Life Extension Magazine November 2005
The Perricone Weight Loss Program
By Nicholas V. Perricone, MD
12 Nutritional Supplements That Facilitate Weight Loss While Maintaining Muscle Mass
The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet anti-inflammatory nutrients work in a special way to enhance loss of body fat, preserve muscle mass, and regulate levels of blood sugar and insulin, which are critical in the prevention and treatment of obesity.
These nutrients all have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. They’re an important adjunct to any health regimen, and particularly important for a weight-loss program.
Many of my patients have asked me over the years if it is possible to get all of the necessary nutrients from a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Alpha lipoic acid, for example, is one the most powerful and beneficial anti-inflammatory antioxidants and a very important nutrient for fighting aging and weight problems. However, there are no really adequate food sources for this nutrient. For optimum health and weight management, we do need to supplement. I always recommend that my patients take a complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Fortunately, there are a number of outstanding supplements that really do help facilitate weight loss and maintain muscle mass. Each supplement has a distinct function, and they are all an important part of my own personal daily supplement regimen.
SUPERSTAR SUPPLEMENT #1: OMEGA-3 FISH OIL
Omega-3 fish oil supplements (as well as eating the fish itself) are extremely important to the success of any weight-loss plan, the Perricone Weight-Loss Diet included. I truly believe that they may be one of the most perfect anti-inflammatories we have discovered thus far. However, it is still important to take a variety of nutritional supplements to ensure optimum protection and benefit.
The incredible anti-inflammatory power of omega-3 essential fatty acids found in the high-fat fish and in fish oil can accomplish the following:
Omega-3 Fish Oil Tips
For a regular weight-loss diet, take one 1000-mg capsule three times per day. If you need to lose a lot of weight or are trying to improve athletic performance, take three 1,000-mg capsules three times per day for a total of nine per day. Check with your physician before taking the larger dose.
SUPERSTAR SUPPLEMENT #2: ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
Alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is found naturally in the body, locked inside the mitochondria. Lipoic acid is part of an enzyme complex called the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, making it intimately involved in the energy production of the cell. Alpha lipoic acid, like many of the other nutrients including acetyl-L-carnitine, carnitine, and CoQ10, enhances our ability to metabolize food into energy.
Unlike many other antioxidants such as vitamin C, which is strictly water soluble, or vitamin E, which is strictly fat soluble, alpha lipoic acid is soluble in both water and fat. This means that alpha lipoic acid can go to all parts of the cell, including the lipid (fat) portions such as the cell plasma membrane, as well as the interior of the cell (known as the cytoplasm) where water-soluble chemicals reside. Because of this unique property, alpha lipoic acid is often referred to as “the universal antioxidant.”
Needless to say, the amazing properties of alpha lipoic acid have placed it near and dear to my heart, both as a powerful ally in the anti-aging realm and also as an integral part of the Perricone Weight-Loss Diet. On a cellular level, alpha lipoic acid exerts a wide variety of positive actions, all of them anti-inflammatory. It also blocks the activation of transcription factor NfkB as well, if not better than, any other antioxidant/anti-inflammatory thus far discovered.
In addition to its function as a powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory, alpha lipoic acid increases the body’s ability to take glucose into the cells. This insulin-sensitizing effect is also seen in some of the other nutrients that we have discussed. These nutrients all work synergistically to increase sensitivity to insulin, resulting in decreased blood sugar levels. Like carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha lipoic acid is also very powerful in preventing glycation.
ALA works synergistically with CoQ10, carnitine, and acetyl-L-carnitine to protect and rejuvenate the mitochondria. If we recognize that an aging cell is characterized by decreased energy production, it is easy to see the importance of any substance that can increase energy levels in the cell, allowing the cells to repair themselves in the same way that young cells do. ALA also works synergistically with other antioxidants to raise levels of vitamins C and E, CoQ10, and glutathione in the cell.
Alpha Lipoic Acid Tips
Because alpha lipoic acid is found only in trace amounts in food, it must be taken as a supplement.