Treating visceral obesity has always been a challenge, especially in older men. However, a treatment called Redustim is changing the way we approach and treat this problem.
Visceral Fat and its Health Implications
Visceral fat is a type of body fat that’s stored within the abdominal cavity. It wraps around your organs, including the intestines liver and stomach (1). This is in contrast to subcutaneous fat – which is the jiggly fat which you can physically pinch on your body.
Visceral fat is sometimes referred to as “active fat” because studies have shown that these fat cells do not only store energy, but produce inflammatory makers such as TNF alpha and Interleukin- 6 (2) . Visceral fat is linked to inflammation in our bodies. Because of this, excess visceral fat is linked to many serious health problems. It increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and its disease – insulin resistance, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease; It is also associated with sleep apnea, Alzhiemer’s disease, stroke and even breast cancer and colorectal cancer(3) .
Getting rid of visceral fat in our bodies is very important, not only so that we can look better, but also for health reasons.
Measuring Visceral Fat
Because you cannot directly see or feel it, it is difficult to measure visceral fat. The only accurate way to measure if via a CT scan(4) or MRI, but this is of course not commonly done unless for the purpose of a scientific study, or for other purposes.
Abdominal visceral fat generally shows up as a big, hard abdomen, commonly known as the “beer belly”. This is, however, a misnomer as drinking beer increases overall body weight, and does not specifically make you put on fat at the belly area(5). The tendency to accumulate abdominal visceral fat is what gives men an apple-shaped body. This is in contrast to women, who have a pear-shaped body because of their tendency to accumulate subcutaneous fat in the thigh and buttock regions(1).
You can get a rough estimate by measuring your waist size over your belly button.
Ways to Reduce Visceral Fat
Whether you tend to accumulate visceral fat depends on many factors such as your age, gender, hormones and birth weight(2). We tend to have more visceral fat as we grow older. Men have up to 2 times as much visceral fat compared to women(8) .
There is a high correlation between the amount of total body fat we have and visceral adiposity(9). Hence, many of the strategies for losing visceral fat involve weight loss and losing total body fat.
Lifestyle changes are very important in any fat reduction program. The greater the initial amount and proportion of visceral fat compared to subcutaneous fat, the greater is the loss of visceral relative to subcutaneous adipose tissue in response to weight loss. The age old adage of a healthy diet and exercise applies here. There is some evidence to show that a low carbohydrate diet favours visceral fat loss(10).
Weight loss drugs help to reduce weight through various mechanisms. In Singapore, there are only 2 approved medications – Duromine (Phentermine), an appetite suppressant, and Xenical (Orlistat), which reduces fat absorption by inhibiting the activity of gastric and pancreatic lipases. In the USA, Belviq (Lorcaserin) and Qysmia (Phentermine/Topiramate) are also FDA approved. Of special note steroid hormone therapies. This is used to correct the relative androgen deficiency in men and ovarian hormone (estrogen) deficiency in women. In doing so, there is modulation of fat distribution in the body to favour less visceral fat. However, these come with their own side effects. For example, female hormone replacement therapy can increase the incidence of breast cancer.
There have been many body contouring treatments emerging over the past decade. The most well-known is probably cryolipolysis, or fat freeze. However, all of them, including cryolipolysis, target the pinchable subcutaneous fat as they cannot reach deep enough into the abdominal cavity. However, a treatment called Redustim is now allows us to do just that.
How does Redustim Reduce Visceral Fat?
Interestingly, Redustim works on muscle cells and not fat cells. In a process the manufacturers term “Biostimulogy”, Redustim uses a low frequency alternating magnetic field, oscillating between 0 to 6 Gauss, to depolarise the cell membranes of muscle cells, causing the release of Calcium ions from the sarcoplasmic reticulum in the cell.
This results in imperceptible muscular contractions of the smooth muscles in the abdomen(11). When we say smooth muscle we are referring to the muscles found inside the abdomen, in the walls of hollow organs such as the intestines and stomach. Through this involuntary muscle contraction, lipolysis, or the breakdown of fat, occurs. The process is gentle, without any destructive cellular processes.
Clinical results with Redustim have been very encouraging. Researchers have found a reduction in not only visceral fat, but also subcutaneous fat, and even improvements in fatty liver, and blood cholesterol. In one study, 20 subjects underwent 12 sessions of the treatment. There was an average reduction in waistline of 7cm, 8.2% reduction in visceral fat, 4% reduction in subcutaneous fat, and 17-18% reduction in the liver enzymes AST and ALT(11).
The effects of Redustim on fertility was also studied. When women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) underwent Redustim treatment, it was found that there were improvements in ovarian response to stimulation and in the number of embryos obtained during the second IVF cycle. This was in tandem to weight loss, and reduction in waistline(11).
Redustim Treatment Process
The treatment involves slipping into a body suit. The electromagnetic waves are emitted through the suit to induce lipolysis. At the same time, the suit compresses your body through sequential inflation and deflation. The compressions aid lymphatic drainage, to help your body get rid of the excess fat faster. This 45-minute treatment is completely painless with no downtime. It is prudent to avoid a heavy meal 1 to 2 hours before treatment to avoid feeling queasy from the compressions. It is also important not to consume carbohydrates or sugary food 4 to 6 hours after the Redustim treatment as the targeted fat continues to be broken down.
Redustim requires a certain level of commitment for it to work. 12 sessions are required, over 4 to 6 weeks, to see the results described above. For people seeking faster results, we have shortened the treatment intervals to 6 times a week. After the initial course of treatments, maintanence with a healthy diet and lifestyle with ensure long lasting results. Otherwise, maintanence treatments are required to keep the visceral fat off.
Battling Obesity to Improve Health and Appearance
Obesity is a big problem in the world today. Although an increase in total body fat is associated with an increase in health risk, visceral fat increase is particularly worrying, because it has been associated with an increased risk of many serious illnesses.
While lifestyle changes are very important, it makes our lives easier when we have modern technology to better improve our chances of successful fat loss. Redustim is an exciting and promising treatment. It is the first treatment I offer in my practice which can target the visceral fat in the beer belly. This is significant in that that the treatment not only improves my patients’ appearance, but also their health as well.
- Nauli AM, Matin S. Why Do Men Accumulate Abdominal Visceral Fat? Frontiers in Physiology. 2019 ;10:1486. DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01486.
- Tchernof A, Després JP. Pathophysiology of human visceral obesity: an update. Physiol Rev. 2013;93(1):359-404. doi:10.1152/physrev.00033.2011
- Ryo M, Kishida K, Nakamura T, Yoshizumi T, Funahashi T, Shimomura I. Clinical significance of visceral adiposity assessed by computed tomography: A Japanese perspective. World J Radiol. 2014;6(7):409-416. doi:10.4329/wjr.v6.i7.409
- Tokunaga K, Matsuzawa Y, Ishikawa K, Tarui S. A novel technique for the determination of body fat by computed tomography. Int J Obes. 1983;7(5):437-445.
- Schütze, M., Schulz, M., Steffen, A. et al. Beer consumption and the ‘beer belly’: scientific basis or common belief?. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 1143–1149 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2009.39
- Obesity Prevention Source, Waist Size Matters, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
- Jeong Ah Kim, Chang Jin Choi, Keun Sang Yum. Cut-off Values of Visceral Fat Area and Waist Circumference: Diagnostic Criteria for Abdominal Obesity in a Korean Population, J Korean Med Sci 2006; 21: 1048-53 ISSN 1011-8934
- Kvist H, Chowdhury B, Grangård U, Tylén U, Sjöström L. Total and visceral adipose-tissue volumes derived from measurements with computed tomography in adult men and women: predictive equations. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988;48(6):1351-1361. doi:10.1093/ajcn/48.6.1351
- Després JP, Prud’homme D, Pouliot MC, Tremblay A, Bouchard C. Estimation of deep abdominal adipose-tissue accumulation from simple anthropometric measurements in men. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;54(3):471-477. doi:10.1093/ajcn/54.3.471
- Sasakabe T, Haimoto H, Umegaki H, Wakai K. Association of decrease in carbohydrate intake with reduction in abdominal fat during 3-month moderate low-carbohydrate diet among non-obese Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes. Metabolism. 2015;64(5):618-625. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2015.01.012
- Beilin G, Blanchemaison P, Imholz B, Ghosn HA, Saba Al Marush, et al. (2018) Impact of electromagnetic fields stimulation on metabolic syndrome, infertility and abdominal fat-related diseases for overweight or obese patients. Integr Obesity Diabetes 4: DOI: 10.15761/IOD.1000211