Welcome to the 39th edition of Viewpoints, our monthly e-newsletter. Click on In This Issue headlines to read individual articles.
|INTELLIGENCE REPORT: EATING DISORDER VICTIMS MORE PRONE TO PCOS
Women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) are more prone to the binge-eating disorder bulimia. And the condition may, in some cases, be linked to a sex hormone imbalance, according to new research.
Bulimia is normally viewed as a mental condition and treated with psychological therapies.
But a study by Dr Sabine Naessén, of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, suggests some women with the condition may have too much of the male hormone testosterone – an underlying cause of PCOS, which, in turn, is a major source of female infertility as well as skin conditions, excess facial and body hair and baldness in women. (1)
After being treated for the testosterone imbalance, half the bulimics in the study reported less hunger and fewer cravings for fatty, sugary food.
Dr Naessén claims that three out of 21 bulimics treated this way became completely free of the eating disorder.
Bulimia involves compulsive over-eating and is probably the most common form of eating disorder. It is approximately 10 times more common in women than men.
Normal treatments involve cognitive behavioral therapy – psychological counseling which looks to uncover deep-rooted causes for problems. Anti-depressants are often prescribed for the illness.
However, some outward signs of hormonal imbalance were apparent in a group of 77 bulimics examined by Dr Naessén. The bulimics were more likely to report PCOS symptoms like menstrual problems and excess body hair than women without the eating disorder.
The theory was tested in 21 women who had outward signs of hormone imbalance when they were given a version of the contraceptive pill containing the female sex hormone oestrogen to reduce testosterone levels.
The study found that taking oestrogen was linked to a reduction in bulimic 'symptoms' over a three-month period in approximately half the women involved.
Dr Naessén said: "We have shown that one third of female bulimics have metabolic disorders that may explain the occurrence of the eating disorder.
"These disorders may in certain cases express the hormonal constitution of the patient, rather than any mental illness. Hormone treatment may very well be an alternative to cognitive behavioral treatment."
(1) Dr. Sabine Naessén, Bulimia May Result from Hormonal Imbalance.
Karolinska Institutet, 2007-01-09
|NEW RESEARCH: MOTHERS' PUBERTY PROVIDES OBESITY CLUE
The age at which a mother had her first period can help predict her child's risk of developing obesity.
A study of 6,000 children found that those born to mothers who experienced early puberty were more likely to grow rapidly as babies and be overweight as children. This faster growth pattern is also linked to obesity in adulthood.
The findings could help identify children at risk of weight problems early on, the Public Library of Science Medicine (PLOS) report concludes.
It is already known that the age at which a girl has her first period – or reaches "menarche" – is largely inherited. And women who start their periods early are at increased risk of obesity in later life, as well as being more likely to be overweight even before puberty.
Research in the latest study showed that mothers who began their periods before age 11 were five times more likely to be obese than mothers who had their first period after the age of 15.
Children of mothers who had early first periods were taller by the age of nine and weighed more. Girls were also more likely to start their periods before the age of 11. Those whose mothers had their first period under the age of 11 were three times more likely to be obese than those who started their periods after the age of 15.
The researchers also looked in more detail at growth measurements from birth to nine years in 900 children. They found that the mothers' age at the time of the first period was associated with faster growth in weight and height in children up until the age of two years.
Children who have a fast growth pattern tend to start puberty earlier, but stop growing sooner - so they may not be particularly tall as adults.
Lead researcher Dr Ken Ong, paediatric endocrinologist at the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University in England, said it was now clear that this growth pattern starts at birth.
"Beyond links to early puberty, most importantly this growth pattern appears to lead to an increased risk of obesity that lasts from childhood through to adult life."
He added there could be a genetic link – perhaps related to appetite – or that the findings may be explained by feeding behaviors or patterns that run in families.
"Knowing that rapid infancy weight gain, early puberty and obesity run together in families may help us identify which children to best target our efforts at right from birth."
Excess weight gain and obesity increase the risk of a heart or stroke in both sexes. But regular exercise combined with a balanced, nutritious diet can help reverse an underlying cause of obesity, namely the imbalance of blood glucose and insulin called Insulin Resistance. By reversing Insulin Resistance, you can facilitate weight loss.
If left unchecked, obesity may lead to the cluster of increased risks for cardiovascular disease called Metabolic Syndrome, as well as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – a leading cause of infertility and menstrual irregularity, acne and other skin conditions, excess facial hair and female hair loss. Overweight women do not have a monopoly on PCOS, however. Up to 50% of PCOS sufferers may be females who are of normal weight or even lean.
Insulin Resistance-linked weight problems are also associated in both sexes with Type 2 Diabetes. Before the onset of this latter condition, however, most people develop reversible Pre-Diabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated beyond normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes. Left unchecked, Pre-Diabetes may lead to the Type 2 variety, which can only be managed for the rest of a person's life. Many Diabetics require daily injections of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes severely increases the risk of blindness, amputation and kidney disease, as well as a heart attack or stroke. Some 90% of people with Type 2 also suffer from excess weight or obesity.
|CONSULT DR. MARY: HOW IS INFLAMMATION RELATED TO INSULIN RESISTANCE?|
Chronic inflammation is on the forefront of medical investigation, with researchers trying to understand not only what causes the condition but also how it can be prevented.
Inflammation is the response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli. In the case of Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X) , Pre-Diabetes and PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), this harmful stimuli is insulin.
Prolonged levels of elevated insulin contribute to inflammation. If left unchecked, this type of inflammation can lead to atherosclerosis and contribute to Insulin Resistance - the imbalance of blood glucose and insulin. PCOS has been characterized as a low-grade inflammatory state, which can be assessed by measuring CRP (C-Reactive Protein).
CRP is a blood test that helps determine the level of inflammation in blood vessels. The higher the CRP reading, the higher the inflammation is and the greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Additionally, women with PCOS have higher levels of CRP than women without PCOS, whether they are lean or overweight.
Elevated levels of CRP are also linked strongly with Metabolic Syndrome, a cluster of increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
The way to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease is to restrict one's exposure to insulin through a diet high in lean proteins, good fats and good carbs from vegetables, plus some fruits. Additionally, there are numerous nutraceutical ingredients that moderate inflammation, such as omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals. Don't forget that exercise produces a positive and long-lasting impact on the body's inflammatory processes.
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|INSULITE LIFESTYLE TIPS: ENJOY GREATER HEALTH AND A BETTER SEX LIFE ... BY TAKING A REGULAR NAP!|
A nap in the afternoon can improve everything from your waistline and performance at work to your overall health and even your sex life.
Taking a regular nap is a "lifesaving habit," according to sleep expert Dr Sara Mednick, a psychologist and researcher at the Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California.
An afternoon nap can do you as much good as seven hours' sleep and could even extend your life, she says.
A six-year study published this year showed how having a mid-day snooze could help prevent heart disease. People who slept for 30 minutes at least three times a week had a 37% lower chance of a heart attack.
Napping may trigger the release of sleep hormones that act as an antidote to stress – a risk factor for heart disease. Nappers also make fewer mistakes and have boosted brainpower.
A refreshing nap can also help you lose weight because tired people eat more and it may reinvigorate your sex life because a nap is so energizing.
In some of her most striking research, Dr. Mednick compared the effects of napping to drinking caffeine. One group of people took a 90-minute nap, another consumed 200mg of caffeine (the amount in a regular mug of coffee) and a control group took a placebo.
They then carried out several tasks, including typing and spatial skills (such as remembering the layout of a room or a map). The coffee drinkers performed much worse than the placebo group, while the nappers performed best of all.
In another study – published this year in the journal Nature Neuroscience – Dr Mednick put 30 well-rested people through the same set of tasks four times in the course of day, starting at 9.0 a.m. and ending at 7.0 p.m.
Performance fell by more than 50% in the people who stayed awake the whole time, while those who napped for an hour in the early afternoon were able to restore their performances.
Dr. Mednick says her findings tie in with studies showing that the brain needs sleep to incorporate newly learned skills into memory. Her research was inspired by Presidents Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy, both of whom took regular naps.
Winston Churchill attributed his contribution to winning the Battle of Britain against the German Luftwaffe in 1940 partly to his regular energizing naps, while Leonardo da Vinci also believed napping helped his work.
But although naps benefit everyone, it is the over-tired and chronically fatigued who are likely to get the most out of a catch-up nap. Recent findings have shown that the sleep-deprived are less efficient at work, fatter, more likely to take time off sick, can struggle with relationships and are at increased risk of being involved in traffic or other accidents.
Not all naps are equal, says Dr. Mednick. The ideal example contains two stages of sleep: slow-wave sleep (a deeply relaxing type of sleep, when the brain is moving at a slower pace) and REM (rapid eye movement – when the brain is fairly alert and which is good for creative thought and boosting alertness).
When people had only slow-wave sleep, their performance remained stable. But when their naps included REM and slow-wave sleep, performance improved.
"A nap that includes equal parts of slow-wave sleep and REM sleep is perfect," she says.
Dr. Mendick calls 1.0 p.m-3.0 p.m "prime napping time" – partly because it is when the sun is at its highest and temperatures peak, making us feel naturally sleepy, and partly because it is the only time, other than 1.0 a.m., that we can enjoy slow-wave sleep and REM in equal proportions.
According to Dr. Mednick, the "perfect nap" is 90 minutes because it can produce the same benefits as a seven-hour night of sleep.
But, since it's unrealistic for most people to get this amount of sleep in the middle of the day, you can customize your naps to suit your lifestyle.
For the chronically-tired, two shorter, 25-minute naps at lunchtime and after work may be enough to help catch up on sleep. However, you will reap health benefits no matter how long and whenever you sleep – even if it's just for 20 minutes.
Ideally, you should find somewhere quiet and dark, she says. Turn off your mobile and put your computer into sleep mode. Other suggestions include sleeping in your car – or even on a park bench (provided you have no valuables on you!)
Invest in a pair of earplugs is worthwhile if there is lots of noise around you. Avoid caffeine, which can interrupt napping.
And don't sleep somewhere too warm (the best temperature for sleep is 65–68F) – otherwise you might not wake up in time!
A MONTHLY MESSAGE FROM INSULITE LABORATORIES
We at Insulite Laboratories continue to be concerned at the rising tide of obesity in the U.S. and throughout the world..
Every month seems to produce disturbing new evidence of the scale of the problem.
One example is a report detailing the number of U.S. hospital stays in which obesity was noted as a primary or secondary cause. The most recent figures, for 2004, show 1.7m cases – a 112% increase since 1996.
The fight against excess weight and obesity is not a lost cause, however.
Insulin Resistance, an underlying cause of weight gain, can be reversed.
We are dedicated to enabling you to achieve that result with the Insulite Excess Weight and Obesity System.
"I have been on the Insulite PCOS system for a little over 3 months now and it is truly a miracle. I feel energized, healthy, and most importantly, normal.
"A couple of months ago I decided to go off the birth control pill just to see if I could get a period on my own. I'm on my 2nd consecutive menstrual cycle, which hasn't happened since I was a teenager or without the help of birth control pills.
"I'm 30 years old and am having periods on my own. Amazing! I never thought this would happen. Especially since both my daughters were conceived with the help of Glucophage and Clomid.
"Thank you to all of those who have taken the time and energy to put together a system that can help people feel normal and enjoy life the way you should. Not to mention all the ingredients in the Insulite PCOS System, which are healthy and can be taken without having any negative side effects.
"I'm forever in debt!."
Have You Been Diagnosed with PCOS?|
If You Have, We're Here to Help You Restore Your Health
Insulite Laboratories is committed to giving you a better understanding of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and a common underlying cause of the condition, namely Insulin Resistance-linked excess weight or obesity.
So we are very pleased to offer the Insulite PCOS System, which has been scientifically-formulated to help reverse Insulin Resistance, an imbalance of blood glucose and insulin.
PCOS is a major cause of female infertility, as well as irregular periods and excessive bleeding, obesity, skin conditions like acne and brown patches, excess body hair, female baldness and reduced sex drive.
The Insulite PCOS System includes a scientifically-designed combination of nutrients which are primarily designed to increase the number of insulin receptors on the surface of each cell.
As a result, cells can absorb blood glucose through the receptor sites more efficiently for conversion to energy, thereby reducing levels of circulating glucose. A decrease in elevated blood glucose lowers the secretion of insulin, which are both major underlying causes of excess weight gain and obesity.
When insulin and glucose are in balance, weight loss is facilitated and a related disease like PCOS can be reversed.
Please go to www.pcos.insulitelabs.com
for more details.