Life Extension Magazine October 2010
Reverse Age-Related Weight Gain
By William Faloon
Our aging body cannot handle the same number of calories it did in youth.
This is evidenced not only by excess body fat storage, but also higher glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels seen in maturing individuals.
A consistent finding in the scientific literature reveals that compounds that induce weight loss also facilitate beneficial reductions in blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol.
These studies provide a strong rationale for controlling the consumption and absorption of excess calories by taking the proper supplements before the two heaviest meals of the day.
An agent of particular interest in this category is called propolmannan. By maintaining its viscous structure throughout the digestive tract, propolmannan can decrease appetite and help impede the absorption of ingested calories.1,2
What does this translate into as far as weight loss? In placebo-controlled human studies, those taking propolmannan before meals lost 5.5 to 7.92 pounds after eight weeks without changing their diets. The placebo groups in these studies showed no significant weight loss. The propolmannan groups also showed reductions in blood lipid/glucose levels.1,3
We understand that most aging people today need to shed more than seven pounds of body fat. That is why propol-mannan has been included in a new powder mix that contains three additional ingredients that have demonstrated weight loss effects of 8 to 30 pounds in controlled human trials, along with substantial reductions in waist circumferences.4-6
In the propolmannan studies, human subjects were told not to change their usual diet (no restrictive diet or exhaustive exercise)—and they still lost weight. Life Extension®, on the other hand, advocates aging individuals follow dietary patterns aimed at reducing overall calorie intake.
In a pilot trial on overweight individuals who had failed all other weight loss programs, those who took a low dose of propolmannan combined with three other ingredients in a powder mix before meals lost on average almost 12 pounds after eight weeks.
If you are seeking to lose weight, identify a program you can adhere to over the long term. By taking compounds before meals that decrease appetite, impede absorption of carbohydrates-lipids and control regulators of body fat storage, the benefits of a calorie-control program can be substantially augmented.
This article describes the human clinical research conducted on four proprietary nutrients that resulted in significant reductions in weight and abdominal fat.
For years, nutrition scientists experimented with different types of dietary fibers that absorb many times their own weight.
The problem with these fibers is that they contain enzymes used by the original, living plant for its own well being. During digestion, these enzymes cause the fiber sponge to break apart and lose its ability to mop up excess calories. The result is that excess calories readily absorb into the bloodstream and too often convert to surplus body fat stores.1,2
So while these fibers provide some benefit of early satiety, they do not always maintain their structure long enough to remain intact in the stomach and small intestines.
A proprietary process has been developed that removes these enzymes so that the absorbent fiber sponges do not break down in the digestive tract.7-11 This enables this specialized fiber to block some excess calories from being absorbed until they are eliminated from the body.
The Role of Bile Acids in Dietary Fat Absorption
Bile acids are excreted from the liver into the small intestine where they facilitate the absorption of dietary fats into the bloodstream. The absorption of dietary fats is dependent on bile acids and the lipase enzyme. An intact soluble fiber binds to bile acids in the small intestine, thus helping to impede absorption of dietary fats (while simultaneously reducing serum LDL and cholesterol).
Specially processed, propolmannan is a polysaccharide fiber derived from a plant that grows only in the remote mountains of Northern Japan. Propolmannan is patented in 33 countries as a purified fiber that does not break down in the digestive tract.
Published studies reveal propolmannan’s ability to not only increase the amount of bile acids in the feces, but also reduce the rate of carbohydrate absorption and the subsequent glucose/insulin spike in the blood. When propolmannan is taken before meals, consistent and significant reductions in blood triglyceride, LDL, and cholesterol are observed.2
Some people might think that by reducing the body’s dietary load, propolmannan by itself would induce substantial weight reduction. Unfortunately, our aging bodies do not convert calories into energy production the same way we did in youth. We instead have a biological propensity to store even the reduced numbers of calories we may be ingesting. That is why while propolmannan can help impede the consumption and absorption of ingested calories, in practical terms it represents only one important component of a comprehensive weight management program.
Scientific Studies Backing Propolmannan
There are so many questionable weight loss products claiming “miraculous” results that overweight people might view propolmannan by itself as being inferior because it does not make fat people thin.
The reality is that when used in conjunction with a healthful diet and lifestyle, propolmannan can accelerate weight loss and in the process, help normalize excess levels of lipids and glucose in the blood.
In a clinical study conducted on young obese individuals, subjects were not asked to make any changes in their diet except for the addition of 1 gram of propolmannan before each of the day’s three meals. After eight weeks, subjects lost an average of 9.44 pounds. The placebo group only lost an average of 1.69 pounds. The propolmannan group also whittled their waistlines by more than an inch.12
In a second study, adults taking propolmannan experienced significant reductions in blood lipid levels. Propolmannan-supplemented individuals dropped cholesterol by 21.7 (mg/dL), triglycerides by 23.4 (mg/dL) and LDL by 15.0 (mg/dL). In the placebo group, cholesterol and LDL increased while triglycerides showed only a small decline.1 (See chart 1 above.)
In this adult study where participants were not asked to alter their eating habits, those taking propolmannan lost an average of 5.5 pounds after eight weeks, compared to no significant weight change in the placebo group.1
In a similar study where subjects were allowed to eat anything they wanted, those taking propolmannan lost 7.92 pounds compared to no significant weight changes in the placebo arm of the study.3 (See chart 2 above.)
These and other studies document that humans taking propolmannan experience weight loss and improvements in blood lipids compared to those taking placebo.3,13,14
One challenge is getting overweight and obese individuals into the habit of taking calorie-blocking agents like propolmannan before most meals. When one understands the urgent need to protect their body against the lethal effects of excess calorie intake, the argument for taking low-cost supplements like propolmannan become much more compelling.
Propolmannan is one component of a new metabolic management powder drink mix designed to be taken before the two heaviest meals of the day.
Neutralize Your Carbohydrate-absorbing Enzyme
In response to eating a large meal, people gain fat pounds because of the rapid rise in blood glucose and the subsequent insulin spike. This elevation in blood glucose contributes to the synthesis of fat on our bodies (and triglycerides in our blood).
Large meals overload the bloodstream with calories and later cause a rebound increase in appetite when blood sugar levels plummet in response to excess release of insulin. One way of impeding this after-meal glucose-insulin surge is to take nutrients before meals that neutralize a carbohydrate-degrading enzyme called alpha-amylase.
UCLA School of Medicine researchers have successfully used extracts from the white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) to target alpha-amylase. In a study of 30 obese adults, half took either a placebo or Phaseolus vulgaris extract. After eight weeks, those taking the Phaseolus vulgaris extract lost 3.8 pounds in weight, and more importantly 1.5 inches of abdominal fat.17
The group taking the Phaseolus vulgaris also had a three-fold reduction in triglyceride levels compared with the placebo recipients, which helps corroborate the role of weight loss and simultaneous reduction in artery-clogging triglyceride levels.17
A more impressive human study of Phaseolus vulgaris showed that those who consumed the most carbohydrates lost the most weight. In this study, subjects who supplemented with Phaseolus vulgaris and consuming the highest levels of dietary starch lost 8.7 pounds compared with only 1.7 pounds in the control group in only four weeks. Even more impressive was the 3.3 inches of belly fat lost in the Phaseolus vulgaris group versus only 1.3 inches in the controls.5
In a double-blind study on 60 overweight volunteers, half the study participants received Phaseolus vulgaris while the other half were given a placebo. Both groups were placed on a 2,000–2,200/day-calorie diet. After only 30 days, those taking Phaseolus vulgaris lost 6.5 pounds of weight and 1.2 inches in waist size compared with 0.8 pounds and 0.2 inches in the placebo group.18
As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the belly fat off. At the same time, we are challenged to keep blood glucose levels in optimal ranges (which are around 80 mg/dL). The exploding rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity are a testament to the dual problem of weight gain caused by the absorption of too many simple carbohydrate calories.
It makes sense for those seeking to lose weight to take Phaseolus vulgaris, which is why it is contained in a new powder mix designed to be taken before the two largest meals of the day.