We all know tackling the obesity crisis is a complex problem with no easy solution. But now scientists honing in on our genetic make up for the answer, have come up with some startling results.
Adelaide GP Dr Peter Tunbridge says up to half the population… ten million people, could be unknowingly carrying a genetic defect which can cause weight gain.
“It's called the MTHFR gene polymorphism and the actual problem that occurs is that these people can't change naturally occurring folic acid into the active form that the body requires to carry out its biochemistry,” explains Dr Tunbridge.
As a result people with the faulty gene store fat instead of burning it off. It's also being linked to chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and depression.
After Kay Stark went on a course of anti-depressants to treat a nervous breakdown, she found the weight began to pile on and stay on so Dr Tunbridge recommended a simple blood test to screen for the defective gene.
“Had the blood test and then he said that I have this part gene and it would be suitable for me to follow a certain diet plan and take the medication,” says Kay.
That medication included a little known pill available on script from your GP or Naturopath. It's called folinic acid.
Integrative medicine expert Dr Tania Ash explains… “It is in a capsule form, you take it as a once a day daily supplement. At this point of time we would recommend it as ongoing treatment,” says Dr Ash.
Dr Ash also prescribed a course of folinic acid to patient Graham Little. Just 500 micrograms a day appears to have helped him shed eleven kilos in two months.
“My weight was exploding and it's managed to curb that issue completely and yeah I recommend it,” says Graham.
Graham’s reported that his energy levels are the best they've ever been for years and he's got excellent mood stability now he doesn't have the mood swings that he used to have before.
“So if you can add something back into their diet which is very simple and safe to do which will help that process then that's a massive step for that group of people,” says Dr Tunbridge.
While it's too early to tell whether this natural supplement can stop the obesity epidemic, Dr Tunbridge's results are quite promising. Five thousand of his patients displaying the gene deficiency reported an average weight loss of 6 to 12 kilos on a high protein and fish diet which includes the folinic acid supplement.
Dr Tunbridge says it should take no more than about 12 months of simple dietary regulations to eliminate the gene.
Dr Peter Tunbridge is presenting his groundbreaking research at an Australasian anti-ageing conference this weekend.
Dr Peter Tunbridge is at the Norwood Medical and Dental Clinic, 201 The Parade, Norwood SA. Ph: (08) 8425 1340.
The folinic acid will only be useful for weight loss if you have the gene. You need to obtain a blood test first to see if you have the defective MTHFR gene (it's a blood test not yet covered on the PBS).
The treatment for patients with the faulty gene is Folinic acid. Dr Vera have the supplement in 2 forms... on its own "Folinic Acid" or in an "Activated B -complex" form.
It can be ordered on 1800 625 934 as it's not yet available at many chemists with a prescription from your GP or Naturopath.