It is becoming increasingly evident that the UK is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. Our lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary, to the point that not even a morning coffee requires exercise. For example, I recently experienced my first drive-through coffee! My morning latte can now be ordered, collected and consumed all without the removal of my seat belt.

Convenience-focussed lifestyles have made weight gain increasingly inevitable, resulting in 44% of men and 33% of woman in the UK being classed as clinically obese. In addition, childhood obesity has dramatically increased, with 31.2% of children aged 2—15 being classed as either obese or overweight in 2004.

It is well understood that a combination of a balanced diet and plenty of exercise is the key to maintaining a healthy body weight. Yet, obesity continues to increase. Is it the distaste for exercise, or perhaps, our drinking culture? Our busy lifestyles seem to leave little time for exercise, or could it be the lack of awareness regarding the calorific content of foods?

We think the answer lies in routine. People find it hard and unpleasant adapting to a healthier lifestyle; once they’re in an unhealthy routine, it’s very hard to break.

What are Nutraceuticals?

Nutraceuticals are part of a growing sector within the food supplements market, and are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and low side effects. But what are Nutraceuticals?

They are supplements derived from specific food sources that have medical or health benefits in addition to basic nutritional content. However, there is a lack of good quality evidence associated with the specific Nutraceuticals claimed to aid fat loss, in combination with increased exercise and a balanced diet.

Let’s take a closer look...

L Carnitine

    L Carnitine is commonly found in dairy products and red meats and is an example of a Nutraceutical that has been claimed to reduce body fat.

    L Carnitine functions as a cofactor in the process of fatty acid oxidation for cellular energy production. In theory, a reduction of L Carnitine’s mediated enzyme activity results in reduced fatty acid oxidation in muscle tissue, resulting in increased fat storage. Consumption of additional L-Carnitine in obese patients should increase the rate of fatty acid metabolism in the liver and muscle and therefore reduce fat storage. However, there is little firm evidence to support its use for weight loss because the studies to support this ingredient are either based on animal models or use human subjects with statistically insignificant numbers.

    Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

      This Nutraceutical is an endogenous adrenal hormone and functions as a PPAR alpha-receptor agonist, which peaks with blood levels experienced at 20 years of age and then rapidly diminishing after 25 years of age.

      In a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled, six-month trial of men and woman over 65, a daily dose of 50mg DHEA reduced visceral and subcutaneous fat significantly, with no significant adverse effects reported. DHEA has solid evidence supporting it as an effective weight loss aid. However, it’s safety in long term use has not been fully validated, particularly relating to its effects on estradiol and testosterone levels

      Green Tea

        Green tea is increasingly becoming the target of weight loss claims. Moreover, green tea contains catechin polyphenols including epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) which have been shown to inhibit catechol ortho-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme responsible for the degradation of noradrenaline (which has an important role in the control of thermogenesis and fat metabolism).


        Let’s talk about the rise in Cardio-Vascular Diseases

          Green tea is increasingly becoming the target of weight loss claims. Moreover, green tea contains catechin polyphenols including epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC) which have been shown to inhibit catechol ortho-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme responsible for the degradation of noradrenaline (which has an important role in the control of thermogenesis and fat metabolism).

          In addition to this, Tea catechin have been shown to cause a loss of appetite, which might involve neuropeptides other than leptin. A small crossover study featuring 10 men indicated that green tea extract increased 24 hour energy expenditure without increasing the heart rates of the volunteers. This is surprising, as other substances that increase energy expenditure (ephedrine) also increase heart rate, increasing the risk of adverse cardiovascular effects. This study did not measure weight loss as a parameter and further clinical trials still need to be conducted in order to evaluate the complete efficacy of green tea as a weight loss tool. Green tea is consumed worldwide and is considered safe to consume, as long as a person drinks no more than 5 cups a day. It can easily be incorporated into an everyday lifestyle without the trouble of buying and taking capsules and tablets.

          Conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA)

            This is a collective term to describe a mixture of positional and geometric dienoic linoleum acid isomers with conjugated double bonds. CLA isomers are found in dairy and meat products.

            The activity of CLA is thought to increase energy expenditure, reduce fat cell size, increase apoptosis of fat cells, and inhibit lipogenesis in the liver and increase fat oxidation.

            A year-long randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study of the effects of CLA on body fat mass, concluded that long-term supplementation of CLA in healthy overweight adults significantly reduced body fat mass. Adverse effects were mainly gastrointestinal and classed as just ‘mild’ or ‘moderate’. Several human trials have been reported in which no adverse effects occurred when high quality CLA was taken at doses of 3-6g per day. However, it is necessary for more extensive clinical trials to be conducted to monitor the safe use of CLA for weight management.

            Bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso et Poiteau)

            Bergamot belongs to the Rutaceae family, genus Citrus. It’s an endemic plant from the Calabrian region in Italy. Bergamot juice was traditionally recognized by the local population of Calabria as a remedy for “fatty arteries” and heart problems. The medical uses of bergamot derivatives have been forgotten for decades, but are now being researched by centres in Rome, Calabria and Australia.

            Several published human clinical trials have highlighted the effectiveness of 37% strength Bergamot fruit extract against several parameters associated with obesity. In one large-scale human trial consisting of 107 participants, the group receiving 650mg of Bergamot Polyphenol fraction (BPF) twice a day for 120 consecutive days, exhibited a significant reduction of fasting plasma glucose, serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, alongside an increase of HDL cholesterol. This effect was accompanied by significant reduction in belly fat in and around the liver supported by CT scans of the patients before and after four months of treatment.

            In conclusion, the effectiveness of Nutraceuticals on reducing body weight is highly dependent on the level of good clinical evidence supporting the strength of the ingredient. This must be considered alongside the level and type of calorie intake and the amount of daily exercise.

            Introducing Metabolic Gold

            Though the concept of a ‘magic pill’ that reduces body weight without amendments to lifestyle is far from realistic, we would recommend a balanced diet, regular exercise and Metabolic Gold.

            It is a safe and effective natural supplement that uniquely contains highest strength, premium grade bergamot fruit extract in combination with high strength artichoke leaf extract and organic baobab. Take 1 capsule of Metabolic Gold with a meal and the polyphenols will bind to bad fats released from food within the gut. This product is safe when taken long-term and does not interact with any prescription medication, including statins.

            If you’d like any further advice, please contact our Pharmacist on (+44) 01483 685630 or email us directly.