Obesity is an outcome of metabolic disorder and characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the body. Body mass index (BMI) is the biomarker of obesity measurement. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), higher BMI level of approximately 30 kgs/m2 or beyond that can be considered as obesity. In 2015,603.7 million adults and 107.7 million children were diagnosed with obesity. The increasing prevalence of obesity become global health concern due to the incidence rate which signifies the epidemic alert. Multiple fetal diseases including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain types of cancer are associated with obesity. Obesity is one of the primary reason for hyperlipidemia, hypertension, respiratory disorder, sleep apnea etc.
Why natural treatment for obesity become on demand?
Body weight management is the only way to control obesity. Different conventional medicines are available to suppress the central appetite, inhibits digestion and absorption rate, promotes metabolic functioning, suppress obesity-inducing genetic product, and miscellaneous effects. Synthetic medicines alter all these physiological phenomena artificially and produce multiple side effects. Neurological symptoms, insomnia, thrombus formation, dry mouth, constipation, and anorexia are a certain common complain of patients who use synthetic anti-obesity drugs. Conventional treatment also induces physical dependence and drug abuse. Apart from medicinal treatment, surgical intervention may also be recommended for obese patients who have associated co-morbidities. But these surgical interventions are also associated with postoperative complications like infection, deep vein thrombosis, postoperative anastomotic fistula. Anemia and malnutrition can also develop as long-term complications.
The mode of treatment in natural therapy includes:
• Identification and treatment of the underlying cause of the condition
• Natural treatments involving low invasive procedures, therefore, the risk of complications are less
• Educate people about the right lifestyle measures to control the ill health
The above mentions approaches make natural treatment on demand for diseases prevention and treatment. People are well aware of obesity and related health issues. Moreover, everybody is concerned about their looks and wish to have a toned, slim body. However, people avoid taking conventional synthetic anti-obesity treatments due to their adverse effects. Lifestyle measures and natural treatment has become on demand for treating obesity, as they are safe and side-effect free.
Natural treatment for obesity
There are different natural treatments to treat obesity. These natural treatments are traditionally well recognized, their efficacy and safety parameters are also assessed through different research studies and are established through scientific evidence.
Acupoints are specific selected points in our body where pressing through needles help to regulate physiological parameters. This therapeutic technique is known as acupuncture. Manual acupuncture is one of the major therapeutic intervention in Traditional Chinese medicinal system. Electroacupuncture is the upgraded version.
The mechanism of action of acupuncture include:
- Regulation of neuropeptides present in the central nervous system and adipokines (fat depot) that trigger obesity.
- Regulation of hormonal secretion by controlling both central and peripheral nervous system, which involves maintaining proper functioning of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal cortex and sympathetic-adrenal cortex axis.
- Reduction of triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol level and provides overall lipid-lowering effects.
Certain bacteroides like Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron presence in gut microbiota increases the risk of obesity. Abdominal acupuncture may help to reduce such bacteroides and induces weight reduction.
The efficacy and safety of acupuncture in weight management and for obesity treatment have been assessed through small-scale randomized clinical trials. Trial results reported that acupuncture is effective in BMI and weight reduction. In addition, acupuncture prevents relapse.
This is a Japanese traditional herb, locally known as Chikusetsuninjin. The rhizome of this herb has an anti-obesity effect. Lipaseis a pancreatic enzyme which has a primary role in fat absorption. Panax japonicus reduces ingested fat absorption rate by inhibiting lipases activity and provide overall caloric absorption reduction. Resulting of this leads to weight loss.
Platy- codi radix
This is the root of Platycodon grandiflorum belongs to campanulaceae family. The local name of this herb is Balloon-flower. Platycodi radix followed the same mechanism of action as Panax japonicus, means this herb also inhibits pancreatic lipase activity. In addition, platycodi radix also significantly reduces hepatic triacylglycerol level and reduce intestinal absorption of fat. Saponins, flavonoids, polyphenols are different phytochemicals present in this herb, provide bioactivity.
The scientific name of this tea is Camillia Sinensis. Catechin is an important flavonol group of green tea polyphenols. There are mainly four types of catechins find in green tea: epigallocatechin, epicatechin, epicatechin-3-gallate, and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Among these, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate has an anti-obesity effect. The green tea extract modulates intake of food, energy balance, metabolism of carbohydrate and lipid, the functioning of endocrine systems, and redox status. Thus it helps in weight reduction. A randomized clinical trial conducted on obese and moderately obese participants showed green tea consumption can reduce abdominal fat. It has also been found that childhood obesity can be treated with green tea consumption.
The common name of this herb is potato, which is one of the common vegetable found almost in all kitchens. The ethanolic extract of this herb is a natural treatment for obesity. This herb acts as thermogenesis. Brown adipose tissues with the help of mitochondrial uncoupling protein regulate energy balance by dispersing energy as heat. Capsaicin and caffeine also follow the same mechanism of action and possess anti-obesity property.
This herb is commonly known as Indian lotus and belongs to the Nelumbonaceae family. The flavonoids phytochemicals present in the leaf of this herb activates the b3-adrenergic receptor and promotes lipid metabolism. The herbal extract of this plant leaf is used as a dietary supplement for reduction of body weight.
This herb is commonly known as Ginseng and belongs to Araliaceae family. Ginsenoside is one of the bioactive phytochemical presents in this herb which acts against obesity. This herb suppresses lipid accumulation, attenuates fat buildup, reduces production of reactive oxygen species. Thus, this herb decreases body weight.
The root of Arnebia euchroma or Radix Lithospermi is used as a herbal supplement for obesity treatment. This herbal formulation significantly decreases body weight, lowers serum free fatty acid and serum triglyceride levels. Acetylshikonin and shikonin are its two bioactive phytochemicals which decrease adiposity, improve insulin functioning, reduces hepatic dyslipidemia. All these mechanisms support the reduction of body weight.
The rhizome of this herb helps to maintain body weight and acts against obesity. In Chinese traditional medicine, this herb is also known as mahuang. This herbal supplement can reduce body weight, and improve glucose intolerance. An animal study showed that this herb is useful in abdominal fat reduction.
This is another herb having anti-obesity property, commonly known as Chinese rhubarb which belongs to Polygonaceae family. The two bioactive phytochemicals of this herb including chrysophanic acid and emodin reduce food intake, low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, and overall cholesterol level. This herb down regulates adipogenic factors by activating 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase alpha.
This herb is commonly known as saffron. Carthamus tinctorius significantly reduces fat mass, fasting blood glucose, and improves insulin sensitivity. The flower petals of this herb are mainly used to formulate herbal supplement. The proposed mechanism of action of this herb is to promote browning of subcutaneous white adipose tissue and activates insulin receptor. This herbal remedy is also useful to treat the obesity-related fatty liver condition.
If acupuncture or herbal supplementations are unable to treat obesity, then naturopath may recommend the non-invasive body-contouring procedure. There are certain non-invasive procedures like liposuction, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, Low-Level Laser Therapy, cryolipolysis and Radiofrequency which are conducted under experts guidance. These procedures require specific infrastructure to perform the treatment.
- Liposuction is a well established cosmologic procedure which is used worldwide for body fat reduction. However, this process has some side effects and not recommended frequently.
- High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound is also a non-invasive technique used for subcutaneous fat tissue ablation. The optimal outcome of this process is usually obtained in case of lower level of 30 kg/m2 BMI.
- Low-Level Laser Therapy is effective to reduce localized fat in patients having BMI between 25 to 30 kg/m2
- Cryolipolysis is selectively conducted through controlled cooling for reduction of subcutaneous fat. A clinical trial has reported that cryolipolysis is a safe and effective treatment measure for obesity treatment.
- Radiofrequency is used to alter the thermal condition of the dermal/hypodermal layers.