By Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND
It is estimated that approximately 90% of females over the age of 35 have been have some degree of cellulite. It does not just affect those that are over-weight, although excess body fat can make the appearance of cellulite worse. Many factors influence the development of cellulite. Female anatomy, hormones, blood and lymphatic circulation, diet and lifestyle factors all contribute to the formation and appearance of cellulite.
Contributing factors to cellulite formation and appearance:
1. Hormonal stimulation of fat cells, primarily by estrogen. Estrogen stimulates fat cell production and growth and fat cells make estrogen – its a vicious cycle. Exposure to environmental toxins and sub-optimal detoxification by the liver can lead to a build up estrogens, which is termed ‘estrogen dominance’.
Environmental exposure of estrogens is significant. ‘Xenoestrogens’ are a sub-category of chemicals called endocrine disruptors, which are known to alter the normal function of our hormones. Sources include plastic – bottled water and any food sold and prepared in plastic should be avoided. Skin care and beauty products, insecticides sprays, and many other products contain endocrine disrupting chemicals. The Environmental Working Group provides a comprehensive database of environmental toxin sources. (www.ewg.org).
Estrogen metabolism happens primarily in the liver. The liver breaks down estrogen, along with many other substances, so they can be eliminated by the body. When the liver is over-burdened or sluggish, estrogens are not efficiently eliminated from the body.
Our primary goals are:
- Decrease exposure to environmental toxins
- Keep liver function efficient. Consume plenty of green leafy vegetables, bitter greens and herbal bitters. The bitter flavor stimulates the livers production of bile improving digestion and releasing toxins through the bile.
- Balance estrogen levels. Consumption of dietary fiber and phytoestrogens, help to keep estrogen levels balanced and remove excess levels from the body.
2. Poor blood and lymphatic circulation means less oxygen, less nutrition and less detoxification, leading to decreased collagen production and increased fluid retention. Exercise, movement, dry skin brushing stimulate and improve blood and lymphatic flow. A sedentary lifestyle leads to lymphatic stagnation and water retention.
BioResonance therapy is a pain-free, non-invasive treatment that uses electromagnetic frequencies to detoxify, improve blood and lymphatic flow and reduce water retention in the local area of cellulite. Collagen is strengthened with this therapy and the skin becomes more smooth, firm and toned. There is also systemic improvement of circulation and lymphatic flow, as well as hormonal regulation. Recent research and case studies were conducted in Vienna, Austria (the results have not been published yet) and found results were noticed as early as the first couple of sessions, and the most had dramatic improvement within 8-10 sessions. BioResonance therapy for cellulite is now offered at Innate Wellness, please contact reception for details.
3. The skin structure and collagen breakdown contribute to the formation and appearance of cellulite.
The skin contains three layers. The middle layer is called the epidermis and contains collagen, which keeps skin firm and the underlying fatty layer contained. The structure within the epidermis is composed of collagen rows that resemble a picket fence. Cellulite occurs when the collagen of the connective tissue becomes weak and losses elasticity, allowing the fatty tissue to bulge through creating the dimpled, orange peal appearance known as cellulite.
Improved nutrition and supplementation can provide the necessary nutrients to support and protect collagen. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids act as antioxidants and help to strengthen and prevent collagen breakdown. Increasing fruits and vegetables, eating a wide variety of colors will ensure high levels of vitamins and antioxidants.
4. Excess body fat and decreased muscle tone can make cellulite appearance more pronounced. Although cellulite doesn’t just affect those that are overweight, excess weight can amplify the appearance of cellulite. Regular exercise can improve muscle tone, helping to burn fat deposits and smooth trouble spots. A whole food diet, high in nutrients and fiber will help keep blood sugar balanced, modulating insulin and decreasing energy storage in the form of fat.
From a naturopathic perspective, we would go beyond just treating cellulite. By addressing the factors that contribute to cellulite formation we are able to decrease the appearance, and also prevent recurrence and worsening of cellulite.