Obesity and insulin resistance

Obesity and insulin resistance

Berberine a natural GLP1- Agonist  


Turn on that weight loss switch by Dr James G Liddell B.Pharm M.Pharm PhD


  • There are currently 1 billion overweight people globally
  • 33% of men and 50% of women in South Africa are either overweight or obese
  • Obesity is associated with at least 30 medical conditions – let’s name a few: diabetes, cancers, arthritis, hypertension and gallstones
  • A mere loss of 10% of bodyweight will reduce diseases associated with obesity with 50%
  • More people in South Africa will die of diabetes related causes than aids
  • You are classified as overweight when your BMI is between 25 and 29.9 and obese when your BMI is more than 30

Why are you fat?

Which describes you best?

  • Eat for emotional reasons
  • Eat too fast
  • Often do unhealthy takeaways
  • Often do restaurants and make unhealthy food choices
  • Don’t have discipline to follow a diet
  • Regular consumption of alcohol
  • Eat on the run
  • Eating when watching TV
  • Little to no exercise
  • Overeating at mealtimes
  • Irregular eating habits
  • None of the above

Can you associate with the following symptoms?

  • Do you find it difficult or impossible to lose weight?
  • Do you find that low-fat, low calorie diets don’t work?
  • Are you a yo-yo dieter?
  • Are you hungry all the time, even shortly after eating?
  • Do you crave carbohydrates and sugary foods?
  • Do you tend to put on weight around your abdomen?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Do you suffer from high cholesterol?
  • Do you have high insulin levels?
  • Do you have raised blood sugar levels?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes?

Why do we get fat?

1. Bowel ecology or fecal microbiota composition 

A high energy diet (sugar and high GL carbs) can alter the microbiota in the digestive tract and can lead to an increased energy extraction and fat deposition, change hormone secretions, cause leaky GUT and cause metabolic endotoxemia and the end result is weight gain.

2. Vitamin D deficiency

A change in fecal microbiota composition can reduce vitamin D absorption, enhance insulin secretion, worsen insulin sensitivity and have a negative effect on balancing blood sugar. Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid which will enhance weight gain.

3. Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when the body does not respond properly to insulin (low or high levels). When this happen blood levels of insulin are elevated while the pancreas secretes even more insulin. Excessive circulating insulin tends to increase fat storage, cholesterol production, more blood clotting, higher testosterone levels in women (facial hair, body hair, ovarian cysts, infertility), blood pressure (sodium retention) and also damage to blood vessels.

Muscles determine 40% of insulin sensitivity and 70-90% of blood glucose clearance and this makes exercising crucial to the above. Insulin sensitivity is influenced by glucagons, growth hormone and sex hormones.

Many hormones have an effect on insulin secretion. Relatively high cortisol levels (because of stress and age), extra oestrogen in HRT and low DHEA levels (because of ageing) are contributors to insulin resistance. Oestrogen (in the HRT combo) suppresses glucagons secretion – and it is glucagon that has the ability to control elevated insulin levels. Glucagon is thus the fat burner. What happens now is that insulin levels rise further – the lipid profile worsens and women gain more weight. During peri-menopause oestrogen levels fluctuate and that makes women prone to fluid retention. High insulin levels and high levels of stress hormones can inhibit T4 to be converted to T3 – slows metabolism.

4. Neuro-endocrine obesity

Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism (type 1 & 2), PCOS and Growth hormone deficiency

Causes of Type 2 Hypothyroidism and treatment

Environmental toxins interfere with thyroid metabolism and cause malfunction of the mitochondria. The mitochondria then cannot send a message to the brain to secrete thyroid hormone.

The fat-soluble toxins accumulate in fat cells. Because women have more fat cells than men, it is understandable why more women suffer from hypothyroidism than men.

Blood tests cannot detect type 2 hypothyroidism. Your type 2 hypothyroidism patient has normal thyroid blood results. Patients should be professionally evaluated by questioning, clinical symptoms and completing daily temperature charts. The true results will be seen after intervention with thyroid hormone therapy.

Hypothyroidism (type 1 &2) will start processing the additional hormones if you saturate the tissue with enough hormones. Once the body starts to function normally, it has the ability to self correct and one can start reducing the medication.

Vitamin D3, desiccated thyroid and homoeopathic thyroid medication (organotherapy) seem more effective than just T4 (Eltroxin) hormone replacement.

5. Liver dysfunction

The abuse of the liver leads to: obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, allergies etc. If the liver does not function normally it cannot effectively remove fat globules circulating in the bloodstream and the result is fat storage in buttocks, thighs, arms and abdomen. Abdominal fat will only go once liver function has been rectified. Obesity is a protecting mechanism for toxic byproducts of lipid metabolism.

6. Salt

Salt can increase blood pressure and in turn more cortisol will be secreted which will stimulate your insulin and appetite.

7. Resistin

Excess weight – that fat around the waist has an endocrine function (resistin) and fuels insulin resistance.

8. Genes – 50% risk

9. Drug-induced weight gain

Anti-psychotics, anti-epileptics, anti-diabetic medicines and hormones

10. Ageing

Most hormone secretions drop as we age – that is the main reason behind ageing. Your metabolism slows down by 5% each decade after the age of 30- because of hormones dropping.

11. Xenoestrogens

Xenoestrogens like herbicides and pesticides can change hormonal activity which can boost body fat.

12. Smoking

Glucose tolerance and insulin testing was completed on smokers and non-smoker alike and it was discovered that the smokers were more insulin resistant than the non-smokers. Why this occurs is not clear, but it is apparent that smoking is associated with a decrease in insulin sensitivity and delayed glucose disposal and lower oxygen levels with smokers.

13. Inactivity

 An increase in physical activity is associated with improved insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal into the cells. Therefore, if you exercise, the activity of insulin seems to be enhanced and if you don’t insulin sensitivity appears to deteriorate.

14. Stress

 Stress first has a central effect (hypothalamus) and then the reaction cascades. Any type of stress, physical or emotional, results in the immediate secretion of cortisol and adrenalin by the adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys. Stress can take on any form from psychological pressures to toxins, diseases, depression, anxiety, pain, loneliness, fatigue and even boredom. Cortisol has well-established effects that produce insulin resistance in both muscle cells and the liver. Therefore, stress, real or perceived, can affect insulin action and ultimately contribute to insulin resistance and unwanted weight and health problems. Cortisol will stimulate insulin, which will stimulate your appetite and you eat more and store more fat. Cortisol can also signal cells to store fat and inhibit the body to burn fat for energy.

15. Post-pregnancy weight gain

 After birth progesterone levels drop and progesterone can increase metabolism and allows you to burn more kilojoules. Statistically women will keep 2.5kg of pregnancy weight and will add on after each child. There is a 7% increased risk of obesity after each child.

16. Ph – factor and oxygen connection

Stress, pollution, poor eating habits, injury and repeated exposure to chemicals in our food and environment make our bodies more acidic. An acidic blood pH is not beneficial for health. The acidic blood pH has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, attention deficit disorder, depression etc. To restore the acid/alkaline balance the cells require more oxygen. Fat is burned if more oxygen is available instead of sugar. The fat component is then converted into water and it will also hydrate the cells and wash away the excess acid. The more oxygen you breathe, the more food will be oxidized, the more efficiently you burn calories and the less food will be stored as fat. Oxygen is the most important fuel for metabolism and energy production. If you don’t breathe properly, your metabolism slows down. Also, neutral blood pH enhances insulin sensitivity.

17.Psychological factors

Eating disorders: Bulimia nervosa. Emotional eating: eating when upset, hopeless, angry, bad self-image and being bored etc.

Depression: people tend to eat more and exercise less.

18. Social factors

Irregular eating habits, overeating at night especially if little or no food is consumed during day; unconscious eating – eating a packet of chips in front of TV; eating on the run; meals out (takeaways and restaurants); alcohol consumption and the reducing of self-control; socioeconomic factors – can afford to eat much better than before; poor lifestyle habits as a child; know when you are hungry and know when you have had enough; eat at slower pace; no or little will power.

19. Less sleep

 People sleep less hours at night and that can stimulate appetite.

20. Older birth mothers

Children born from older mothers are more prone to excess weight than their younger counterparts.

21. Assortative mating

A large number of heavy people tend to mate with each other and can produce heavy children.

22. Socio-economic and ethnic factors

Obesity is more prevalent in lower socio-economic groups. Ethnicity is also a factor, where African men prefer overweight women. There is also a perception that overweight women are HIV negative.

23. Chlorine & fluoride

Chlorine and Fluoride block iodine receptors in the Thyroid gland resulting in reduced iodine-containing hormone production and finally in Hypothyroidism.

24. Dehydration

Dehydration can slow the metabolism up to 3%.

25. Food Intolerance / Food Allergy

The main reason for this is a high carbohydrate and sugar diet that causes an imbalance in the ecology of the digestive system that eventually lead to a Vit D deficiency and then to food intolerances.

26. Alcohol abuse

Alcohol is a toxin, slows metabolism, lowers blood sugar, cause water retention and can enhance weight gain.

Obesity and chronic inflammation

Obesity can be classified as a chronic inflammatory disease. We know that 80% of your obese people have high insulin levels. We also now know that high insulin and glucose levels enhance AA (arachidonic acid) production. Insulin and glucose are essential to convert AA into inflammatory messengers like prostaglandins and leukotrienes.

Is fat the villain that makes us fat?

No, fat is not the villain. We eat too much refined carbohydrates and sugar. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels will fuel your appetite and push up you weight. The Chinese consume more kilojoules per day then the Americans, but obesity is a bigger problem in the USA because of the quality of their food that they consume. Eat foods that have a GI value of less than 55 and eat a little bit of protein every time when you eat something. Snack with almonds and fruit (apples, pears and berries).

Serotonin and your appetite

Serotonin controls your appetite and the more you have the less you will eat. Make sure you have enough serotonin and keep you blood sugar constant. You can find the serotonin precursor tryptophan in cottage cheese, milk, meat, fish, turkey, bananas, dried dates, peanuts and all protein rich foods. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that’s used by the brain along with vit B6 , niacin, magnesium to produce serotonin.

GLP1 Agonists and your appetite

Berberine is a natural GLP1-Agonist (glucagon-like peptide 1) that keeps the food for longer in the stomach and thus suppresses appetite.   It can also assist in managing bloodsugar levels better. Dihydro-berberine is five times better absorp than plain berberine.  Berberine is available in drops and tablets.   Convetional GLP1-Agonist are only available as an injection and very pricey.

The modern fat-burning diet can reverse insulin resistance

Eat fresh vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, brown basmati rice, rye bread, pumpernickel bread, spelt bread, oats, chicken, turkey and fish. Avoid all refined foods (white flour), fruit juices and sweets.

  • Combine low GL foods with protein.

This will reduce hunger and the tendency to store fat. Remember is it is protein that makes you feel full and a high protein snack will increase your metabolic rate.

  • Eat slowly – it takes 20 minutes for your brain and stomach to communicate. Eat slower and consume fewer kilojoules.
  • Increase essential fats, reduce long chain saturated fats and eliminate all transfats. Eat omega 3 fish 3 times a week and eat flax seeds daily. Omega 3 oils will help with insulin resistance. Have olive oil as a salad dressing or have it in your soup – but have 5ml daily.
  • Eliminate stimulants: sugar, coffee, tea, chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol. All of these will disturb your blood sugar.
  • Eat three meals a day and snack with apples, pears, berries and almonds – never go without food for longer than 3-4 hours.
  • Food allergies – one in two people have food allergies – get tested and eat on a four-day rotation basis.
  • Replace ordinary salt with Herbamore, Koisan or Himalayan salts.

 Fat burning vitamins, minerals and other beneficial remedies

  • Green tea – Tegreen by Pharmanex

Green tea reduces breast cancer with 31%

Green tea can assist in weight loss.

Tegreen is 99% caffeine free

Assist with metabolic syndrome: reduce glucose and insulin

Reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol

Reduce visceral fat

Reduce nonalcohol fatty liver disease

To obtain your order of Green tea please click here.

  • Vitamin B6

A vitamin B6 deficiency is common amongst insulin resistant and diabetic patients.  Vitamin B6 can reduce insulin resistance and boost the immune system.

  • Vitamin C

A vitamin C deficiency will enhance insulin resistance – more vitamin C will improve insulin resistance and can be beneficial in weight loss.

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D regulates insulin secretion and sensitivity and balances blood sugar.

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E will reduce insulin needs.  It is also a heart protector and keeps blood thin.

  • Chromium

Chromium will reduce insulin resistance. Low chromium levels are common in a high refined carbohydrate and high sugar diet. If you combine chromium with vitamin B3 – chromium efficacy improves. High chromium doses like 400-1000 microgram prove to be beneficial – effect kicks in after 4 months – do it for 12 months and then reduce dosage.

  • Fiber

It is a common problem in insulin resistant patients that blood glucose rises sharply after a meal.  The inclusion of more complex carbohydrates reduces this effect.

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid can improve insulin sensitivity in patients with pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes. Alpha Lipoic Acid prevents the development of glucose-induced insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and accelerates the decline in immunoreactive insulin during cell incubation in humans. Alpha Lipoic Acid prevents hypertension, hyperglycemia, and the increase in heart mitochondrial superoxide production in rats.

  • Progesterone

Check levelsbreast feedings mothers lose weight fast because progesterone levels are high.

  • Probiotics

Gut bacteria helps to balance hormones. Dysbiotic bacteria produce amines, indoles and phenols and they are all toxic. They can interfere with neurotransmission and other hormone signals. Keeping your gut healthy does not only support your immune system, protect your gut lining but also helps to balance your hormones. Altered bowel ecology will enhance catabolic maladaptation.

New research claims that there is a huge difference between GUT flora of thin and fat people. These GUT bacteria boost the thin persons digestion more than the fat person by extracting nutrients from undigested food (they also eat your food). By boosting or supplementing with GUT flora you can fight obesity because of better digestion of undigested food.

  • Berberine – the new kid around the block!!!

Berberine is a natural GLP1-Agonist (glucagon-like peptide 1) that keeps the food for longer in the stomach and thus suppresses appetite.   It can also assist in managing bloodsugar levels better. Dihydro-berberine is five times better absorp than plain berberine.  Berberine is available in drops and tablets.   Convetional GLP1-Agonist are only available as an injection and very pricey.

Fat-burning exercises – Please note

  1. The more muscle you have the more fat you burn during rest.
  2. Exercise improves your metabolic rate.
  3. Remember you will have more stamina 2 hours after meal time than otherwise.
  4. You have to do aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises burn fat and anaerobic exercises build muscle. Remember stretching and toning.
  5. Walking 30 minutes a day and strength training for 30 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week will enhance your lean body mass and help burn fat.

Fat-burning lifestyle advice

  • Reduce stress levels.
  • Learn to meditate.
  • Get more sleep – sleep deprivation disrupts the body’s ability to process and control blood sugar and weight-related hormones like cortisol and thyroid hormone. This imbalance fuels fat storage.
  • Portion control – reduce the size of your plate or eat 25% less food.
  • Limit alcohol consumption – lowers your metabolism, increase appetite and can also cause water retention. Remember the body sees alcohol as a sugar and it contain 29kJ per ml.
  • Watch out for sugar-free foods.

Sorbitol and mannitol adds to kilojoule content of food. Opt for food that contains Xylitol, Stevia or sucralose as a sweetener.

  • Dark chocolate please: high content of antioxidants.
  • Eat less and more often.
  • Add cinnamon to your oats in the morning – helps to regulate blood sugar.
  • Emergency food: snack on boiled eggs, fruit, nuts and protein bars.
  • Fast food – Nandos and salad or Thai chicken and rice from Simply Asia.
  • Attitude is vital for successful for weight loss. The ultimate goal is a complete lifestyle adjustment and not just an interim plan to lose weight and then to return to all the old habits.
  • Keep a food diary daily where the following information is recorded: day, time, food and liquids consumed mood and company and how did you feel at specific meal times – this will help you to identify problem areas.
  • Get support – tell your friends and colleagues.
  • Plan your meals.
  • Always have a glass of water in your hand at socials to keep your hand and mouth busy.
  • Don’t shop when you are hungry.
  • Always eat at the same spot at home – not in the car, bed or in front of TV.
  • Eat slowly, chew food well and do not overeat – it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that you are full.
  • Eat when you are calm and concentrate on the taste and texture of the food.
  • Lemon juice will lower GI/GL.
  • Salt – No to ordinary salt

Herbamore, Koisan or Himalayan salts please – ordinary salt raises blood pressure Which in turn will raise cortisol levels and stimulate your appetite.


To buy your Tegreen by Pharmanex, please click here.


Wishing you slim and healthy years!!!!!!




  1. New Optimum Nutrition Bible – Patrick Holford
  2. Prescription Alternatives – Earl Mindell
  3. Natural medicine – Beth Maceoin
  4. Herbal Medicine – expanded commission E Monographs
  5. Natural Medicine – issue 2& 65
  6. Genesende Voeding – Dr Willem Serfontein
  7. Gesondheid vir `n leeftyd – Dr Christiaan
  8. Townsendletter – April 2006 # 273
  9. Townsendletter – December 2008 # 305
  10. majidali.com
  11. Marik P.E. 2012. Colonicflora, probiotcis and diabetes. Frontiers in Endocrinology. Vol 3:87.

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