Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Effect of Iodine on the Thyroid Gland

The effect of iodine on the thyroid gland

Found mostly in the thyroid gland, iodine is produced by the body and is essential for normal growth and development. In addition, iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3.
Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is the result of low levels of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3, which can be caused by iodine deficiency. Symptoms of such a deficiency include reduced mental function, sluggishness, lethargy, weight gain, reproductive failure, depression, irritability, muscle weakness, and goiter formation.

According to Dr. Kelly Lee and colleagues in Nutrition Reviews, "new data indicate a sharp decline in iodine intake in the U.S. during the last 20 years, especially in women of reproductive years."
Iodine deficiency can occur when daily intake falls below 150 mcg per day, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). It is for this reason that healthcare professionals should inform their patients of the potential therapeutic uses of iodine, especially in the prevention and treatment of hypothyroidism.
However, high levels of iodine intake (1,000 to 2,000 mcg per day) temporarily cease production of thyroid hormones. Thus, excessive iodine intake has also been associated with the increased incidence of hypothyroidism.

The U.S. "has a unique set of public health concerns regarding both iodine deficiency, especially in women, which may result in goiter formation, and the effects of too much iodine on certain individuals who are at risk" for certain thyroid conditions. For this reason, it is important that patients and healthcare professionals keep in mind the RDA of dietary iodine.

Nutr Rev 1999;57(6):177-81.
Advanced Nutrition Publications ©2002

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fight Brain Aging & Stay Mentally Sharp

Fight Brain Aging & Stay Mentally Sharp

It’s never too late or too soon to start thinking about protecting your brain as you age. After age 40, we may notice our minds start to slip on occasion. It’s common to notice subtle or gradual changes in memory, perception, thinking, problem solving, and judgment. Fortunately, leading experts no longer believe this decline is an inevitable part of life. Your brain is hard-wired to change.

Changing your lifestyle habits can influence how your brain ages. There are easy steps you can take now to protect memory and other vital mental functions. You can help delay or prevent mental decline by addressing controllable lifestyle factors—like quitting smoking, losing weight, and managing your blood sugar. A healthy diet and targeted nutrition have also demonstrated brain health benefits.

Taking a PRP complex may help you stay sharp and clear. In a clinical trial with people diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, 50% of those supplementing with a PRP complex (made from specific milk proteins) showed a stabilization in overall score for memory, language, orientation, and simple tasks. The other 50% showed significant improvement vs. placebo.* This PRP complex may also help support other body functions related to healthy aging.

Want to support a brighter future? Call to set up an office visit. Especially if you’re experiencing warning signs that may indicate age-related cognitive decline.

*Leszek J, Inglot AD, Janusz M, Isowski JL, Krukowska K, Georgiades JA. Colostrinin®: a proline-rich polypeptide (PRP) complex isolated from ovine colostrum for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 1999;47:377?385.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Adrenal Support

The adrenal glands, which are composed of the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla, are involved in many physiological processes such as blood pressure regulation, steroid hormone synthesis and the body's stress response mechanism. The adrenal cortex produces androgens (e.g., DHEA), glucocorticoids (e.g., cortisol) and mineralcorticoids (e.g., aldosterone), while the adrenal medulla produces epinephrine and norepinephrine. The glucocorticoids play a critical role in the body's response or resistance to stress and the mineralcorticoids serve to regulate electrolyte and water balance. Epinephrine and norepinephrine also participate in the body's stress response. Generally, compromised adrenal function will negatively impact one's blood pressure, energy level and resistance to infection.
From a conventional medicine standpoint, the concept of compromised adrenal function refers primarily to adrenal insufficiency due to adrenocortical disease. However, in the naturopathic or functional medicine model, and from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, a gradual loss of adrenal function is widely recognized as a contributor to a decline in health and is considered to be both an indirect cause as well as a side effect of many acute and chronic illnesses. In addition to vitamins such as pantothenic acid and vitamin C, a number of botanicals are known to support adrenal function and may provide therapeutic support for individuals with compromised or diminished adrenal function.

Learn more

Conditions associated with hypoadrenal function

The most recognized medical condition associated with diminished adrenal function is Addison's disease, a life-threatening condition characterized primarily by a chronic deficiency of the glucocorticoid cortisol. The effects of cortisol deficiency include fatigue, hypotension and weakness as a result of deficient neuromuscular function. Resistance to infection, trauma and other types of stress is also diminished because of reduced adrenal output. Individuals with Addison's disease require glucocorticoid replacement, with hydrocortizone being the drug of choice.
More commonly, a general decline in adrenal function is also thought to occur as a result of physiological stress as with acute or chronic illness, or even with normal physiological changes such as menopause. It also appears that certain chronic illnesses particularly asthma and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are exacerbated by insufficient adrenal hormone secretion. Patients with CFS were found to have significantly reduced basal evening glucocorticoid levels and low 24-hour urinary free cortisol excretion.1 Low levels of adrenocortical hormones have also been reported in asthmatic children suffering from severe or persistent attacks.3 During an attack, the concentration of cortisol appears to increase in proportion to the severity of an attack but subsequently decreases with time. It is speculated that the inability to sustain an elevated cortisol level leads to the development of chronic asthma. Additionally, suppressed adrenocortical function has been implicated in the development of nocturnal worsening of asthma.4 Adrenal hypofunction can sometimes be the result of impaired activation of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) release. ACTH is responsible for stimulating the release of cortisol via the hypothalamus-anterior pituitary system. Some research suggests that the depressed cortisol levels seen in CFS patients may be due to impaired ACTH release.5,6 Also, a lack of ACTH may occur in patients receiving corticosteroids, or for a time following therapy.7 In the absence of ACTH, the adrenal cortex atrophies and secretion of cortisol is greatly reduced.

Licorice root

Of the many herbs available, licorice root (glycyrrhiza glabra or glycyrrhiza uralensis) is one of the most highly regarded herbs used to treat conditions associated with diminished adrenal function. Licorice is known to have multiple pharmacological actions including adrenocorticoid-like activity.8,9
In addition, licorice has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy, antitussive, antiviral, anti-ulcer and estrogen balancing properties.8-12 Its antiviral and adrenocorticoid properties make it a good candidate for chronic fatigue syndrome. Licorice is also recommended for Addison's disease, asthma and allergies, coughs, peptic ulcer, arthritis and following steroid therapy.8,13,14 Resent research suggests that licorice may also be useful in the treatment of AIDS and chronic hepatitis.15-18,10
The adrenocorticoid activity of licorice is associated with two active components glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid. Glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid have been reported to bind to both glucocorticoid and mineralcorticoid receptors, possibly displacing endogenous steroids thus contributing to an increase in availability of free cortisol within the body.19 Additionally, research suggests that glycyrrhizin and/or glycyrrhetinic acid increases the half-life of circulating cortisol in the body by inhibiting its metabolism or breakdown.20 In one clinical study, glycyrrhizin was shown to significantly increase the concentrations of total and free prednisolone in men given intravenous prednisolone hemisuccinate together with glycyrhizin.21 In another study, glycyrrhetinic acid was shown to delay the clearance of cortisol in patients with adrenocortical insufficiency and in patients who had been taking oral prednisolone medication for at least three months.22
It is important to note that due to the mineralcorticoid effect of glycyrrhizin and glycyrrhetinic acid, excessive or prolonged licorice intake can cause sodium and water retention with resultant hypertension and hypokalaemia. The mineralcorticoid effect of glycyrrhizin is attributed to its ability to inhibit 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, an enzyme that catalyses the conversion of cortisol to cortisone.23 Inhibition of this enzyme leads to increases in free cortisol. Cortisol possesses mineralcorticoid activity whereas cortisone does not, thus, a hypermineralcorticoid effect can occur. It is reported that this effect does not seem to occur in patients or animals with adrenal insufficiency.23 Also, there appears to be great individual variation in the susceptibility to the adverse reactions to licorice. Highly sensitive individuals may react to as little as 100 milligrams of glycyrrhizic acid, while others may be able to tolerate much more.24 Patients therefore need to be regularly evaluated for signs of pseudoaldosteronism when taking licorice preparations. A safe guideline is to not exceed three grams of licorice root per day for more than six weeks. It has been suggested that a high-potassium, low-sodium diet may help to counteract the potential adverse effect of licorice, although no formal trial has been performed. Pregnant women and individuals with hypertension or high blood pressure should avoid licorice supplementation.

Herbal adaptogens

The term "adaptogen" has been given to botanicals that appear to have a beneficial influence on the body's adaptive response mechanism associated with stress. Herbs such as ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus) and the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, are especially noted for their adaptogenic properties and their ability to support adrenal function. Both herbs have been traditionally used for convalescence, nervous exhaustion, fatigue, geriatric debility, physical and mental stress and insomnia.8,13,25 Few adverse side effects have been reported with prolonged ginseng use while no side effects have been reported with ashwagandha.26
It has been suggested that ginseng and ashwagandha may influence adrenal hormone activity by helping to support normal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) function.13 Ashwagandha in particular is believed to interact with areas of the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system. Recent research suggests that ashwagandha enhances cholinergic activity in the brain, which helps to explain the reported memory and cognition enhancing effects of ashwagandha extracts.27 This activity may be of potential benefit for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, which is associated with cortical cholinergic dysfunction. Other research suggests that ashwaganda also has GABA-mimetic activity which could contribute to the herb's antianxiety and CNS inhibitory effects.28
Other reported activities of ashwagandha include anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antitumor and immunomodulatory.29-32 Research also suggests that ashwagandha may be useful as an adjuvant during cancer chemotherapy and radiosensitization.33,34 Additionally, ashwagandha has been shown to prevent stress-related disorders such as ulcers, and prevent stress-induced depletion of vitamin C and cortisol in laboratory animals.35

Herbs that tonify

In Chinese herbology, there are a number of herbs that are classified as "tonifying herbs," a category that can be likened to that of an adaptogen. Tonifying herbs include both licorice and ginseng, as well as Chinese yam (dioscorea opposita), rhemannia (rhemannia glutinosa), cordyceps (cordyceps sinsensis), and others. Many of these "tonic" herbs contain constituents, such as steroidal saponins, that may act as precursors to adrenal hormones. In general, most of the herbs that fall under this category appear to have broad therapeutic effects, presumably via an ability to influence the endocrine system.
According to traditional Chinese herbology, licorice, ginseng and Chinese yam are said to promote energy by tonifying "chi," or "vital force," while rehmannia and cordyceps are said to tonify the blood.8 As with licorice, Chinese yam and cordyceps are recommended for asthma, coughs and menstrual symptoms. Rehmannia, which is often used in herbal formulas as a complementary herb, is said to help regulate the activity of the adrenal cortex by promoting the function of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis and the release of steroid hormones.36 Rehmannia is traditionally used for general debility, sexual dysfunction in males, and menopause and menstrual irregularities. Preliminary research also suggests that the aqueous extract of rehmannia contains immunologically active polysaccharides that may help to increase resistance to infection.37-38


  1. Demitrack MA, Evidence for imparied activation of the hypthalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1991;73:1224-1234.
  2. Scott LV, Dinan TG. Urinary free cortisol excretion in chronic fatigue syndrome, major depression and in healthy volunteers. J Affect Disord 1998;47:49-54.
  3. Nomura S, et al. Adrenocortical function in asthmatic children: low levels of adrenocortical hormones in children with persistent attacks. Eur J Pediatr 1997;156:323-328.
  4. Kraft M, et al. Serum cortisol in asthma: marker of nocturnal worsening of symptoms and lung function: Chronobiol Int 1998;15:85-92.
  5. Dinan TG, et al. Blunted serotonin-mediated activation of the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis in chronic fatigue syndrome. Psychoneuroendocrin 1997;22:261-267.
  6. Cleare AJ. Contrasting neuroendocrine responses in depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. J Affect Disord 1995;34(4):283-289.
  7. Berkow R. The Merck Manual. Rathway, NJ: Merck & Co., Inc., 1992.
  8. Bensky D, Gamble A. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993.
  9. Snow JM. Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Leguminaceae). Protocol J Bot Med Winter 1996:9-14.
  10. Kiso Y, et al. Mechanism of antihepatotoxic activity of glycyrrhizin, I: effect on free radical generation and lipid peroxidation. Planta Med 1984:298-302.
  11. Inoue H, et al. Pharmacological activities of glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives: analgesic and anti-type IV allergic effects. Chem Pharm Bull 1987;35:3888-3893.
  12. Pompei R, et al. Antiviral activity of glycyrrhizic acid. Experientia 1980;36:304.
  13. Brown D. Licorice root-potential early intervention for chronic fatigue syndrome. Quarterly Rev Nat Med. Summer 1996:95-96.
  14. Bown D. Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.
  15. Hattori T, et al. Preliminary evidence for inhibitory effect of glycyrrhizin on HIV replication in patients with AIDS. Antiviral Res 1989;11:255-262.
  16. Mori K, et al. Effects of glycyrrhizin (SNMC: stronger neo-minophagen C) in hemophilia patients with HIV-1 infection. Tohoku J Exp Med 1990;162:183-193.
  17. Hatano T, et al. Anti-human immunodeficiency virus phenolics from licorice. Chem Pharm Bull. 1988;36:2286-2288.
  18. Sato H. Therapeutic basis of glycyrrhizin on chronic hepatitis B. Antiviral Res 1996;30:171-177.
  19. Tamaya T et al. Possible mechanism of steroid action of the plant herb extracts glycyrrhizin, glyrrhetinic acid, and paeoniflorin: inhibition by plant herb extracts of steroid protein binding in the rabbit. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986;155:1134-1130.
  20. Tamura Y, et al. Effects of glycyrrhetinic acid and its derivatives on delta 4-5 alpha- and 5 beta-reductase in rat liver. Arzneimittelforschung 1979;29:647-649.
  21. Chen MF et al. Effect of glycyrrhizin on the pharmacokinetics of prednisolone following low dosage of prednisolone hemisuccinate. Endocrinol Jpn 1990;37:331-341.
  22. Ojima M. The inhibitory effects of glycyrrhhizin and glycyyrhetinic acid on the metabolism of cortisol and prednisolone-in vivo and in vitro studies. Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1990;20:66:584-596.
  23. Stewart P, et al. Mineralocorticoid activity of licorice: 11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency comes of age. Lancet 1987:821-824.
  24. Stormer FC, et al. Glycyrrhizic acid in licorice-evaluation of health hazard. Food Chem Toxicol 1993;31:303-312.
  25. Nadkarni AK. Indian Materia Medica Bombay: Popular Prakashan 1976, 1292-1294
  26. Grandhi A, et al. A comparative pharmacological investigation of ashwagandha and ginseng. J Ethnopharmacol 1994;44:131-135.
  27. Schliebs R, et al. Systemic administration of defined extracts from Withania somnifera (Indian ginseng) and shilajit differentially affects cholinergic but not glutamatergic and gabaergic markers in rat brain. Neurochem Int 1997;30:181-190.
  28. Mehta AK, et al. Pharmacological effects of Withania somnifera root extract on GABA receptor complex. Ind J Med Res 1991;94:312-315.
  29. Sudhir S, et al. Pharmacological studies on leaves of Withania somnifera. Planta Med 1986:61-63.
  30. Al-Hindawi MK, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of some Iraqi plants using intact rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1989;26:163-168.
  31. Hazeena Begumm V. Long-term effect of herbal drug Withania somnifera on adjuvant induced arthritis in rats. Ind J Exper Biol 1988;26:877-882.
  32. Ziauddin M, et al. Studies on the immunomodulatroy effects of Ashwagandha. J Ethnopharmocol 1996;50:69-76.
  33. Kuttan G. Use of Withania somnifera Duanl as an adjuvant during radiation therapy. Ind J Exp Biol 1996;34:854-856.
  34. Devi PU. Withania somnifera Dunal (Aswagandha): Potential plant source of a promising drug for cancer chemotherapy and radiosensitization. Ind J Ep Biol 1996;34:927-932.
  35. Singh N, et al. Withania somnifera (ashwagandha), a rejuvenating herbal drug which enhances survival during stress (an adaptogen). Int J Crude Drug Res 1982;20:29-35.
  36. Zi Ge, et al. The effect of decoction rehmannia on the cytochemical components of the local cerebrum, hypothalamus and adrenal gland of experimental cerebral embolism. J Trad Chinese Med 1994;14:123-127.
  37. Tomoda M. et al. Two acidic polysaccharides having reticuloendothelial system-potentiating activity from the raw root of Rhemannia glutinosa. Biol Pharm Bull 1994;17:1456-1459.
  38. Tomoda M, et al. Structural features and anti-complementary activity of rehmannan SA, a polysaccharide from the root of Rehmannia glutinosa. Chem Pharm Bull 1994;42:1666-1668.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Martha's Minute - Hormonal Health

The major difference between you at age 50 and you at age 25 is hormonal. Hormones are molecular messengers which control healing, tissue regeneration, immune function, sexual function, memory and mood, strength, body composition, skin thickness, energy, digestion, and virtually every other aspect of human function. When they hear the word "hormone" most people think only of the sex hormones, but there are many other hormones beside these. Other important hormones are growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and the adrenal hormones. Age related hormonal deficiencies are the primary cause of all the diseases and symptoms of aging.

To learn more come to:
Martha's Minute - Hormonal Health.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
630 W. Shepard Lane
Farmington, UT 84025

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Nutritional Support

Lifestyle Recommendations:1. Practice good sleep habits and get between 8-9 hours of sleep a night. Take the "Are You Getting Enough Sleep?" questionnaire and follow the Insomnia Nutritional Support Protocol if needed.
2. Avoid extra stress and obligations.
3. Rule out heavy metal toxicity and adrenal insufficiency.
4. Check for hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia.
5. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
6. Participate in a regular balanced exercise program that includes wearing a pedometer to ensure that you collect steps and move more. High intensity short bursts (20-60 seconds) of activity during the day is recommended to enhance growth hormone release. Also engage in resistance training that works all major muscle groups (work each group at least 2 times a week).
Dietary Recommendations:1. Whey protein or other quality protein source (chicken, fish, eggs, meat) is essential at every meal to stabilize blood sugar levels.
2. Avoid sugar and sweetened products. Replace sugar with the polyol sugar xylitol.
3. Gluten and dairy avoidance may prove extremely helpful for stabilizing moods.
4. Avoid omega 6 oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil and concentrate on omega 3 oils from flax seed, salmon, sardines, sardines or mackerel.

Supplement Recommendations:
Call to schedule an appointment for optimal recommendations for healthy hormonal balancing - the natural way!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thyroid Health

Thyroid hormones positively affected by selenium and vitamin E intake

High levels of stress can negatively affect the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones (T4, T3). This may result in reduced thyroid hormone activity (hypothyroidism) and various health challenges including weight gain, lethargy, reproductive failure, depression, irritability, memory loss, muscle weakness, and more serious long term effects such as congestive heart failure.
In an effort to counteract the negative effects of stress on thyroid hormones, researchers such as Dr. L. Yue and colleagues investigated the ability of vitamin E and selenium to support healthy thyroid function. By observing the metabolic changes of T4 and T3 in experimental rats, Dr. L. Yue and colleagues sought to determine the relationship between selenium and vitamin E deficiency and thyroid hormone disturbances. Rats were either fed a selenium and vitamin E supplemented diet or a selenium and vitamin E deficient diet for 8 weeks.

Upon conclusion of the study, the rats that were deficient in selenium and vitamin E demonstrated a 36% decrease in T3 levels and a 32% increase in T4 levels. This in comparison to the selenium and vitamin E-supplemented rats that had "significantly higher" levels of T3, according to Dr. Yue and colleagues in the Chinese Medical Journal.

This study, among others, demonstrates the role of vitamin E and selenium in protecting and ensuring thyroid health, helping to defend against the inevitable stresses of life.
Chin Med J 1998;111(9):854-57.
Advanced Nutrition Publications ©2002

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The 5 Early Warning Signs of Metabolic Syndrome

The 5 Early Warning Signs of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a critical turning point for your health. This cluster of conditions includes any 3 of the following: central obesity (“apple” body), low HDL “good” cholesterol, and/or high blood pressure, blood sugar, or triglycerides. A diagnosis of metabolic syndrome is a red flag that you’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes or heart disease—or both. At this crucial point, healthcare providers often recommend lifestyle changes (healthy eating, exercise, stress management, nutritional and medical food support) to help manage or reverse metabolic syndrome and the risk to more serious diseases.
You can also reduce your risk to metabolic syndrome. There’s no need to wait for a metabolic syndrome diagnosis to take action. Simply pay attention to the warning signs. Any single risk factor above—especially belly fat—is an obvious signal that you could be on your way to metabolic syndrome. But there are also 5 other early warnings that may mean you're at greater risk:
1.    Do you crave or eat a lot of carbohydrates (fast foods, sugary treats)?
2.    Do you get little exercise?
3.    Have you noticed a progressive weight gain (“spare tire”)?
4.    Do you have a family history of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or early heart disease?
5.    Have you experienced a decline in energy or increased stress?
It’s never too early to protect your future health. Set up an appointment today so we can discuss how you can reduce your risk to chronic illnesses or come to my workshop the first Thursday of the Month at 6:30 p.m. Call to register today: 801-447-8680

Osteoporosis Risk May Rise with Internal Abdominal Body Fat

For years, it was believed that obese women were at lower risk for developing osteoporosis, and that excess body fat actually protected against bone loss. However, a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) found that having too much internal abdominal fat may, in fact, have a damaging effect on bone health.
"We know that obesity is a major public health problem," said the study's lead author, Miriam A. Bredella, M.D., a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Now we know that abdominal obesity needs to be included as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone loss."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 72 million American adults are considered obese. The CDC defines obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Obesity is associated with many health problems including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea and joint diseases. Yet despite all the health issues, it was commonly accepted that women with increased body weight were at lower risk for bone loss.
But not all body fat is the same. Subcutaneous fat lies just below the skin, and visceral or intra-abdominal fat is located deep under the muscle tissue in the abdominal cavity. Genetics, diet and exercise are all contributors to the level of visceral fat that is stored in the body. Excess visceral fat is considered particularly dangerous, because in previous studies it has been associated with increased risk for heart disease.
Dr. Bredella and colleagues set out to evaluate the abdominal subcutaneous, visceral and total fat, as well as bone marrow fat and bone mineral density, in 50 premenopausal women with a mean BMI of 30. Each woman underwent an MR spectroscopy exam to evaluate the bone marrow fat of the L4, the fourth vertebra in the lumbar section of the spine. Then, the bone mineral density of the L4 was assessed using quantitative computed tomography (QCT), which measures bone mass and is used to assess bone loss.
The imaging revealed that women with more visceral fat had increased bone marrow fat and decreased bone mineral density. However, there was no significant correlation between either subcutaneous fat or total fat and bone marrow fat or bone mineral density. "Our results showed that having a lot of belly fat is more detrimental to bone health than having more superficial fat or fat around the hips," Dr. Bredella said.
According to the National Women's Health Information Center, 10 million Americans have osteoporosis and 18 million more have low bone mass, placing them at risk for the disease.
"It is important for the public to be aware that excess belly fat is a risk factor for bone loss, as well as heart disease and diabetes," Dr. Bredella said.
While bone loss is more common in women, the research team is currently conducting a study to determine whether belly fat is also a risk factor for bone loss in men.