Supplement generally not helpful in trimming belly fat
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.