1197. The Belly Fat Effect Explained

When it comes to belly fat, it is often associated with a slew of other underlying conditions. Dr. Martin always viewed belly fat as a symptom of a bigger problem, and it almost always had to do with hormonal balances in both men and women.

Join Dr. Martin as he shares the underlying conditions that go along with belly fat in today’s episode!



Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Well, good morning everyone. Good to be with you this morning. Hope you're having a great start to your day. Okay, guys, here's what I want to talk about today, because somebody asked me this on the weekend and I figured I got to just sort of go over this. Most of you know it, but we're going to go over this again. Okay, now, generally when I saw this. See that? Fat, belly fat. When I see belly fat, what did I see in my office when I saw this? Generally, always exceptions to this, but a general rule of thumb is when you saw a belly fat. Now this happens to be 10 pounds, I think 5 or 10. I am trying to figure out what is this? Is that 5 or 10 pounds? I should put it on my scale afterwards. I can't remember from the office. I know this is one pound. Okay, see, that's one pound of fat there, right there. So this has got to be, I think 10, which is a foot long and at least six inches wide. I mean, unbelievable. Okay? And when someone tells you they only lost five pounds or 10 pounds, my word, that's a lot of weight.

But when I saw this, belly fat in the midsection, I want to give you a list today of what we saw that went along with this, okay? Because I was telling someone on the weekend that we used to treat and test, okay, what did we see with belly fat? Okay, generally, and remember, this is a dangerous fat because what you see, it's like an iceberg. I used to tell people this. Go to Newfoundland and I recommend it by the way. Go to St. John's. Beautiful, and I'm sure it's not the only place you can look in Newfoundland at icebergs, but I happened to be doing a seminar in Newfoundland years ago. Got to be more than 10, I think. And I was overwhelmed at the sight, I think it was October, of icebergs. And what you saw, huge. I said, no wonder the Titanic went down. Oh they said, that's nothing compared to the iceberg the Titanic hit. I was looking out at that beautiful ocean and looking at that humongous iceberg, and I said, wow. But it's what's underneath it that's even a lot bigger than that that you can't see that's underwater. And it's the same thing guys, when it comes to belly fat, it's this fat that you can't see. The visceral fat that surrounds the organs. That's dangerous. You don't even see it. You just see maybe a little bit of belly fat.

And I want you to think about this just for a second. Okay? Go back to the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and you didn't see a lot of belly fat. If you saw a guy with belly fat, you said he had a beer belly. But today we have a whole new classification that we call sugar bellies. Look at kids, and especially the sugar you drink. I was in Starbucks the other day, and when you go up and order Starbucks and just order a coffee, okay, you get it pretty quick. I just happened to go in and it was about, ah, I don't think I'm exaggerating. Eight or 10 people waiting. They're getting their specialty drinks full of sugar, and I felt like screaming, get out of here. Escape before you drink those sugary drinks, the worst sugar you can do is drinking your sugar. Fructose goes directly to the liver just like alcohol does. And we have a whole generation of sugar bellies. Okay? Now that was a little rabbit trail. Okay?

Now I'm coming back to belly fat when we see it. What did I see generally? Okay. Again, don't come after me. Well, you can. I'm like Teflon. It won't stick. Don't come after me because, well, that didn't happen to me. Okay? Okay. But generally, here's what we found. It was very consistent in our clinic days, this is really important. When you see belly fat, here's what you see in terms of blood work and some observations. Okay? Now here's what we saw. What did we see that was high? When you have belly fat, ladies and gentlemen, you ordinarily have too much estrogen. When we saw belly fat in the office, generally we saw people with high estrogen, men and women. Estrogen makes you a woman. It's a beautiful thing. It is okay? Estrogen makes you a woman. Too much and you're imbalanced. So too much estrogen in a man equals low testosterone, okay? Belly fat, high estrogen, low progesterone in women, and low testosterone in men.

And I've said this a million times, but I just got to keep saying it. Men who have too much estrogen and not enough testosterone that really affects their prostate, big time. Women, we just heard about hot off the presses. Suzanne Somers passed away. Did she not? She had been fighting an aggressive breast cancer for 20 years, I believe. Okay? 20 years. And I had a lot of respect for her because she was a real hormone guru. She learned everything she could about hormones. I remember when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I remember this. She wrote a book, I read it, I can't remember, 20 something years ago. And what she said was she was shocked when they tested her estrogen. She had estrogen coming out both of her ears, and no one told her. And it wasn't until she went to, not an oncologist, but a gynecologist who thought outside the box said, well, no wonder you got breast cancer. You were full of estrogen. Okay, full of estrogen. And it's good to have estrogen, ladies. It is, but not too much. And it's always a balance between estrogen and progesterone. Okay?

And again, I am going to show you, because this is live for those who are going to listen to this on a podcast afterwards, I want to show you what estrogen looks like on a scan. So I have this here and I am going to show you estrogen. See the dark red here on the thermal imaging. But unfortunately this should be standard is women and men getting these very specialized, not just general thermography done. I like this, used to do this in my office, but you see all the estrogen here, and this is generally without any symptoms at all. It was estrogen sitting on the chest wall, okay? Estrogen sitting on the chest wall. Now, generally when I saw belly fat, visible belly fat, high estrogen, both men and women, low testosterone in men and low progesterone in women. Because women, it's a teeter-totter. Estrogen and progesterone needs to be equal. And most doctors, they don't know that because they don't test and they haven't been trained to really look at the balancing of hormones.

And so it was always amazing how little medicine knew about these hormones. Well, unless it was flagged, and even then you're going into menopause or you're perimenopausal or you are, so what, it doesn't matter. Who cares? You're not going to die from too much estrogen. Yes, you will, possibly. Ask Suzanne Somers, aggressive, aggressive cancer. She was shocked because she took good care of herself. She was a health nut before there was health nuts. Do you know what I mean by that? That was Suzanne Somers. Read her story. She was shocked she got an aggressive breast cancer. But until she found out that she was full of estrogen and not enough progesterone. Now there's other factors.

So when you see belly fat, ordinarily, you've got high estrogen, low progesterone, and in men you have low testosterone. Men, you want high testosterone. Ladies, you want balanced estrogen or progesterone. And I don't like, personally, I never liked it. I was consistently against it. H R T, hormone replacement therapy using estrogen. I hated it. I always hated it and I always will hate it. I never liked it. I said, you never give a woman estrogen. Every week. We are swallowing, every week, a credit card size of microplastics. Nevermind all the xenoestrogens that we're exposed to. We live in an estrogen dominated world, and when you have belly fat, your estrogen goes up even more, your progesterone doesn't keep up. Ladies and men, your estrogen goes up and your testosterone is going down. Okay? This is what we generally found.

Okay, let's get to some more. What was up? Obviously insulin. Insulin and estrogen are growth hormones, okay? Insulin is a fat storing hormone. If you insist on eating sugar or carbs that turn to sugar rapidly, you are going to use a lot of insulin. And insulin's job is to store fat. As a matter of fact, in the presence of insulin, you will not lose fat in the presence of insulin. Insulin is a gatekeeper to store fat, okay? Insulin's job primarily, take sugar out of your bloodstream and store it and you better have bins, you better have muscles. Otherwise it's going to store it as belly fat and fat around your organs, especially the liver. Okay, got it? Okay, so insulin is up and generally when I analyze the person's diet, you know what I found almost invariably, with very, very few exceptions over all those years, you know what I found? They were low in protein consumption, didn't eat near enough protein, and somehow protein gets a bad wrap. People have bought that. It's so silly.

Protein is king of the castle, and carbs are dirty rascals. And when I say protein, I mean protein and fat because God gave us protein and fat. He didn't give us carbs and fat like a donut. Donuts or manmade. You don't see donuts growing on trees, okay? You just don't. You see protein and you see fat in nature. It's combined. Eggs? Does it have protein? You bet your boots. Does it have fat? You bet your boots. Are eggs good for you? You bet your bottom dollar they are. Why? Because it's the perfect combination. Protein and fat and fat don't make you fat and protein don't make you fat. Sugar makes you fat, and carbs make you fat. Bread and pasta and cereal and rice. I'm not saying you can never have any carbs. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that's what causes insulin to rise and protein is not enough. A lot of people ask me, "Doc, how many grams of protein can I eat in a day?" I don't care. As long as you're having it with fat. Eggs, meat and cheese. E M C, E M C, and I mean it. Okay? I mean it.

So what did we see? High insulin, low levels of protein. They were not eating enough protein. They weren't getting protein and fat. They were getting fat and carbohydrates. Bad combo. Think donut. Okay, think muffin. Think bagel. "Dr. Martin, it's whole grain." I don't care. Don't matter. Whole grain will break down as fast as white. It don't matter. It's going to be sugar in five seconds. Got the memo? Okay, now, what was high when we saw belly fat? Cortisol, almost invariably cortisol was high, the stress hormone was high. Stress hormone, high belly fat, belly fat increases your cortisol. Oh, you can't win for losing. Stress, big factor, cortisol, it messes you up hormonally. It affects your insulin resistance.

I'm going to just show you this because I'm going to go to the bottom here. Okay, see here. Decreased thyroid, hypo sluggish. This guise is probably the most missed diagnosis in medicine. The most missed, ED diagnosis in medicine is hypothyroid, low functioning thyroid. And there's a lot of reasons for it. And when I would see generally a woman with belly fat, they had a very sluggish thyroid for a multitude of reasons. Again, the teaching on the thyroid is complex. It's a puppet. It's got a lot of strings attached. One of the strings is right over to cortisol. When you're stressed, ladies, cortisol robs your progesterone. What does that do? Elevates your estrogen. What does that do? Estrogen makes you a woman. It holds on to fat just like insulin does. You can't win. It's hard, okay but cortisol, what it does, it robs the conversion of T4 to T3. It robs that conversion. And when you rob the conversion, your thyroid slows down, not diseased.

And again, I got to tell you what's happening in the world. Doctors, they can't diagnose hypothyroid unless the numbers are off the charts. They won't do it because they're hijacked by the laboratory. I know I love lab work, you guys know that. I am not against labs, but you have to understand how the thyroid works. It's got a lot of strings attached to it. If you got belly fat, you almost invariably again, have liver fat. If you have liver fat, your liver is gummed up. Conversion, 80% of your T4 to T3. Remember, your thyroid is so finicky, especially women. It's so finicky. Any lack of conversion of T4 to T3 will slow that thyroid down. That's your metabolism. That's your weight loss, ladies. How many women know what I'm talking about? And they fall through the cracks. It's almost like no one's listening to them. "Doc, no one's listening." I know. Eat less, move more.

Women, okay, cardio bunnies, "Doc, I'm in the gym for an hour. I'm on the treadmill." I know. How's that working for you? Not so much. Why doc? Eh, it's called horror-mones. Okay? It's called horror-mones. "And I got belly fat doc, and I got hips that I wish I didn't have." I'm very sympathetic. Very sympathetic because I could see it. I could see it when I did the blood work, I was looking and I could see it. A messed up hormonal system. It ain't your fault. Do you understand me? It's not your fault, okay? But there's help. Okay? So what do we see? What do we see? Just a general rule of thumb, over 90%, probably 95% of people, okay? So they had high estrogen, high insulin causing insulin resistance, high cortisol, the stress hormone. They had high leptin, okay? They were hungry all the time. Oh, the food industry loves that. You need to snack.

Of course, when cortisol's up, it elevates your blood sugar. What goes up must come down. Insulin gets in there, takes it down, cortisol is up, your blood sugar goes up and you're hungry because your blood sugar goes down, after insulin mops it up. Do you understand what I mean? You get in a cycle. Leptin is up. CRP is up. C-reactive protein. Generally what I found, belly fat. You would see high C R P. What's that? Inflammation marker. This here, okay, showing the fat, creates inflammation. You know why? Do you know why that happens? Because your body says, what is this? It's taking up space and it's not paying rent in the body. This fat is taking up space, but it's not paying the rent. So your body sees this as a foreign invader. It's almost like it's an organ onto itself. And your body says, man, oh man, what's in there? What's in this body? Inflammation. The body responds to it, the ambulance comes to that area with more blood supply, more enzymes, more healing. But the problem is that it's not going away. So it stays on. And when inflammation stays on, it can become very destructive. You got it? Okay?

So here's what we saw. What was up? What was high and what was low? Usually low protein, low sleep. There was an association. Cortisol is high, you don't sleep as well. You don't sleep as well, your cortisol is high. Man, no fun under the sun. And how many people, 70% of the population at least have some form of sleep problem. Nevermind like an official diagnosis like sleep apnea, which is by the way, an insulin problem. That's why we see so much of it today. It's an insulin problem. What's low? Here's what I found in the clinic consistently. Poor sleep, low vitamin D and low B12. Yep with belly fat. I know that's a lot of repetition, but almost without exception, low levels of vitamin D. You know what happens with vitamin D, by the way If you got a lot of this? Remember vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It loves fat.

You see? Think about this for a minute, okay? I want you to think with me just for a minute. When I tell you to eat steak, do you think I'm fooling? Well, you see there's vitamin D in steak. Vitamin D is found in food. Okay? Obviously the best source of vitamin D, we all know it. It's the sun. Well, I don't know. I live in Sudbury. I haven't seen the sun in about a month. When people tell me there's climate change, I go, yeah, it's always changing. And come to Sudbury in Northern Ontario and you're going to have fall with very little sun. We're not growing palm trees in Sudbury. Okay? Now that's a whole other discussion, but I get uptight. I can't handle it. I live in Northern Ontario. It isn't hotter, okay? But you see vitamin D in foods, this is why Inuit don't die from a lack of vitamin D. They don't see the sun. And if they do, they see it in the summer, it's still cold. I mean, it's not like they're sunbathing, but you see in their diet, they get a lot of vitamin D because they eat fat. They eat blubber, they eat a lot of fish, they eat a lot of seal, they eat a lot of whale. They get vitamin D from their food. Vitamin D is a fat vitamin.

The problem is if you have belly fat, vitamin D happens to go there and not to all of your solar panel the way it should. So people that have any belly fat, I always saw that they just generally that live low in vitamin D. And you know what I would do? I'd put 'em on vitamin D. I said, take this every day. You need a vitamin D, you need it. Your buddy ain't going to work without it. Okay? Get my book. Sun, Steak and Steel. I talked so much about vitamin D and B12. B12, it's so important for your metabolism. It's so important. And when you have belly fat, generally, you have low levels of vitamin B12. And remember, B12 is a weight loss vitamin. How do I know that? Remember Dr. Bernstein's clinics? I don't even know if they exist anymore. He used to restrict your diet to 600 calories a day, starve you to death, but then he'd give you B12. Well, I agreed with the B12 shots. I like them. I like B12. I agreed with them there. I didn't like the 600 calories because I don't like calories in and calories out. Change your fuel. Change your fuel.

Anyway, I get excited. I know I shouldn't. I just wanted to show you that today, okay? I wanted to show you that today. Okay guys, we got a great week coming. I'm on the road again traveling Tuesday and Wednesday. Okay? But back to our regular programming Thursday. Okay? So guys, Friday's question and answer Friday. Get your questions in. Okay? When is the last time I told you that I cared for you and loved you? Friday? That's a long time ago. I do. Guys, we appreciate our audience. You have no idea. Thanks for joining us today. We love you dearly. We'll talk to you soon.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

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