Well Being

Cellulite 101: What Is It And How To Get Rid Of It

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If you have dimpled areas on your hips, thighs, buttocks or even your arms, you aren’t alone. Today, women spend millions every year on anti-cellulite treatments, ranging from fancy creams to promising pills, laser treatments and even surgery. While it can be difficult to eliminate completely, there are natural ways which can certainly reduce cellulite’s often distressing appearance.

Lower your insulin (sugar and carbs!)

One of the culprits behind an increase in cellulite is weight gain. Yet somewhat surprisingly, cellulite can also be a ‘skinny girl’s problem as well, due to the location of where most of us women store excess fat deposits – our lower body.

Many of my patients first notice cellulite if it wasn’t there before when they have had a sudden increase. Since only fat cells can either shrink or expand, an increase in their size will indeed intensify the appearance of cellulite. An interesting study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that fat tissue distribution in the thighs was significantly correlated with insulin resistance (a pre- diabetic state). A separate study  found that diet and exercise together shed fat both between the muscle and under the skin of the thighs, producing a better effect than diet alone on reducing cellulite.

Exercise can also strengthen flaccid, weak muscles and improve skin tone. So a healthy diet, higher in protein and good fats, and lower in carbs to reduce insulin, in conjunction with a regular strength training routine can go a long way towards decreasing cellulite.

Dose with a natural anti-inflammatory

I had one patient come to a positive conclusion when applying the methods to reduce inflammation after shoulder surgery, including high dose EPA 6:1 fish oil, Wobenzyme, and Arnica – she saw an interesting side effect – her cellulite diminished.

An increase in overall inflammation in the body can contribute to poor circulation, reduced lymphatic drainage, and in turn make the appearance of cellulite much, much worse. The enlargement of fat cell chambers and shortening of fibrous tissue in the thighs is almost always accompanied by inflammation, water retention and swelling. In addition to an anti-inflammatory and hypo-allergenic diet, such as the detox step in my book, The Hormone Diet, a daily dose of Omega-3 oils (one
tbsp. once or twice daily) reduces inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity. It also aids fat loss, especially when combined with exercise.

Fight cellulite with collagen

Collagen is an important protein used to make the connective tissue in your skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Structural changes in the skins tissues, including weakened collagen and elastin fibers, makes cellulite more apparent because the skin becomes thinner and less able to conceal the irregularities created by the superficial fat and connective tissue just below its surface. These changes can occur from hormonal imbalances, aging and even dehydration.

Gotu kola can also be helpful in stimulating the production of the protein molecules from which collagen is formed, and increase oxygen supplement delivered through the capillaries. It is also helpful in tightening loose skin after weight loss, decreasing the inflammatory response, and promoting tissue healing. I recommend taking 100mg 1-2x a day.

A collagen boosting supplement, such as silica (available in BioSil) or a collagen powder has been shown to improve skin texture, and aid nail and hair growth (take 1-2 capsules or 1 scoop of powder daily).

Ease the woes of excess estrogen

Estrogen balance is essential for achieving and maintaining fat loss – it’s also the main instigator of a growing cellulite problem. Premenopausal women with too much estrogen tend to have the pear-shape body type with more weight at the hips. The reason for this? It once again comes down to fat – both its type and the amount. When stimulated, alpha receptors cause fat cells to produce fat while beta receptors breakdown fat. Women, however, have almost nine times the amount of alpha receptors for every one beta receptor in their hip and thigh region.

This is also the area with the most estrogen receptors. As if this wasn’t bad enough, compared to our male counterparts, estrogen makes fat whereas the masculinizing hormone, testosterone, breaks down fat.

As most of us already know, women have a lot more estrogen and just a fraction of the percentage
of testosterone that men do. In addition to cellulite, excess estrogen will also fuel gallstones, varicose
veins, uterine fibroids, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts. You can use these natural tips to lower your estrogen levels.

Image by Flickr user diongillard