Helpful and Educational Information

The internet is a vast treasure chest of information, especially medical information, and it’s a challenge how to choose what's best for the specific individual needs. There is also way too much social communication in healthcare and it is difficult to follow and filter information. For this reason, Dr. Thaxton has created this Helpful Information Blog to share what he feels is relevant information about your health and your issues with weight. As you can see in the column at right below, this information is organized into subject caterogies. The latest posts are always shown at the top and you can also search for information. Please check back here often for new information or to learn more about what we do, how we do it, the tools and medications we use and the subject of medical weight loss in general. The information in this section is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

Obesity is a Disease

Posted on March 8, 2018

If you are one of the millions of people in America experiencing the serious problem of weight gain and obesity … it is NOT your fault. Obesity is a disease.

According to Merriam Webster’s College Dictionary (10th edition), disease is defined as a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning. Based on this definition, obesity, like alcoholism, depression, and anxiety, is a disease. It impairs normal body functioning and is a precondition for diabetes, heart disease, low back pain, some types of cancer, and a variety of other diseases/disorders.

In fact, obesity has been officially recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association, an action that could put more emphasis on the health condition by doctors and insurance companies in order to minimize its effects.

There are definite medical patterns: hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter deficiencies and nutritional exhaustion that all contribute to obesity. Many of my obese patients have underlying medical issues that need to be addressed. That's one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping my patients lose weight.

Diets and exercise regimens often fail simply because these underlying medical issues have not been addressed. My approach is to evaluate a patient fully, including family history, hormone evaluation, nutrient status, and life inventory to understand where to begin in treating this disease. There is no quick cure for this deadly disease. It is a a complex entity with many causes.

Some of my patients have endocrine issues like thyroid malfunction or hyperfunctioning of the adrenal gland (Cushing's syndrome). For others, there are genetic factors that produce a tendency to overweight even with the consumption of what would be for most people an appropriate number of calories. But most often, obesity is caused by a combination of inactivity and overeating. 

There is, to be sure, an important emotional component to overeating; often patients do it for comfort, out of habit, from boredom or for combating anxiety. Some use it as a defense against rejection. Overeating for some patients is a lifelong compulsion which is profoundly ingrained into their behavior. Many children are served inappropriate foods in much-too-large portions.

Individuals with obesity have an increased accumulation of fat not always attributable to eating too many calories or lacking physical activity. Individuals with obesity experience impaired metabolic pathways along with disordered signaling for hunger, satiety (the feeling of fullness), and fullness (the state of fullness). 

For many, efforts to lose weight are met with unyielding resistance or disappointing weight regain because our bodies have a set-point. This is demonstrated by the follow-up body composition results of contestants on “The Biggest Loser.” As contestants lose even as much as 230 pounds, their body’s response is a slower and less efficient basal metabolic rate. This occurs in an effort to return the body to its previous condition of obesity; it’s a counter-effort by the body that makes weight gain easier and weight loss harder. 

Set point theory suggests that your body weight is regulated at a predetermined or “preferred” range. While there are conflicting opinions on whether “set points” really do exist, the bulk of research seems to suggest that set point theory is legit. This means your body weight will always “settle” within a certain range. 

So if that's the case, the questions is: can you change that range? The good news is "yes you can." Research shows you can, in fact, change your set point. As most of us have experienced though, it’s not an easy thing to do.

The pathology of obesity is vast and varies based on the cause of weight gain. There is not just one type or cause for obesity. Obesity sub-types include congenital, stress-induced, menopause-related, and MC4R-deficient, to name a few. Obesity is related to genetic, psychological, physical, metabolic, neurological, and hormonal impairments. It is intimately linked to heart disease, sleep apnea, and certain cancers. Obesity is one of the few diseases that can negatively influence social and interpersonal relationships.

Why obesity is a disease is becoming more evident as we increase our knowledge of fat mechanics. To successfully confront the obesity pandemic will require attacking the disease and its manifestations, not just its symptoms.

Studies show that more than 80 percent of our health care dollars in this country are spent needlessly on the management of multiple chronic medical diseases experienced by Americans that could be completely avoided The World Health Organization states that 90 percent of all Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, 80 percent of Cardiovascular Disease, and 30 percent of all Cancers could be eliminated by lifestyle changes and reduction of overweight and obesity.

Contrary to popular opinion, Overweight and Obesity are NOT a lack of will power, NOT a weakness and NOT a character flaw



attacking the disease and its manifestations, not just its symptoms.

Testosterone Therapy Can Lead to Weight Loss

Posted on February 21, 2018

In testosterone-deficient men, major weight loss was an added benefit of testosterone replacement therapy for most of the patients who participated in a new study. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting.

"The substantial weight loss found in our study-an average of 36 pounds-was a surprise," said the study's lead author, Farid Saad, PhD, of Berlin-headquartered Bayer Pharma.

Although prior studies using testosterone therapy in testosterone-deficient men consistently show changes in body composition, such as increased lean mass and decreased fat mass, Saad said the net effect on weight seemed unchanged in those studies. However, Saad said their study, which took place in Germany, had a longer follow-up by at least two years and used long-acting injections of testosterone.

The investigators restored testosterone to normal levels in 255 testosterone-deficient (hypogonadal) men, whose average age was nearly 61 (range, 38 to 83 years). Treatment lasted for up to five years, with injections given at day one, after six weeks and then every 12 weeks after that. Patients did not follow a controlled diet or standard exercise program but received advice to improve their lifestyle habits.

On average, the men weighed 236 pounds before beginning testosterone treatment and 200 pounds after treatment (106.2 versus 90 kilograms), the authors reported. Weight loss was reportedly continuous, with an average reduction in body weight ranging from about 4 percent after one year of treatment to more than 13 percent after five years.

In addition, men lost an average of nearly 3.5 inches (8.8 centimeters) around their waists.

"These results are encouraging because studies show that weight loss drugs and lifestyle interventions have been largely unsuccessful, especially long term," Saad said.

Testosterone deficiency becomes more common with age. Saad said many middle-aged men with testosterone deficiency are obese, explaining that there is "a vicious circle" in obesity and low testosterone.

"Obesity is associated with reduced testosterone, and low testosterone induces weight gain," Saad wrote in the study abstract.

Testosterone replacement is the standard treatment for most men with symptomatic testosterone deficiency, according to The Endocrine Society guidelines.

In the study by Saad and colleagues, treatment used a slow-release, injectable form of the male hormone (testosterone undecanoate) that is not yet available in the United States. It is marketed in Europe, Latin America, Australia and parts of Asia and Africa.


Hormone Therapy and Weight Loss

Posted on February 21, 2018

Weight loss becomes much more difficult as you get older. No matter how much you diet and exercise, the scale sometimes refuses to budge. This can be extremely frustrating, but it’s important to know that it’s not your fault. Your hormones may be to blame. More specifically, a hormone imbalance may be affecting the way that your body regulates your weight

Hormones control your body functions, but naturally decline with age. Research shows that growth hormone, estrogen, and testosterone in both men and women begin to decline in the late 30s and 40s. This is followed by a drop in progesterone, DHEA, parathyroid hormone, and calcitonin. Without the right balance of hormones, your body loses the ability to regulate the processes that lead to weight loss. This results in a slower metabolism, an increase in abdominal fat, and less energy for exercise.

Fortunately, through hormone replacement therapy, you can reverse your hormone imbalance and restore your ability to lose weight by simply replenishing your body with natural hormones.  But not all hormones are created equal, so medical experts recommend selecting a hormone replacement therapy that uses bioidentical hormones rather than synthetic ones. Bioidentical hormones are preferred because they’re tailored to have the same molecular structure and biological effect as the hormones produced by your body. Research shows that bioidentical hormones may be safer and rarely cause side effects.

Once you realize how various bioidentical hormones affect the way your body regulates your weight, you can understand why you need ample amounts of them. When added to a healthy diet and proper exercise, these hormones can help you take off the weight:

  • Testosterone is produced by both men and women inhibits fat storage, especially in the abdomen. In addition, it has been found to be very brain, bone, breast and muscle protective. Low levels can cause sugar cravings and may lead to insulin resistance.
  • Estrogen has multiple functions with positive effects of the bone, skin, and vagina. Low levels have been associated with weight gain.
  • Progesterone also has multiple functions including bone and breast health as well as facilitating the conversion of stored body fat to energy.
  • DHEA is an adrenal hormone that promotes weight loss by increasing the body’s metabolism, preventing fat storage and decreasing the appetite for dietary fats.
  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is needed to convert body fat into muscle mass. It also inhibits the production of body fat and decreases the visceral and subcutaneous fats.
  • Insulin in addition to regulating fat metabolism, causes glucose absorption in the liver, muscles and fat tissues.

By replenishing your ideal amounts of these hormones through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you can balance your hormones and reverse your weight gain.

Lipotrophic MIC Injection for Weight Loss

Posted on February 21, 2018

Sometimes diet and exercise alone are simply not enough. More often than not, it is the simple fact your body lacks vital nutrients and vitamins. In turn, you can’t shed those excess pounds you’ve been trying to get rid of for so long. To burn fat and build muscle, you need to replenish those essential vitamins and minerals.

The body needs vital nutrients and minerals to guarantee hormones are functioning as they should. Lipotropic injections might just be your solution! Our Medical Weight Loss Program uses all the scientific tools to help you lose weight safely. One of the weapons in our arsenal is a weekly injection of a lipotropic solution.

At Advanced Medical Weight Loss we use a Methionine Inositol Choline (MIC) injection, a genuine weight loss product that has been perfected using the latest clinical science to effectively help your body burn fat more efficiently. When MIC injections are constantly administered together with a diet of low calories and frequent exercise, this medication produces outstanding results.

It is made up of a formula that consists of numerous lipotropics. Lipotropics are essential amino acids whose function are to mobilize fat patches and fat cells in your body. You can read more about other lipotropic injections here. Other functions of these amino acids include; enhancing the functions of the liver by assisting in the metabolism of fat cells. They help prevent the build-up of cholesterol in the liver and body, and they also help in eliminating abnormal fat cells and fat deposits on various sites of the body. Complementary research also shows that when lipotropic agents are combined with Vitamin B-12 injections, they react to create a synergy between their molecules which facilitates exceptional burning of fat throughout your body as well as increase energy. As long as you strictly follow your program and the advice from your physician, all these combined metabolic processes will help you to lose fat in a very short time.
Using MIC Injections for Weight-loss

Losing weight is a major concern to more people living in America today than ever before. Many people have struggled for years with different weight loss programs and conventional weight loss methods and products with dismal results. Our MIC+ injections can enhance your efforts in reaching your weight loss goal.

MIC+ injections are composed of essential amino acids that play a role in the breaking down of fat, utilization of fat, distribution of energy and removal of toxins from the body.

Lipotropic injections improve liver function allowing it to function more efficiently and help prevent fat accumulation. on the primary fatty deposit regions like the inner thighs, the stomach, the neck, hips, buttocks and the underarms.

The amino acids found on the MIC include;

  • Methionine – This is a lipotropic agent that has characteristics similar to Inositol. It generally serves as an amplifier that speeds up the burning of fat and metabolic processes.
  • Inositol –This is a lipotropic agent that helps your liver to remove fat from your body.
  • Choline –This is another lipotropic agent that prevents fat and cholesterol from accumulating on one part of your body. It uniformly distributes this fat to various regions in the body where it can be metabolized to produce energy.
  • Vitamin B-12 has also been suggested by clinicians and highly appreciated by patients who have used it. It is described as a catalyst that speeds up metabolic reactions. When combined the essential hypertrophic amino acids, the results are enhanced.
  • Do these injections really work?

How do they work exactly?

The liver performs many functions in the body. Its major functions are detoxification and metabolism. When you begin using lipotropic injections, the amino acids stimulate the liver and encourage it to optimize the process of metabolism. This is to say that these injections boost your body’s energy by providing a temporary but highly effective increase in metabolic rates and processes in your body.

What else can I expect? Additional benefits with Lipotropic injections

Increased metabolism resulting in weight loss is great, but for those who are tired, groggy, or need more energy, you are also going to benefit from the injections. In addition to seeing your weight go down, there are other benefits you can expect. Among these are.

  • Improved heart health: Vitamins and minerals are going to help decrease bad cholesterol levels. Risk for heart disease will also decrease when you include diet and exercise to the regimen.
  • Enhanced mood: “Happy hormones” are released, meaning you are going to feel better/happier. Energy levels are stimulated, mental clarity is improved, you find it easier to remember things, and your nervous system will function more streamlined.
  • Liver Health: One of the main benefits is that lipotropic will help take care of your liver. It keep it clean, helps in detox, and encourages proper flushing, for optimal liver health and functionality. Further, toxins and bile reduced, limiting your success with weight loss.
  • Balanced Hormones: If your hormones aren’t functioning properly, losing weight is more difficult. If hormone imbalances discovered, safe and effective ways of addressing this issue.
  • Improved gut/appetite health: Lipotropics can help aid as an appetite suppressant. Basically, you won’t feel hungry as often as you used to. This improves your metabolism and weight is lost.
  • Improved looks: Longer and healthier nails, shinier hair, and improved visual appearance, all occur with lipotropic injections.
  • Improved immune health: Inositol is known to help improve immune system health
  • Arthritis relief: With healthy growth, formation, and protection of cartilage and joints, you can avoid issues like arthritis as you get older. This is especially good news for those with a family history of it.

InBody 520 Body Composition Analyzer

Posted on February 21, 2018

We Use the Latest Technology:
InBody 520 Body Composition Analyzer

Weight alone is not a clear indication of good health because it doesn't distinguish how many pounds are fat and how many pounds are lean body mass. At Advanced Medical Weight Loss Augusta we use state-of-the-art technology to help us plan your medical weight loss program.

The information we gather using this technology can tell us if you are at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoporosis or metabolic syndrome (Syndrome X).  

We evaluate our patients in a variety of ways. To facilitate our pre-program testing, we use Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Testing (BIA) using the InBody 520 from Biospace, the leading manufacturer of physician-grade BIA devices. We use it to perform regular comprehensive body composition testing on all patients.

The InBody 520 has achieved a 98% accuracy correlation with DEXA, the gold standard in body composition analysis.

This technology provides a lot of insight into our patients' metabolism. While it accurately measures the overall weight, it also goes much further by providing the composition of that weight. It does this by distinguishing between Fat Mass (FM), total body water and Fat Free Mass (FFM) which is everything except fat and total body water.

Technically, the InBody 520 determines fat from water and lean muscle by testing the body's resistance or impedance not only in the trunk of the body but also both arms and legs by sending a mild electrical wave to each of these areas. In doing this, we can determine body composition for each of five segments, two arms, two legs and the torso. Fat provides more resistance than water which is a better conductor, so from this the InBody 520 can determine the Total Body Water (TBW) and then predict the Body Fat Percentage (BFP).

Men have 3-5 percent essential fat and their ideal range is 12-20 percent BF with clinical obesity starting at 25 percent. At 29 percent body fat. most men will have metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance). Women have 10-15 percent essential fat and their ideal range is 20-30 percent body fat with clinical obesity starting at 32 percent. At 37 percent most women will have metabolic syndrome.

Beyond body composition testing, waist and hip measurements can provide very useful information. Considerable scientific evidence reveals that the amount of fat accumulation around the waist is much more dangerous (metabolically) than fat elsewhere in the body. Women who have a waist circumference of 35 inches or more and men who have a waist circumference of 40 inches or more are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. These are just some of the ways we evaluate the patient's risk for disease as well as their overall progress.

More About the Technology

InBody uses eight polar tactile electrodes where a different electrical voltage and current are sent through the inner body, resulting in five different impedance readings for the body’s trunk and four limbs. This exclusive in-depth analysis of the InBody yields accurate results for total body composition, and is able to measure segmental muscle mass as well. Its segmental analysis method is unique and patented technology.

Accurate impedance measurement of trunk is the key to bio impedance technology and no population specific statistics (empirical factors) are used in calculation. High accuracy is guaranteed by precisely assessing your trunk.

All data solely depends on the measurements, not relying on gender or age. Multi-frequency measurement provides the precise amount of body water: ICW (Intracellular Water) and ECW (Extracellular water). Exact measurement of body water guarantees accuracy

The Tactile Electrode System ensures an enhanced accuracy by fixing the measuring region. The fixed measuring regions of the body guarantee high reproducibility, also minimizing error rates due to different placement of electrodes in your hands and feet.

The Inbody 520 produces the following reports:

  • Total Body Water, Protein, Osseous/non-Osseous minerals
  • Body Fat Mass
  • Skeletal Muscle Mass
  • Soft Lean Mass
  • Fat Free Mass
  • Weight
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Percent Body Fat
  • Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR),
  • Segmental Muscle Mass
  • Segmental Muscle Mass Ratio
  • Muscle Distribution Model
  • Nutrition assessment (protein, minerals, fats, edema level)
  • Body Symmetry
  • Body Strength
  • Suggested Weight
  • Suggested Weight Control
  • Suggested Fat Control
  • Suggested Muscle Control
  • Fitness Score
  • Obesity Degree
  • Body Cell Mass (BCM)
  • Bone Mineral Content (BMC)
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
  • Arm Circumference (AC)
  • Arm Muscle Circumference (AMC).
  • Provides Segmental Impedance values at multiple frequencies.
  • 15 individual impedance measurement values (5, 50, 500 kHz at each arm, leg, and the trunk).