Slimming, sleeping and anti-ageing supplements, beneath the celebrity hype

Posted on the 01 May 2013 at 12:49

A recent Daily Mail article ‘revealed’ what they describe as a ‘new weapon in the anti-ageing arsenal’ of A list celebrities. Nutrient supplements. The article covered a variety of different supplements, reportedly used by celebrities to help them stay slim, beat bloating, combat wrinkles and reduce stress.

Supplements claiming to reduce body fat are always popular but with so many brands on the market it can be hard to know which ones work and which are just hype. A recent study cited in the Daily Mail article referred to green coffee beans increasing weight loss by up to 10% - while this sounds promising, the study was only carried out on 16 individuals and more research is needed before we can get excited. Green tea has been extensively researched and has been proven to have a thermogenic effect which induces weight loss. It has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, act as a powerful antioxidant and provide countless health benefits so it’s definitely worth considering popping a supplement supplement if you’re not a green tea drinker. Another effective fat loss supplement is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). A 2007 meta-analysis showed that CLA not only reduces body fat it also increases lean mass. However, the effect of CLA on fat mass is modest - at the recommended dosage of 3.2 g per day it provides 90 g fat loss per week (about 1 lb in 5 weeks). Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the fat loss benefits of any supplements are minimal in comparison to the effects that can be achieved from diet.

Probiotics were mentioned as the ultimate weapon in the fight against bloating and it’s true, they can give fantastic results.  Bloating is usually associated with reactions to certain foods (wheat is common), over-eating, PMS or intestinal gas which leave the abdomen feeling distended and uncomfortable. Antibiotic use can deplete levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut so I always recommend that people take a good quality probiotic following antibiotic use. Probiotics can re-balance the ‘good’ bacteria in your small and large intestines, supporting healthy digestion and reducing bloating. For therapeutic uses I like BioCare’s BioAcidohpilus Forte – a high strength probiotic complex, particularly worth supplementing during and post antibiotic use. For maintainance, OptiBac’s ‘For a flat stomach’ does what it says on the box!

Stress can also contribute to suboptimal digestive function which leads to bloating. During stressful periods the body doesn’t prioritise the digestion of food, therefore the secretion of digestive enzymes can be compromised. I suggest taking a broad spectrum digestive enzyme with meals as this can aid digestion and help prevent bloating.

According to the DM, one supplement loved by supermodels and celebrity trainers alike is magnesium. When it comes to stress, magnesium is a nutrient definitely worth supplementing –it’s essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body and deficiency is not uncommon - studies have shown that between 68-75% of American adults are magnesium deficient. It acts as a smooth muscle relaxant, has a calming effect on the nervous system and can help combat insomnia. Chelated magnesium is one of the best forms in which to supplement the nutrient as it has been shown to be more effectively absorbed and utilised than inexpensive forms – 450mg can safely be supplemented daily, it can be used at higher doses therapeutically but it’s worth speaking to a suitably qualified nutrition expert first. A herb I commonly recommend for combatting stress is rhodiola – people often feel a noticeable reduction in feelings of stress and anxiety soon after taking it. Many of the girls in our clinic are big fans of Solgar’s Rhodiola Balance Complex.

Last but not least – supplements and anti-ageing. The article refers to Fulphyl being the latest celeb favourite, coming with an a-list price tag of £160. I have to admit I had never heard of this supplement until I read the article, and searching for fulvic acid and anti-ageing in Pubmed.com returned absolutely no results, which doesn’t inspire me with much confidence. It’s claimed that fulvic acid which helps transport nutrients and vitamins around the body and acts as an antioxidant in its own right. The Press love something new, but I personally will be sticking with my high strength anti-oxidant complex and plenty of fruit and veg until there is some compelling research to justify the price tag!

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