Cellulite is one of the most common skin conditions, and it’s also the one people are the least likely to admit they have. But let me tell you, if you have dimpled areas on your hips, thighs, buttocks or even arms, you aren’t alone. Women spend millions every year on anti-cellulite treatments ranging from fancy creams to promising pills to surgery and laser treatments. The best solution, however, is to work from the inside out and get at the root cause. While it’s difficult to completely eliminate, you can certainly reduce the appearance with these tips:
1. Lower excess insulin
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.
Bottom line: A healthy diet, high in protein, good fats and lower in carbs — to reduce insulin — combined with regular strength training can go a long way towards decreasing cellulite.
2. Reduce inflammation
I had a patient who found an interesting side effect from the methods used to reduce inflammation after shoulder surgery: her cellulite diminished thanks to a high dose EPA 6:1 fish oil, Wobenzym, and arnica. An overall increase in inflammation can contribute to poor circulation and reduced lymphatic drainage making the appearance of cellulite 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.
Bottom line: In addition to an anti-inflammatory diet, a daily dose of omega-3 oils reduce both inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity. They also aid fat loss, especially when combined with exercise.
3. Get control over estrogen
Estrogen balance is essential to 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 comes down to fat, both the type and the amount. Consider that women have almost nine times the amount of alpha receptors for every one beta receptor in their hip and thigh region. When stimulated, alpha receptors cause fat cells to produce fat, while beta receptors breakdown fat. This is also the area with the most estrogen receptors.
Bottom line: In addition to cellulite, excess estrogen can also fuel gallstones, varicose veins, uterine fibroids, cervical dysplasia, endometriosis, or ovarian cysts. Keep your estrogen levels in balance with these suggestions.
4. Boost collagen levels
Collagen is an important protein used to make the connective tissue in your skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Structural changes in the skin’s tissues, including weakened collagen and elastin fibres, make cellulite more apparent because the skin becomes thinner and less able to conceal the irregularities below the surface. These changes can occur from hormonal imbalances, aging and even dehydration.
Gotu kola, an ancient herb, 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’s also helpful in tightening loose skin after weight loss, decreasing the inflammatory response, and promoting tissue healing. I recommend 100 mg 1-2 times a day. A collagen boosting supplement, such as silica or a collagen powder has been shown to improve skin texture, and nail and hair growth (take 1-2 capsules or 1 scoop of powder daily).
Lastly, hydration is key. To calculate your optimal water intake, use this formula: [Your weight] × 0.55 = number of ounces to drink daily ÷ 8 = number of cups you need daily.
Bottom line: Hydration plus key supplements will improve your connective tissue and tighten your skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite and even preventing the problem from getting worse.
Natasha Turner, N.D. is a naturopathic doctor, Chatelaine magazine columnist, and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet and The Supercharged Hormone Diet. Her newest release, The Carb Sensitivity Program, is now available across Canada. She is also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here.