Every month, our food blog offers current and relevant information we select from the TOP nutritionists in America, featuring their work because at Straight Nutrition, we focus on FOOD FIRST. Here is a recent article from our good friend and sound nutritionist Christine Wokowsky.
Summer is here. We’re at the beach, the pool, the lake, thinking of the bathing suit; the cellulite. Sigh. The reality is 90 percent of women in industrialized nations have this condition. You are not alone. It is not a disease or sickness, it is simply a condition with underlining reasons. Why women and not men? Actually about 10 percent of men are affected by cellulite but it is not common. It has to do with the structural difference in fat cell chambers between men and women plus the fact that women have three layers of fat in the subcutaneous tissue of thighs and buttock, and men only have one. For women there is a strong hormonal influence on fat deposits as well as anatomical differences in how fat is stored. In the words of Peter T. Pugliese, MD founder of the Circadia Skin Care Institute, “The adipose tissue in the thighs and buttocks (of women) is special in that it is reserved for nutrition of a fetus in bad times. So this fat does not move with normal dietary restriction or exercise.”
Pregnancy, genetics and aging can all effect adipose (pertaining to fat; fatty) tissue and connective tissue. Poor circulation and lymph drainage can also aggravate cellulite. Adipose tissue is relatively rich in blood vessels. As a resulted of compromised circulation and lymphatic drainage, cellulite may appear and worsen in predisposed areas. “One of the major factors inducing cellulite is venous insufficiency and congestion,” reports Carl R. Thronfeldt, MD, FAAD, founder of Episciences, Inc. One of the answers addressing this situation is botanicals such as Horse Chestnut and Gotu Kola. Several herbal therapies have been studied but only Horse Chestnut and Gotu Kola have documented efficacy in reversing venous insufficiency. Dr Baumann, professor of dermatology at the University of Miami says, “Lymph builds up and makes cellulite appear worse. By increasing circulation this may increase lymph flow and help the appearance of cellulite.”
So…what’s a woman to do? There is no miracle cellulite assassin, no magic wander to rid us forever of those darling dimples. Liposuction, creams and wraps only temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite. Without continual treatment cellulite just reappears. Rather, we must have a multi-pronged approach.
NUTRITION Being board certified in nutrition, I always start with dietary considerations because truly the most powerful thing you can do to your body – for good or bad – is at the end of your fork. Foods that are high in sugars and carbs, damaging fats as in trans fats plus a few (bad) saturated fats and processed salt are all dietary contributors to cellulite. We must realize that dietary carbohydrates, especially fructose are the primary source of a substance called glycerol-3-phosphate (g-3-p) which actually causes fat to become fixed in adipose tissue. High carbs also raise your insulin levels, which prevents fat from being released, so sugars and grains are really at the root of stubborn fat deposits. The wrong kind of salt is a big culprit because with every gram of excess sodium chloride your body has to neutralize, it uses up 23 grams of cellular water. Therefore eating too much common processed salt will cause fluid to accumulate in your tissues, which can contribute to unsightly cellulite. Ideally, focus your diet on organic, locally grown foods. Turn your body into a fat burning machine by eating healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts, grassfed or pastured animal protein. The only salt of choice would be Himalayan salt which has 86 different minerals. Make sure also you are eating a diet high in veggies ensuring a healthy sodium-potassium ratio. Intermittant Fasting turns your body into a fat-burning machine as well by increasing your human growth hormone and increases catecholamines, which in turn increase resting energy expenditure while decreasing insulin – allowing fat to be burned for fuel. The simplist way to do this is have a 17 hour window where you are not eating. I like to basically begin eating at 11 and stop by 6. There are all sorts of other ways you can do intermittent fasting – find what works best for you.
EXERCISE Undisputed, exercise is key to mobilize fat, combating cellulite and improving you circulation. But not just any exercise. You’ll want to consider High Intensity Interval Training which naturally boosts levels of human growth hormone, which is a fat-burning hormone. Many gyms now have a Power Plate, which is used to perform Acceleration Training. This in particular is remarkable in improving lymph circulation, helping to break down cellulite from the inside out. The vibrations cause thousands of muscle contractions pumping lymphatic fluid out of problem areas reducing fluid congestion in your tissues. If you can’t get your hands on a Power Plate (cost prohibitive) or can’t find a gym with one, a mini-trampoline or Rebounding can work as a close second. A mini trampoline increases the G forces in your body providing similar, though less extreme results.
INFRARED THERAPY Used by itself, or even better in conjunction with botanical topical creams this is an excellent, well researched therapeutic modality to reduce cellulite. Through profuse sweating your lymphatic system removes the congestion and unwanted debris from your body, in particular that which is trapped between the adipose tissue and connective tissue of the buttock, thigh and stomach area. The radiant heat of the far-infrared blanket warms three times more deeply than conventional saunas, combined with up to 10 times the level of heating in these tissues, it is an excellent addition to your strategy for the removal of cellulite.
BOTANICALS True confessions – I have cellulite and decided it was time to write this article, but only after I had experimented on myself and could report the results. Having no way to measure the results in a laboratory I had to rely on what my own eye saw and my husbands. His job takes him out of country for 30 days at a time so he can notice a change having not seen me for a stretch of time. I am very happy to report that there is a significant improvement, and if I was to measure I would say a 30-40 percent reduction in the appearance of cellulite. In fact in his words, “It’s gone!” I wouldn’t go that far but between the botanicals I take 3 times a day, body brushing and a cream I’ve been using, as well as exercise, in particular high intensity interval training, and the use of an excellent SudaTonic™ Infrared system the results are significant.
Gotu Kola – an extract of centella containing 70 percent triterpenic acids has demonstrated impressive clinical results when given orally in the treatment of cellulite and varicose veins. The effect of Gotu Kola in the treatment of cellulite appears to be related to it’s ability to enhance connective tissue structure and reduce the formation of hardened connective tissue.
Horse Chestnut – Horse chestnut extracts and their key compound escin have anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties that appear to be useful in the treatment of cellulite.
Bladderwack – is a seaweed that has been used as a treatment of obesity since the seventeenth century.
Cola Species – Cola is a rich source of caffeine and related compounds. These compounds potentiate the effect of fat breakdown called lipolysis. Topical administration is preferred to oral in the treatment of cellulite since it’s effects are primarily local.
So to wrap this up, my protocol since March 20th has been 1) Gotu Kola in liquid dropper form – 30 mg 3 times a day 2) Horse chestnut which is standardized to contain 10-20 mg escin – 3 times a day and 3) a topical cream that contains CoQ10, coffee butter, green tea extract, Indian ginseng, grapefruit and several other ingredients. And last but not least body brushing. I brush fairly rigorously the entire buttocks and leg area counting 100 brushes on each side. To read more from Christine, please visit her website: mycompletenutritionist.com.