertility, potential weight gain and other symptoms. A key feature of PCOS, just like diabetes, is insulin resistance. “Insulin’s action is the key,” notes Dr. Jason Fung,…

Couples with obesity may take longer to achieve pregnancy than non-obese counterparts

Couples in which both partners are obese may take from 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy, compared to their non-obese counterparts, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

The findings appear online in Human Reproduction.

“A lot of studies on fertility and body composition have focused on the female partner, but our findings underscore the importance of including both partners,” said Rajeshwari Sundaram, Ph.D., a senior investigator in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Our results also indicate that fertility specialists may want to consider couples’ body compositions when counseling patients.”

The couples in the study were part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study, which examined the relationship between fertility and exposure to environmental chemicals. The study enrolled 501 couples from Michigan and Texas from 2005 to 2009. The women ranged from 18 to 44 years of age, and the men were over 18 years old. Women kept journals to record their monthly menstrual cycles, intercourse and the results of home pregnancy tests. The couples were followed until pregnancy or for up to one year of trying to conceive.

Researchers also calculated body mass index (BMI) for each participant, categorizing…

How U.S. Farm Subsidies Could Be Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay ReporterTUESDAY, July 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Americans get more than half of their daily calories from seven farm foods that are subsidized by the U.S. government, but a new study suggests those subsidies may be contributing to the obesity epidemic.The problem, according to the researchers: The biggest consumers of such food products are also much more likely to be obese, and to struggle with high cholesterol, high inflammation levels, or high blood sugar. The foods include grains, dairy, and livestock products.”We know that eating too many of these foods can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. However, we still didn’t expect to see such strong results when looking directly at the association between the consumption of subsidized foods and health,” said Edward Gregg. He is chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation with the U.S. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.Gregg was not a part of the study. But, a team led by his colleague, Karen Siegel, reported the findings in the July 5 online edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.The researchers focused on seven leading commodities covered in the 1973 U.S. Farm Bill. Under that law, producers receive direct financial support from the federal government to grow or raise farm products that include corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, dairy and livestock.The goal is to ensure “a plentiful supply of food at reasonable prices,” given that domestic food production accounts for 80% of the food that Americans eat, Gregg explained.The…

Children’s BMI development and weight curve can be predicted at age one and five, research shows

Children’s BMI can predict future weight

Children suffer increasingly from obesity both in Sweden and globally. A European research team – including a researcher from Halmstad University – has mapped younger children’s health in eight countries. The results show that children’s BMI development and weight curve can be predicted with two measure points, at age one and age five.

– Obesity is, unlike being overweight, classified as a disease, and in turn leads to many other unhealthy conditions. It is therefore important with both treatment interventions as well as prevention against the development of excessive weight and obesity in childhood, says Susann Regberg, lecturer in Nursing at Halmstad University, and one of the researchers in the European research team.

38,000 measurements of length and weight

In a newly published study in the research project, data with length and weight of just over 4,700 children, from birth to age eight, was used. To obtain reliable analyses, at least four measurements on each individual child were performed. Overall, this resulted in nearly 38,000…

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