It’s certainly no fun to look down and see a ring of blubber around your midsection. But belly fat is far more than a cosmetic issue.
It’s a serious health problem.
It’s strongly linked to America’s top two causes of death: heart disease and cancer.
And now a new study shows that extra abdominal fat dramatically increases your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from University College London analyzed medical and lifestyle data from 6,582 people who were 50 or older. They followed up with the subjects over an 11-year period.
People with a body mass index (BMI) in the obese range of 30 or more at the start of the study had a 31% higher risk of dementia compared to people in the normal BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9.
BMI is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. For instance, a person who is 5-foot-10 should weigh no more than 174. A person who is 5-foot-4 should be no more than 145.
Where people carried their fat also had an impact. Even if they were not obese, women with pronounced belly fat based on waist measurement had a 39% increased dementia risk. The same link wasn’t found in men.
But high BMI combined with a big gut was found to raise the risk 28% for both genders.
“As belly size gets larger, the memory center in the brain gets smaller,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson. He heads the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
The new study backs up previous research linking obesity and dementia.
Two Supplements to Beat Belly Fat
When it comes to your belly, how big is too big?
If your waist measures more than 35 inches if you’re a woman, or more than 40 inches if you’re a man, chances are you’re carrying a dangerous amount of abdominal fat.
A U.K. study found that every additional two inches of waist size raises a woman’s heart disease risk by 10%.
Studies in Asia show that women with extra belly fat have as much as a 400% greater chance of getting breast and colon cancer.
Although these studies did not include men, researchers say belly fat is likely just as dangerous for them.
A healthy diet and exercise can help reduce belly fat. Dr. Cadar recommends the Mediterranean diet, which you can learn about here.
But belly fat is notoriously difficult to get rid of. Even if you successfully lose weight, fat around your middle often remains.
There are two supplements that can help:
- Vitamin D. Researchers in Holland found that a vitamin D deficiency has a “strong relationship with increasing amounts of abdominal fat.” Their study of over 6,000 people concluded that “individuals with larger waistlines…should consider having their vitamin D levels checked.”
Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your vitamin D. Anything less than 20 ng/mL means you are deficient.
Spending 15 minutes in the sun each day with your arms and legs exposed can help increase your levels.
If that’s not possible, take a 5,000 mg vitamin D supplement every day. Make sure you buy the D3 form, not D2. D3 will increase your levels of vitamin D more than twice as much as D2 will.
- Black pepper. In a study published in the journal Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, scientists found that black pepper reduces abdominal fat.
Black pepper contains the compound piperine. It gives pepper its pungent flavor. It also makes you thinner.
Not only does pepper reduce belly fat, but it keeps new fat cells from forming. It boosts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories.
You can’t get a therapeutic dose of piperine from using black pepper as a spice. Instead, take a black pepper or piperine supplement. They are widely available at health stores and online.
Belly fat does not have be an inevitable result of getting older. Taking vitamin D and piperine can help you look—and think—better.
Editor’s Note: Calories don’t drive weight gain. Something else does. And it’s easy to control. Discover more by reading The Weight-Loss-for-Life Protocol.
It’s in Independent Healing, the monthly newsletter that deciphers the latest science to bring you unbiased medical information that can transform your health. Find out more HERE.