Sup­ple­ment gen­er­ally not help­ful in trim­ming belly fat

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Health - By Joe Grae­don and Teresa Grae­don

Q: I have been tak­ing con­ju­gated linoleic acid three times a day for sev­eral years to com­bat belly fat. Could you tell me your thoughts on the ef­fec­tive­ness of this sup­ple­ment? I am 67 years old and weigh 102 pounds, but I still have a good bit of belly fat. Am I wast­ing my money?

A: A sys­tem­atic re­view of

13 ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als com­par­ing CLA with placebo for weight con­trol con­cluded that this sup­ple­ment has no sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on waist cir­cum­fer­ence, aka belly fat (Crit­i­cal Re­views in Food Science and Nutri­tion, on­line, April

19, 2018). Such sup­ple­ments can re­duce weight and in­crease lean body mass in over­weight peo­ple, but not by very much. More­over, re­search in rats sug­gests that CLA can in­crease in­sulin re­sis­tance, which is not a ben­e­fi­cial de­vel­op­ment (Ex­per­i­men­tal and Clin­i­cal En­docrinol­ogy & Di­a­betes, June 2018).

Q: My hus­band had a pro­ce­dure to re­move a cyst and was prescribed Le­vaquin. Two years later he had an ab­dom­i­nal aor­tic aneurysm rup­ture at home. This 10cen­time­ter aneurysm ap­peared “out of nowhere,” ac­cord­ing to his reg­u­lar doc­tor, as there had been no sign of it in ear­lier scans. Could the Le­vaquin have contributed?

A: It is im­pos­si­ble to tell whether your hus­band’s AAA was caused by the flu­o­ro­quinolone an­tibi­otic. Swedish re­searchers have re­ported an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween FQs and this lifethreat­en­ing con­di­tion within 60 days of treat­ment (BMJ, March 8, 2018). Whether the risk ex­tends be­yond two months re­mains un­clear.

Q: I have high blood pressure and would like to take some­thing nat­u­ral to lower it. A friend sug­gested hawthorn, but it doesn’t seem to do much. Can you help?

A: There are a lot of non­drug ap­proaches that can be use­ful for blood pressure con­trol. Hawthorn (Cratae­gus monog­yna) is pop­u­lar in Euro­pean herbal medicine for car­dio­vas­cu­lar health (Jour­nal of Phys­i­ol­ogy and Phar­ma­col­ogy, Au­gust 2017). We don’t see the point in con­tin­u­ing with some­thing that isn’t help­ing, though.

Q: For warts, I’ve used su­per glue. What led me to this were the anec­dotes re­port­ing suc­cess with duct tape and ba­nana peel. It seemed that what they had in com­mon was block­ing air to the wart. That’s why I thought of cyanoacry­late glue. It goes on eas­ily, doesn’t wash off quickly and is al­most in­vis­i­ble.

A: You didn’t tell us whether this glue worked to get rid of your warts! We found one case re­port in which doc­tors used sur­gi­cal glue for a re­lated pur­pose (BMC Gas­troen­terol­ogy, Feb. 14, 2010). How­ever, this doesn’t seem to be widely used.

Warts are caused by the skin’s re­ac­tion to hu­man pa­pil­lo­mavirus. Peo­ple have come up with a wide range of home reme­dies for this prob­lem, in­clud­ing tap­ing ba­nana peel over the wart with the in­side of the peel on the skin. Other read­ers have used cayenne pep­per in their socks or the yel­low spice turmeric un­der a ban­dage for plan­tar warts.

As you’ve noted, duct tape is a pop­u­lar treat­ment, espe­cially for plan­tar warts (those on the soles of the feet). A re­view of re­search found that sal­i­cylic acid works as well as liq­uid ni­tro­gen for chil­dren’s warts and is less painful (Pae­di­atrics & Child Health, March 2014). This anal­y­sis does not show that duct tape is bet­ter than placebo in treat­ing warts, and the ad­he­sive can be ir­ri­tat­ing. We’d love to see a study of your wart-removing ap­proach us­ing su­per glue.

In their col­umn, Joe and Teresa Grae­don an­swer let­ters from read­ers. Send ques­tions to them via www .peo­ple­sphar­macy.com.

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