Obesity is a known risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. A recent study out of Israel found that obese or overweight 17- and 18-year-olds can have an increased risk of developing colon and rectal cancer, and the risk may be increased as high as 50%! We now have another reason to encourage good eating and exercise habits for our children. The earlier these healthy life style habits begin, the better.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects approximately 10% of women during their reproductive age. It is often characterized by obesity, irregular menses, and impaired insulin function. Obesity may play a role in the etiology, and with weight loss, there has been reported improvement in some of the clinical findings.
There is a recent large study that suggests a Carnitine supplement may be of benefit for these patients. L-Carnitine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is naturally produced in the liver and kidneys. It helps the body turn fat into energy, and your body usually can make all the Carnitine it needs. In this study, the diagnosis of PCOS was made using the Rotterdam criteria. To make the diagnosis, two of the following findings needed to be present:
- Irregular menses over 35 days or less than 8 menses per year caused by a problem with ovulation
- Signs of hirsutism indicative of increased testosterone
- Polycystic ovaries with 12 or more follicular cysts in each ovary
In this study, when 250 mg of L-Carnitine was given to women with PCOS, who were also on metformin, there was a significant reduction in weight based on BMI changes. There was also an improvement in glycemic control. The Carnitine was given for over 12 weeks.
Remember to always speak to your health care provider before considering starting any supplement.
Most of us are aware that being overweight has been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease and hypertension, but it can also increase a woman’s chance of breast and uterine cancer. By using a person’s height and weight, a BMI (body mass index) can be determined. A measurement of 25 to 29 is considered overweight and 30 or higher is considered obese. According to a recent study, 40% of American women meet the clinical definition of obesity.
The exact relationship between obesity and certain female cancers is not perfectly understood, but there seems to be three factors that may play a role:
- A body being in a state of chronic inflammation is pro-carcinogenic, and obesity is considered a chronic inflammatory state.
- There are enzymes in fat cells which increase the production of estrogen, and an elevated level of estrogen has been associated with a higher risk of breast and endometrial (uterine) cancer.
- Fat cells produce hormones that may stimulate tumor growth.
Please speak to your health care provider to determine your BMI, and start using the walking shoes your loved ones gave you for the recent holidays!