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Muffin Top – It’s Time to Go (part 2)

Part 2 Nutrition to Blast the Muffin
Dr Michael Colgan 30 March 2015

The resting body creates heat through thermogenesis. It uses bodyfat called brown-adipose-tissue (BAT). BAT produces heat directly without going through the energy cycle. By activating BAT, you can lose bodyfat without moving a muscle, even while sleeping (1). In animals that hibernate, such as the grizzly, BAT burns up to one quarter of their bodyweight during winter, without any exercise at all.

Usual diet and exercise programs do NOT activate BAT. Just the opposite. If you go on sudden food restriction, yet force yourself to exercise, your body automatically turns on defense mechanisms to conserve its fat. It turns down heat production, turns down use of BAT, and drastically reduces energy. That’s why strict dieters generally feel cold and exhausted. Don’t do it if you want to lose the muffin.

Though not as efficient as bears, the body of a 40-year-old man or woman can make sufficient BAT to provide 15% of their total energy, and get all of it from bodyfat, without exercise.(3) Sounds miraculous and it is. Problem is how to activate the BAT (1,2).

Here are four nutritional strategies that work. You need to follow all of them precisely in order to succeed. Make them a daily habit and your muffin will slowly disappear.

Of course, you have to have the right protein nutrition; two 35 gram shakes of undenatured whey protein concentrate divide over four small meals evenly spread throughout the day, plus one protein meal of organic meats, eggs or wild fish. And, if you want to show a six-pack when the fat goes, you also have to do the right ab exercises to develop the muscle heads.

Melatonin is the hormone that turns on in your brain for the sleep cycle. It’s no accident that hibernating animals, such as bears, turns on copious melatonin to activate BAT. It produces sufficient heat to stop them freezing over winter.(3)

In both bears and humans, melatonin is essential to convert white body fat to BAT and thence to heat (4). After about age 20, however, melatonin declines rapidly in the human body. By age 40, it has declined by half. You can get some melatonin from almonds, sunflower seeds, coriander, cardamom, and mustard greens. But, unless you eat a lot of them, it is insufficient to activate much BAT.

The alternative is melatonin supplements. But most melatonin pills do not work. They are about 90% deactivated by digestive acids in the gut and their first pass through the liver. A liquid melatonin spray, such as a Sleep Spray, is much better. Held in the mouth for 30-60 seconds each night, it is quickly absorbed and passes intact through the blood/brain barrier into the brain (4).

For stubborn visceral fat, we use up to 15 mg of liquid melatonin per night. Some folk sleep too soundly on that much and wake up groggy. So, if you choose to use it, start with 1-3 mg. Do not miss a single night or the body will strongly turn off BAT. Then you are two days behind.

BAT Strategy No 2 SLEEP
Inadequate sleep disrupts BAT activity. So you have to get sufficient, that is, 7-8 hours actually sleeping every night. To ensure an effective melatonin rhythm, sleep in the natural dark cycle where you live, not during daylight hours. Sleep cool, which encourages heat production. And sleep dark (not even an alarm light) which optimizes melatonin release.

Don’t use your cell phone, pad, or computer in bed. The wavelength of light used to backlight these devices effectively turns off your melatonin rhythm (5). Alternatively, you can get an app called f-lux. It changes the backlight wavelength so that it does not affect melatonin.

To continue BAT activity and fat loss when you wake in the morning, take a strong cup of Arabica coffee on an empty stomach. An energized supplement, with added epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) from green tea is even more effective (6,7). Using a Brain Boost supplement, designed for use in the morning, is also a good way to get more EGCG. It contains 40 mg per dose. To help move muffin tops in fitness and fashion models, we use 100-300 mg EGCG every day. It is especially effective in removing visceral fat (7).

Then do some light exercise for just 5-10 minutes to raise your metabolic rate. We encourage push-ups, crunches, lunges, squats, and high kicks, in the bedroom. But even walking the dog will work. Do only what you know you can do again tomorrow, because missing a day puts you two days behind. Make this routine a habit and BAT activity can continue for up to four hours afterwards (7).

Remember, each day you get a new 24-hour circadian cycle of growth and development that controls all the changes that will prevail in your body. Whatever you do during each 24-hour cycle, will reflect in your growth that night. If you miss a cycle it is gone forever. Learn to live a lifestyle in tune with your circadian rhythm. You will never regret it.

To turn on BAT, the body has to produce proteins called uncoupling-proteins. These uncouple the use of some of our oxygen from the production of ATP (our energy molecule). The oxygen then goes direct to production of heat by mixing with and oxidizing the BAT you have activated. But, whenever its visceral fat is under threat, the body turns uncoupling-proteins way down.
Recent research shows that high intakes of the long-chain omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, from marine sources, strongly turn up uncoupling-proteins (8). With models, we use up to 4 grams of each daily. IsaOmega is a great source. You get best results by using 6-12 of them daily. As with every nutritional supplement, you should start low and slow. Spread out use with each meal during the day to aid assimilation.

One more nutritional step that is not linked to BAT. Metabolic changes from reduction of estrogen function pile on the visceral fat in women over 30 years of age, which includes many of those who come to us to lose muffin tops. This problem occurs because of gradual loss of estrogen control of glucose metabolism and insulin resistance (9). Based on a 2006 study showing loss of visceral fat with grapefruit (10), we have recommended the polyphenols naringenin and naringin, most abundant in grapefruit. But until 2013, there were few data showing how they work, so I was reluctant to recommend them publicly. Now we have precise evidence of the molecular mechanisms involved (9, 11,12).

I am covering naringenin and naringin in a forthcoming article. Briefly here, these non-toxic food components are a biochemical powerhouse. They reduce visceral fat, reduce levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, reduce liver production of adipose cells, normalize insulin levels, and restore glucose tolerance. So strong is the recent evidence, that they have started being used in treatment of insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome, and Type-2 diabetes. (9,11,12).

One liter of organic grapefruit juice can contain 1000 mg of naringenin and naringin. Human studies show losses of up to 4 lbs visceral fat with half a fresh grapefruit, three times daily with meals for 12 weeks An 8-10 ounce glass of grapefruit juice three times daily was almost equally efficient (9-12). What a simple nutritional strategy against the muffin.

As with all supplementation, because I do not know you, and you are not enrolled in my clinical program, you use these fat loss strategies at your own choice and risk. In Part 3 of this series, I will cover an effective exercise program to remove the muffin top and pooch. You will not have seen it before.

1. Stock MJ. Thermogenesis and brown fat: relevance to human obesity. Infusionstherapie, 1989;16(6):282-284.
2. Giralt M, Villarroya F. White, brown, beige/brite: different adipose cells for different functions? Endocrinology. 2013 Sep;154(9):2992-3000. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1403.
3. Jiménez-Aranda A, et al. Melatonin induces browning of inguinal white adipose tissue in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. J Pineal Res. 2013 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12089.
4. Colgan M. Sound Sleep. American Fork UT: Sound Concepts, 2012.
5. Wood B, et al. Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression. Applied Ergonomics 2013 Mar;44(2):237-40. doi:10.1016/j.apergo. 2012.07.008. 
6. Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation. Physiol Behav. 2010 Apr 26;100(1):42-6. Doi10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.02.005. 
7. Wang H, et al. DJ: Effects of catechin enriched green tea on body composition. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010, 18:773-779. 
8. Flachs P, et al. Cellular and molecular effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on adipose tissue biology and metabolism. Clin. Sci. (Lond.) 2009;116:1–16.
9. Ke JY. Et al. The flavonoid, naringenin, decreases adipose tissue mass and attenuates ovariectomy-associated metabolic disturbances in mice. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2015 Jan 13;12:1. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-12-1.
10 Fujioka K. et al The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. J Med Food. 2006 Spring;9(1):49-54.
11. Bharti S, et al. Preclinical Evidence for the Pharmacological Actions of Naringin: A Review. Planta Med 2014; 80(06): 437-451 DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1368351
12. Assini JM, et al. Citrus flavonoids and lipid metabolism. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2013 Feb;24(1):34-40. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e32835c07fd.

Wed, 06 May 2015

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Posted by Dr. John


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