Obesity: root cause analysis and contributing factors By Dr. Jennings

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

As we anxiously await warmer temps to spend time outside and increase our activity levels, it important to exercise judgment when eating at summer BBQs, graduation parties and weddings. July is National Obesity Awareness month, a good time to review the root cause of obesity and understand the contributing factors and risk of obesity.

According to the CDC, 2016 data reveal that more than 1/3 (36.5%) of US adults have obesity, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, and certain cancers. The annual cost of obesity in 2008 was $147 billion; with the medical costs for obese individuals is $1,429 higher than normal weight individuals.

Pediatric obesity rates have tripled since 1970, with statistics revealing 1 in 5 school age children struggle with obesity. This has caused adult onset diseases in the pediatric population, including Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and systemic inflammation, to name a few. The research demonstrates that these children struggle not only physically, but also emotionally; with higher rates of bullying, social isolation, depression and compromised self esteem.

Research has shown that a high saturated fat diet is associated with reduced bone mineral density, resulting in lipid metabolism disorders, affecting the bone marrow and increasing inflammation (Li Tian & Xijie, 2017). The brain, intestines and heart prefer healthy fats, such as avocado, flax oil/meal, olive oil/olives and coconut oil; preferably MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil. Healthy fats improve good cholesterol, enhance memory, increase energy, decrease inflammation and optimize heart function.

At Cardea Health Integrative (CHI), we search for the root cause of disease, with the emerging evidence with epigenetics, we know that we can modify up to 70-80% of our genetic code with lifestyle, diet and preventative medicine.

Its imperative with chronic disease to dig deeper, and slowly peel the layers of the onion, to determine the root cause of disease, just treating symptoms does not address the cause. In medicine we are very good about answering the “What and how” of disease management, but we do not focus enough on the “WHY”?

A 2017 study by Di Ciaula & Portincasa links maternal diet & intestinal microbiota as a risk to obesity. Therefore, at CHI part of our treatment plan for obesity includes a probiotic that contains organisms that can assist with weight loss, particularly lactobacillus Gasseri.

The treatment plans includes measuring the metabolic/endocrine pathways. Part of the work up is to measure a comprehensive thyroid panel (assessing low normal trends), hormones via saliva testing, HgA1c- (a three month measurement of blood glucose), insulin levels, cholesterol and systemic inflammatory markers.

Research demonstrates that obesity is consistent with chronic systemic inflammation and that inflammatory foods are associated with a risk of weight gain, greater average weight gain annually and risk of obesity (The SUN Cohort, 2017). Foods that promote inflammation are sugar, Vegetable-Oil, Fried Foods, Refined Flour, Dairy, Artificial Sweeteners, Artificial Additives, saturated fats, gluten, processed/cured meats to name a few. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) is a new tool available to assess and quantify the inflammatory risk of certain foods.

Diet and exercise is paramount, a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting is evidence based for longevity and weight management. This should be medically supervised and coupled with high intensity interval training. Sounds daunting, but can see results in just 30 min 3 days/week.

The toxic world we live in promotes obesity in adults and pediatrics as well. Substances such as BPA, phthalates and pesticides, such as glyphosate can promote obesity. Adipose cells store toxins and chemicals, which adversely affect metabolic health (Di Ciaula & Portincasa, 2017). Therefore, during a weight loss program, one may release many toxins and experience symptoms related to this. At Cardea Health Integrative we offer Calcium EDTA chelation therapy to assist with heavy metal detox and also glutathione, the master antioxidant and detoxifier.

Operating an integrative medicine practice, it is imperative to assess the “whole person”. Often times lab work may show subtle nuances, such as a “low normal” measurement. Once these deficiencies are replaced, most often patients’ will have a resolution of symptoms. Having an autoimmune disease myself, I have learned firsthand that personalized medicine is the BEST medicine.


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