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Natural Health News

Natural treatments for weight loss

In last week’s column we investigated the most important nutritional supplements for optimal weight loss and body composition. We learned that a multivitamin-mineral supplement is crucial for providing a broad spectrum of essential nutrients required by the body for optimal weight. A good multi should also include adequate amounts of chromium for blood sugar control and vitamin B5 for the burning of fat for energy. We learned that essential fatty acids make the foundation for our hormones and cell membranes and this plays a crucial role for body composition. We saw that the green tea extract EGCG increases metabolism and promotes weight loss. Finally, we learned the importance of supporting the adrenal glands in order to prevent spikes in cortisol, a hormone that promotes weight gain and the breakdown of lean muscle mass. In this week’s article we will investigate the use of Acupuncture, Neural Therapy, Intravenous Nutrient Infusions, and Prolotherapy to support healthy weight loss and body composition.


Acupuncture and Neural Therapy

Acupuncture and Neural Therapy are very successful at helping people lose weight. They both work in very similar fashions. Both treatments are wonderful for handling stress and restoring a healthy nervous system. When stress is processed effectively and the nervous system is in balance, the body begins to function much better. Stress hormones like cortisol are no longer produced in excess and this allows weight, especially mid abdominal fat to be burned. A balanced nervous system also promotes healthier organs and detoxification.


Intravenous Nutrient Infusions

Intravenous Nutrient Infusions are a fantastic way to rapidly improve the nutritional state of the body. These treatments involve the infusion of vitamins, minerals, homeopathics, and amino acids into the venous system. This direct route into the body ensures optimal utilization by the cells of the body and allows the use of much more potent doses than can be tolerated orally. Intravenous infusions play a significant role in our weight loss program because they are extremely effective at supporting the adrenal glands, optimal hormone production, and detoxification.



Prolotherapy is a treatment that treats chronic pain. You may ask how it plays a role in weight loss. The answer is that chronic pain often prevents people from being able to take part in exercise and daily activities that promote weight loss. Imagine you have chronic knee or back pain to the point where you can no longer be active without aggravating the pain. This pain becomes a bondage that prevents you from not only losing weight, but also enjoying many of the things that you would like to enjoy.

Prolotherapy is a natural treatment that stimulates the repair of injured ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue. When these tissues become torn or over-stretched they create areas of instability in the joints of the body. When the joints become unstable muscles become chronically tight and bones begin to grind into one another. Prolotherapy involves the injection of a sugar solution into the damaged areas to stimulate your own body’s healing. Prolotherapy promotes the restoration of healthy joints and thus helps reduce or eliminate chronic pain. Prolotherapy has helped many of my patients to become active again and improve their weight and body composition.


This article concludes the series on Naturopathic Treatments for Weight Loss and Body Composition. If you would like to read previous articles please contact Dr. Barlow at 250-448-5610.


Supplementation for weight loss

In last week’s column we investigated the most common problems with the most common weight loss plans. We learned that losing weight and becoming healthier do not always happen together. Many weight loss plans promote too much muscle mass breakdown, which in the long run leads to a less healthy body. We also learned that many of these plans are not based on a sustainable lifestyle. In fact, many are a temporary solution that leads to temporary results. Finally, we learned that many of these diet plans are based on artificial foods devoid of essential nutrients and plentiful in artificial flavours, colours, and sweeteners. In this week’s article we will discuss the most important nutritional supplements to help support healthy body composition changes and weight loss.


A good broad-spectrum multi is crucial for optimal health and weight loss. The vast majority of the foods we eat are deficient in the most important nutrients required for optimal health. When going through a weight loss program the demands on the body increase as do the requirements for vitamins and minerals. It is important to take a multivitamin that provides the optimal daily allowance for the vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin B5 is a B vitamin that plays a crucial role in burning fat and losing weight. It is important to ensure that Vitamin B5 is included in a multi. Chromium is a trace mineral that promotes optimal insulin balance. It is a key component of the glucose tolerance factor and helps prevent insulin resistance.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are required by every cell of the body for the production of hormones and cellular membranes. Essential fatty acids from raw nuts, seeds, and cold water fish are the preferred source of fat in the body. However, when these types of fat are deficient or suboptimal the body uses whatever it can. High consumption of trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and saturated fats leads to altered cell membranes and hormone production. Optimal consumption of essential fatty acids and limited consumption of the unhealthy fats promotes healthy cells and a collection of 100 trillion healthy cells goes a long way to promote a lean healthy body.

Protein Powder

One of the keys to successfully losing weight and improving body composition is to increase lean muscle mass. The higher your lean muscle mass the higher your metabolic rate will be and the more fat you will burn. Optimal protein consumption is required to increase your lean muscle mass because muscle is made of protein. Optimal protein consumption is also important for balancing blood sugar. Protein consumption at each meal or snack promotes the optimal release of sugar into the blood and prevents insulin spikes. Carnitine is an amino acid that promotes the beta-oxidation (burning) of fat for energy. Protein powders are a great source of this amino acid and help provide easily digestible and high quality protein.

Green Tea

Green tea contains a nutrient called EGCG, which is a potent antioxidant. EGCG is also thermogenic and increases the body’s metabolic rate. Therefore, it can be an important nutrient to promote healthy weight loss. Green tea has much less caffeine in it than coffee and black teas. Therefore, drinking green tea is a wonderful way to support optimal health and promote weight loss.


Adaptogenic Herbs – Adrenal Support

High levels of stress, especially over many years lead to a high production of cortisol. This hormone leads to weight gain, specifically mid abdominal fat deposition. Cortisol decreases metabolic rate by inhibiting the activation of thyroid hormone and promoting the breakdown of muscle tissue. High cortisol production as a result of chronic stress takes a significant toll on the adrenal glands. As the adrenal glands burn out fatigue typically becomes a problem.

Adrenal support and adaptogenic herbs can play a vital role in the recovery of the adrenal glands. As the adrenal glands recover energy increases, making exercise and all the other aspects of weight loss more realistic to accomplish. If you feel like your energy has been taken away from you adrenal support may help you recover and successfully lose weight.

In next week’s column we will investigate the importance of detoxification for stimulating and supporting weight loss. We will discuss the use of acupuncture, neural therapy, homeopathic medicine, and intravenous therapies that promote optimal detoxification.

Fad weight loss plans

In last week’s column we investigated how hormones affect weight and body composition. We learned that insulin is probably the most important hormone for weight management. After eating high carbohydrate meals the body increases insulin production and stores excess calories as fat. We also learned that optimal production of human growth hormone is essential for increasing lean muscle mass and metabolism. Human growth hormone production is highly dependent on exercise and sleep quality. Finally, we discussed how stress hormones like cortisol lead to mid abdominal fat deposition, muscle breakdown, and sluggish metabolism. In this week’s column we will investigate the most common problems with the most common weight loss plans.

Weight Loss vs. Optimal Health

Many weight loss plans are simply weight loss plans and do not take optimal health into consideration. There can be a big difference between losing weight and becoming healthier. Weight can be lost using harsh dietary changes that actually leads to a less healthy body and promotes rebound weight gain. For example, many diet plans involve extremely low caloric intake or even fasting for extended periods of time. In these types of plans weight can be lost relatively quickly, but we must ask what kind of weight is being lost. Unfortunately, a good portion of the weight lost with these programs is muscle mass, structural tissue, and connective tissue. This decrease in structural tissue often leads to a less healthy body, impairs performance, and even leads to pain.

Successful weight loss programs should have optimal health as a fundamental principle. What is the point of losing weight if too much of that weight is healthy tissue? Good programs must protect and strengthen the body at the same time as promoting fat loss.

Diet vs. Lifestyle

There is a big difference between a diet and a lifestyle change. Many diets involve relatively drastic nutritional changes that are not sustainable over the long term. Diets almost invariably involve doing things for a short period of time that you have no intention of doing later on. A diet does nothing to help you prepare for life after the diet is over. It doesn’t teach you the skills required to shop for groceries, prepare meals and live in balance.

Successful weight loss programs should focus on lifestyle changes that are sustainable in the future. They are not temporary tricks to lose weight but long-term strategies to improve health through nourishment.

Artificial Diets vs. Real Food

Many weight loss plan diets focus on pre-made meals that are very high in artificial sugars, colours, flavours, and other ingredients. These diet plans often neglect real whole food at the expense of their low calorie artificial versions. Artificial diets may help you lose weight in the short term because they are low in calories but they can lead to an increased toxic burden on the body. This may eventually lead to weight gain because as we discussed in earlier articles, toxins are stored in fat.

Successful weight loss programs should be based on real foods that nourish the body. These foods should be as clean and pure as possible in order to promote the body’s natural processes like cellular metabolism, oxygenation, and detoxification.

In next week’s column we will investigate the natural therapies utilized by naturopathic doctors to help patients achieve healthy and sustainable weight loss and improved body composition.


Hormones and weight

In last week’s column we examined the role of exercise for weight loss and improved body composition. We learned that exercise plays a crucial role in successfully improving body composition. We learned that there are 3 main components for exercise to be beneficial. Exercise should be fun, effective, and have support from friends, teammates, or trainers. We also learned about the most effective exercise-related weight loss strategy. This strategy involves combining weight bearing activities with cardiovascular activities to encourage prolonged periods of fat burning. In this week’s column we will investigate how the health of your hormones can affect your weight.



Insulin is perhaps the most important hormonal marker for overall health and it plays a crucial role in weight management. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas in response to carbohydrate and sugar consumption. The main function of insulin is to escort sugar from the bloodstream into the cells of the body in order to provide energy to the cells and prevent extended periods of high blood sugar in the arteries. It is produced in high quantities during and after meals that are high in carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates or sugar.

We learned a few weeks ago that the most important dietary concept to understand is that excess sugar makes us fat. Excess refined carbohydrates keeps insulin levels high, which leads to more and more sugar getting into the cells. The higher the amount of sugar that gets into the cells the higher the conversion of sugar to fat.

Not only do high levels of insulin lead to the increase in fat deposition in cells but insulin also prevents the breakdown of fat for energy. Insulin is a hormone designed to build not break down. When insulin is high the body is in a storage mode and is much less likely to burn fat for energy.

Type II diabetes is one of the most common and significant chronic diseases in North America. For the most part, it starts with excess refined carbohydrate consumption and increased insulin production. Over time, the cells of the body become resistant to insulin and the blood sugar remains high, which creates many problems in the body including weight gain, cardiovascular disease, peripheral neuropathy, impaired vision, and retinopathy to name a few.


Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone has received a lot of attention in the last 10 years in the anti-aging and athletics communities. HGH is an anabolic hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. Its major functions are to rebuild and repair. HGH strengthens bone, increases muscle mass, promotes the burning of fat, and enhances the immune system. You can see why HGH supplementation has peaked the interest of many athletes and anti-aging researchers. However, HGH supplementation is not currently legal in Canada.

What we do know is that there are things we can do to increase our own native HGH production. First of all, weight bearing exercise is an excellent way to stimulate HGH production. Weight bearing exercise creates micro tears on the targeted muscles and stimulates the pituitary to produce an increased amount of HGH to repair that damage. This creates increased lean muscle mass, which increases the body’s overall metabolic rate. Secondly, sleep patterns greatly affect HGH production. Getting to bed before 11pm (optimally before 10pm) and sleeping through the night until the next morning promotes optimal HGH production. HGH is produced largely during sleep and the longer and deeper we sleep the better our production is likely to be. Thirdly, avoid eating food within 2 hours of going to sleep. When we eat just prior to bedtime we delay our release of HGH. Normally, HGH begins to be released about 2 hours after going to bed and winds down a few hours before waking as we exit deep sleep. When we eat before bed we further delay the release of HGH and significantly narrow the window of time where it is produced.


Stress Hormones

Cortisol is the major stress hormone that has gained attention in recent years. It is produced in the adrenal glands in response to stress, especially chronic stress. Cortisol production should be highest in the morning upon rising and then gradually decline through the day. It should be lowest during sleep and this is one of the biochemical reasons we get tired and fall asleep. However, for those who have less than optimal stress coping mechanisms cortisol levels will go up during stressful periods of the day. This could be at a morning meeting, on the way home from work, at the end of the night when we are adding up the bills, or any other time.

Simply put, high cortisol levels will likely lead to weight gain and poor body composition for most people. Cortisol directly causes the deposition of fat in the abdomen and upper neck, breaks down bone and muscle mass, and inhibits the activation of thyroid hormone. These 3 factors make it extremely difficult to lose weight or improve body composition in the face of stress.

The key is to develop strategies to prevent, manage, and cope with stress better. Over time this will encourage the adrenal gland to secrete cortisol in a healthier manner. Remember, cortisol should be highest upon rising and then gradually decline as the day and night go on. It may also be important to support the adrenal glands, especially for people who have had chronic stress for a number of years. There are many Naturopathic treatments from oral supplementation to intravenous vitamin, mineral, and homeopathic infusions that are very successful at supporting and repairing the adrenal glands.


In next week’s column we will investigate many of the most common weight loss programs that most of us have tried before in the past. We will examine why most weight loss programs don’t work and what we need to do to increase your chances of success.

Read more Natural Health News articles


About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at or call 250-448-5610.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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