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Kalamalama Home

To lose weight, some may need pills, not will power.

Kristine Miyamura, staff writer

The control of one’s weight has troubled and puzzled both people and doctors for years. A combination of eating right and regular exercise seems to be the cure, and yet, many people cannot stick to this plan or lose weight no matter how hard they try.

Dr. Paul Rivas, M.D., in his new book, Turn Off the Hunger Switch: Reset Your Brain To Change Your Weight, offers insight into this problem. According to Rivas, dieting and exercise will not help you lose weight, only medications that specifically target your “type” of problem will. Rivas believes appetite and weight are both controlled by one’s brain and the deficiency of one or more types of chemicals can trigger weight gain, turning the “fat storing switch” in the brain to the “on” position.

Rivas places people into one of four types. The first, type “N,” is the most common type among patients. The type “N” person has a norepinephrine deficiency in the brain. Simply stated, these people are always hungry and never feel full. They crave starchy foods, are always depressed, feel exhausted, and have attention difficulties. Though all types need to raise their levels of norepinephrine, the “N” profile simply has to raise his/her norepinephrine levels to lose weight. Rivas suggests that the use of phentermine, a medication, is “easily the best tool we have.”

Although phentermine was once part of the controversial Phen-Fen combination, Rivas explains that phentermine by itself is safe and the heart problems associated with Phen-Fen were caused by the “Fen” (fenfluramine) portion of the drug. Rivas has used phentermine in his practice for years without any significant long-term side effects and will even “go out on a limb and say that it’s probably the safest thing I use for any condition.”

Rivas also lists a natural combination of ephedra which he says is safe, despite the recent media hype about it and caffeine as an alternative, or the natural product L-tyrosine found in poultry, pork, and dairy, as another. In the next type, Type “S,” a deficiency of serotonin is the problem. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that controls moods, emotions, aggressiveness, sleep, and appetite. With a deficiency of serotonin one will not only gain weight, but will also be highly depressed.

Symptoms of the “S” type include cravings, compulsive eating, food obsession, binge eating, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias. Treating the “S” type involves a combination of phentermine and Effexor® XR, which increase levels of serotonin. A natural alternative is tryptophan, an amino acid that has once beenused to induce sleep. A type “D” person has a dopamine deficiency. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter like serotonin and norepinephrine, is the body’s pleasure transmitter.

As Rivas explains, “it not only allows you to feel pleasure, but it drives you to seek it out.” In addition to this, it also inhibits weight gain. Symptoms of a type “D” person are depression, addictive personality, sexual dysfunction, and specialized cravings for fatty or salty foods. The prescription drug Wellbutrin® is “absolutely the best drug for anyone with a D-Profile,” said Rivas. A natural alternative would be the amino acid SAMe, also a remedy for arthritis and depression.

The last type, Type “C,” has an extreme sensitivity to carbohydrates, starches, and sugars. Rivas explains that the ingestion of foods like rice, beans, bread, pretzels, corn, potatoes, pasta, honey, and white and brown sugar all can cause severe weight gain to a C-Profile. Symptoms of a “C” profile include mixed symptoms from other profiles, failure to respond to drugs or natural supplements and quick weight response to the lowering or rising of carbohydrate levels.

Treatment for the C-Profile individual is both the lowering of carbohydrate intake (Rivas sets this level at 30-50 grams per day) and the medical regime like that of the N-Profile. For a person with a C-Profile to remain thin, he/she needs to stick to this for the rest of his/her life. Rivas also explains that it is “absolutely necessary” for the C-Profile to continue to take the medication or natural supplements described in the N-Profile.

In addition to identifying one’s type, keeping healthy, through exercise and sticking to a low-fat diet, are essential keys to keeping one’s brain in the “off” position. Unfortunately, according to Rivas, the only way to achieve true, noticeable weight loss results is through the implementation of drugs or other natural supplements into one’s daily regiment.

Rivas’ weight loss ideas have truly changed the status quo in regards to “dieting.” Food is not the problem, but rather, a chemical imbalance that resides within our brain. Pills to correct the imbalance, according to Rivas, are our only “cure.”

 

 

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