|This, probably won't cut it (the fat), because the electrodes and the wraps are missing.|
In the end, it does not matter on which side of this divide you are, the results a group of scientists from the Oporto Polytechnic Institut in Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal present in their most recent paper in Clay Sciences (no, this is not a joke, there really is a peer-reviewed journal on "clay science"), will probably surprise all of you.
"Clay wraps? Really?"
Assuming you would read the full-text of the study, you would, just like me, initially be enlightened that clay has been used for centuries not just as a cosmetic to make your skin look younger and healthier, but also as a means to reduce abdominal fat (Melo. 2013). Usually, these clays are composed of "green clay" (which has natural calcium and aluminum as components), green tea and magnesium sulfate. The clay is impregnated in a bandage that compresses the tissue and enhances fluid drainage from the abdominal region through the superficial lymphatic system (Standring. 2008).
Green tea reduces thyroid hormoness. Reason for concern? (learn more)
- Magnesium sulfate: Being an essential mineral to the activity of hormone-sensitive lipase, magnesium can facilitate triglyceride breakdown. It's topical application may be particularly useful, in people with circulatory problems (as in cellulite; learn more). The way the author's present it as an "active fat burner" (in between the lines, only) is yet unwarranted.
- Calcium: Contrary to magnesium, calcium actually plays a more active role in the promotion of body fat loss. An increase in extracellular calcium concentration leads to an augmented enzymatic activity and promotes a reduction of calcitriol (active vitamin D) that will in turn trigger lipolysis (Somaet. 2003; Zemel. 2005). Whether this works via topical application has AFAIK not been well-established.
Ultrasound, caliper and body impedance
The subjects the scientists selected for this research were 20 young women (faculty students), with a body mass index that would rank them as either normal (18.5–24) or pre-obese (25–29). To make sure they would not be fooled by mere changes in the fluid levels of the tissues, the scientists used a combination of ultrasound, body fat caliper and body impedance measures, to access the effects of the "clay-wrap intervention" on the body composition of the ladies.
For the women in the active arm of the study, the protocol, which they went trough two times a week over a course of five weeks (10 interventions altogether) looked like this:
In case it's not the amount of fat, but the orange peel look you want to get rid off, check out the SuppVersity Cellulite Special and listen to the show.
- Application of a solution of 33.79 g of green clay combined with 18.56 g of magnesium sulfate (proportion in volume of 6 measures of green clay for 4 measures of sulfate) dissolved in 16.67 ml of distilled water to the abdomen.
- Application of a low elasticity bandage soaked in an infusion of 3.12 g of green tea, 6.94 g of magnesium sulfate (1 measure, in volume) and 0.5 l of water was applied with increased pressure from the center to the periphery.
- Application of microcurrents to the abdominal region with electrodes in a parallel position, and at an intensity below the sensitivity threshold (max. of 1 mA, frequencies of 25 Hz and 10 Hz) for 15 minutes. The polarity changed every second.
which had to be performed with the clay body wrap on the abs.
|Figure 1: Before vs. after local (ultrasound) and total (body fat caliper in %) in the active arm of the study (Melo. 2003)|
|If you are in his position, clay is certainly the last thing you want to rely on, to reduce your weight to a healthy level. Stick to what works dieting and the glucose repartitioning effects of exercise about which you've read in an article from Friday, July 5 (read it)|
Not convinced,yet, well if you put any faith in the data from body-fat calipers and body impedance devices which tell us that the total trunk fat loss was (non significantly) larger in the control group (-2.1% vs. -1.6) and the total body fat loss measured using triceps, suprailiac, thigh and abdominal skinfolds, were -1.9% and -1.8% for the women in the control and intervention group, respectively, I guess that should suffice to shelve the idea of going to the spa to actively burn fat. That does not mean, however that the relaxing effect it can have may eventually promote body fat loss, but this would be the topic for another study ;-)
- Belo SE, Gaspar LR, Maia Campos PM, Marty JP. Skin penetration of epigallocatechin-3-gallate and quercetin from green tea and Ginkgo biloba extracts vehiculated in cosmetic formulations. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2009;22(6):299-304.
- Heinrich M, Barnes J, Gibbons S, Williamson EM.Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingstone—Elsevier Limited. 2004.
- Melo et al. Clay body wrap with microcurrent: Effects in central adiposity. Applied Clay Science. 2013; 80-81:140–146.
- Soma MR, Gotto AM Jr, Ghiselli G. Rapid modulation of rat adipocyte lipoprotein lipase: effect of calcium, A23187 ionophore, and thrombin. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1989 Jun 28;1003(3):307-14.
- Standring S. Anterior abdominal wall (chapter 61). Standring, S, Gray's Anatomy—The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Elsevier, 40th Churchill Livingstone. 2008; p1059.
- Zemel MB, Richards J, Milstead A, Campbell P. Effects of calcium and dairy on body composition and weight loss in African-American adults. Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1218-25.