Fasting Prevents Obesity-related Insulin Resistance, Study Reveals

File photo: WHO

Dayo Ojerinde

A new research has added to the mounting evidence that fasting may be helpful in the fight against obesity and its related conditions. Dr Ayse Mindikoglu, who is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and her colleagues used the Islamic spiritual practice of Ramadan to study the benefits of fasting from dawn to sunset.

According to, the researchers found that practising this type of fasting for 30 days raised the levels of certain proteins that could improve insulin resistance and stave off the adverse effects of a diet rich in fats and sugar.

The researchers presented their findings during the Digestive Disease Week, a conference that took place recently in San Diego, California.

Mindikoglu and her colleagues studied 14 people who were healthy at baseline and who fasted for 15 hours each day from dawn to sunset as part of Ramadan.

While fasting, the participants did not consume any food or drink. Before the start of the fast, the researchers took blood samples from the participants. They also tested the participants’ blood after four weeks of fasting and one week after fasting ended.

The blood samples according to the researchers revealed higher levels of proteins called Tropomyosin 1, 3, and 4. “TPM is best known for its role in the regulation of contraction in skeletal muscle and the heart. It is also helps to maintain the health of cells that are important to insulin resistance and repairing them, if they sustain damage,” the researchers said.

The study’s lead author, Mindikoglu, said, “Feeding and fasting can significantly impact how the body makes and uses proteins that are critical to decreasing insulin resistance and maintaining a healthy body weight.

“Therefore, the timing of and duration between meals could be important factors to consider for people struggling with obesity-related conditions.

 “We are in the process of expanding our research to include individuals with metabolic syndrome and to determine whether the results are consistent with those of the healthy individuals.

“Based on our initial research, we believe that dawn-to-sunset fasting may provide a cost-effective intervention for those struggling with obesity-related conditions,” she said. (Punch)

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Coffee Drinking During Pregnancy Increases Risk Of Obesity In Children – Scientists

By Appolonia Adeyemi


Scientists have warned mothers-to-be against drinking coffee, saying it may lead to obesity in their babies. According to the study findings published in ‘BMJ Open Journal,’ even one or two cups of coffee may increase the risk of obesity in the children. Coffee is one of the most preferred and loved caffeinated beverages around the world and many people all over the world take it.

There have been several scientific studies on the benefits and side-effects of coffee. Coffee has been shown to be a potent source of healthful antioxidants. Similarly, part of the previous studies showed that potential health benefits associated with drinking coffee include protection against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and promoting a healthy heart.

However, this new study was warning mothers-to-be against drinking coffee, though it was not clear how prenatal coffee consumption is linked to child obesity The researchers looked at some 50,943 expectant mothers and those women who consumed caffeine during their pregnancy were monitored along with their babies until these kids were about eight years old.

“The study results stated that the number of kids of the age of five years who were overweight or obese was five percent higher in the group of women who had consumed the highest amount of coffee during their pregnancy period, as compared to the group of women who had the lowest coffee consumption,” the ‘NDTV’ reported.

Although the Swedish National Food Agency recommended restricting caffeine consumption to about three cups every day for pregnant women, the new study found that consuming even this stipulated amount of coffee was not completely safe as its findings showed that increased risk of obesity was present in the children of women who had stuck to this limit.  (New Telegraph)

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Overweight Men Last Longer In Bed Than Slim Men – Research |The Republican News


Move over, slim men! When it comes to sex, a new research has given the prize for ultimate performance to obese men!

In fact, despite the numerous disadvantages that being obese confers on anyone, a new research suggests that men with excess fat around their stomachs actually have more stamina in the bedroom!

In a recent study, obese men were found to last for around one minute and 30 seconds longer than their slimmer peers.

Scientists at Erciyes University in Turkey, in a study entitled, ‘Insight on pathogenesis of lifelong premature ejaculation,’ suggest that there is a correlation between a man’s physical size and his endurance during sex.

The researchers note that overweight men have a heightened level of estradiol — a female sex hormone which inhibits the male orgasm and therefore enables the fat man to push on a little bit longer.

In an ironic twist, the researchers also found that slim men are more likely to suffer from lifelong premature ejaculation.  Ooops!   (Punch)

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Excessive Weight Can Cause Heart Attack – Medical Expert |The Republican News

                                                              Dr Philip Kolo

An Associate Professor of Medicine and Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Dr Philip Kolo, tells ARUKAINO UMUKORO about heart attack and how to prevent it

How would you define heart attack and how vulnerable are Nigerians to it?

A heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the blood supply to the heart is suddenly blocked usually by a blood clot, leading to serious damage to the heart muscle. In medical parlance, a heart attack is called acute myocardial infarction, and it is a common cause of sudden and unexpected death in affected persons.

In terms of epidemiology, previously, heart attacks were very rare among Africans, especially those residing in Africa. But there has been a gradual increase in the incidence of heart attacks among Nigerians. This is believed to be due to the sophistication and improvement in nutrition, unhealthy diet and reduction of physical activities.

What age group and gender are prone to heart attacks?

The age group most affected is usually the middle- age and elderly population. It is more common among Caucasians than blacks or Africans. Also, men seem to be more affected than women, although one must plead caution here, because the presentation in women may not look typical as it occurs in men. So, it is possible that many of the cases are meek in women. But generally, the disease tends to affect men more than women. Other groups most affected include individuals that have hypertension, diabetes; those who live a sedentary lifestyle or don’t do a lot of physical activities and obese people. Cigarette smoking, like I mentioned earlier, is also a risk factor.

What kind of food rich in cholesterol should people not take too much?

One should start early to begin to watch one’s consumption of food rich in cholesterol, especially when one reaches the age of 30-35 going on 40, as some of the ability to metabolise this cholesterol may not be as effective as they were when one was younger. The conditions of many of the cardiovascular diseases that we see in adults usually start at a younger age. We should start watching our diet early.

Generally, red meat – beef, goat meat, and some bush meat — has a lot of cholesterol.  White meat (fibre) like meats from chicken and birds contain less cholesterol compared with red meat. Fish oil contains omega-3-fatty acids which are cardioprotective. Some also say that in place of red meat, they take intestines from cows (shaki), but these also have a lot of cholesterol, so they should be avoided altogether. If one looks at meat from animal organs, including liver, as long as they are from cows, they have a lot of cholesterol. So, we usually advise people to avoid eating too much of cow meat.

Also, one fries food substances to make them more appealing, but the danger of frying is that fried meat, eggs and related products tend to convert the cholesterol to more harmful fatty acids or trans fat (trans fatty acids). It is better we boil our food instead and eat them.

What are some of the symptoms of coronary artery disease?

The spectrum of manifestation is many. Those who have these narrow arteries usually have predictable chest pains. For example, if they walk like two or three poles, the chest pain begins, it subsides when they rest. This is called stable Angina Pectoris, a chest pain that one can predict. Some would describe the pain as a feeling of heaviness or constriction on the chest. Such pain may spread to the arms, the neck or part of the abdomen above the umbilicus. The second mode of manifestation is unstable angina, that is, chest pain one cannot predict or does not get better. Unlike stable angina, which gets better with rest or drugs, unstable angina does not usually get better with rest or drugs. But these are different from acute myocardial infarction – heart attack. There are special tests that can be done in the hospital to differentiate unstable angina from the two types of acute myocardial infarction, these are ECG (Electrocardiogram) and cardiac biomarkers (troponin). The ECG would determine the kind of treatment the individual would be given.

However, a good number of chest pains may not be related to the heart. But when you look at the signs, one would be able to differentiate it. Usually, the pain from the heart is specific, and the individual tends to hold the left side of the chest in such situation. This kind of pain is usually brought on by physical exertion.

What should be done immediately when one notices someone having a heart attack?

One of the major problems that we have with patients with a heart attack is a late presentation to the hospital. In Nigeria, because most people are not aware of heart attack when they experience the symptom, they tend to seek for treatment at nearby chemists or health workers living around them. In developed countries, there are specific code numbers one can call on during an emergency such as 911 0r 999.

The first thing to do is to take that person experiencing chest pain to the hospital immediately where help can be given. A tablet of aspirin can be given immediately because that can help in improving the disease condition. In some patients, once they experience such, they have a cardiac arrest instantly. In some public places, even in Nigeria, there are machines called defibrillator, which can restart the heart immediately. If this machine is not available, chest compression needs to be done on the person so that the heart can restart while they are on their way to the hospital. Once they get to the hospital, the doctors know how to manage the condition. First, they would do the resuscitation of the patient by ensuring that the airways are clear and the circulation is okay. Also, the ECG needs to be done urgently to know if it was a heart attack or not. Another test called cardiac enzymes is done. Oxygen is then given to the person, as well as drugs to relieve the pain. If available, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention is also another procedure done too to remove the clot from the arteries. If not available, medications called clot buster drugs are administered in the hospital through an IV to break up blood clots.

What are the risk factors for heart attack and how can they be prevented?

Diet and low levels physical activities are major risk factors. When individuals consume diets that are very rich in saturated fatty acids, especially animal fat, which is very common in our environment, increases their risks. Cigarette smoking, systemic hypertension and excessive alcohol consumption also increase the risk of a heart attack. A heart attack is also one of the manifestations of coronary artery disease. Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart, a muscular organ, which pumps blood to all parts of the body. In individuals who are not careful about their diet, especially diets that are rich in cholesterol, what usually happens is that there is a deposition of fat on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. These deposited fats may eventually cause a narrowing of the arteries. So, during strenuous activity, the arteries in this individual cannot dilate so that more blood can get to the heart, and the person may experience pain.

Also, occasionally, the surface of the deposited fats can get injured and the collagens are exposed, leading to the formation of clots inside the coronary arteries. If this happens, the area that is supplied by those arteries would experience severe blood shortage, and it may lead to death. So the person may experience the sudden onset of pain as a result of sudden obstruction of the blood supply to that part of the heart, which cause severe oxygen lack. That is what then cause a heart attack.

To prevent heart attacks, one needs to watch one’s weight and diet early in life. Try to prevent having excessive weight gain from eating too much food with a lot of cholesterol and not partaking in exercises or outdoor activities. A 30-minute of regular exercise on three non-consecutive days per week would help a lot in this regard. People should also stop smoking cigarettes and avoid excessive intake of alcohol.

Are there enough specialists in hospitals in Nigeria to handle cases of a heart attack?

More importantly is the issue of awareness. Many Nigerians are not so aware of this condition, so they don’t come to the hospital on time. Treatment is best given within the first two hours of a heart attack to prevent death. We need to create awareness among the population on a heart attack. We have lots of facilities to manage heart attacks and improve on them. For example, very few medical centres have access to the percutaneous coronary intervention facility. In developed countries, that is the gold standard for treating patients with heart attack. There are trained personnel but without the PCI, they cannot treat patients with heart attacks when they come to the hospitals. I believe government needs to equip our hospitals, especially with what I would call cardiac catheterization laboratories so that these coronary interventions can be done as we are seeing more of such cases in Nigeria.  (Punch)

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