Kudzu Root: Good and Bad News about This Butt Fat Buster
Kudzu root has recently been promoted as a potential butt fat busting supplement that can help women reduce the fat that has accumulated over their gluteal muscles. While it appears that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that eating Kudzu root is harmful—at least over a relatively short time period and in reasonable doses—there are some significant contraindications that Kudzu root can have on a woman’s health.
Kudzu root is a very invasive, high-climbing, perennial vine from Asia that originally was introduced to the U.S. as a way to control soil erosion, but has since turned into more of a nuisance than a help throughout the southeastern U.S. Varieties of Kudzu fall under names such as Pueraria lobata, Pueraria thomsonii and Pueraria mirifica depending on the origin of the particular Kudzu plant.
Kudzu has a long history of use as a traditional Chinese medicinal plant to treat a wide variety of ailments, of which the most intriguing studied was its use to treat alcoholism. Studies with Kudzu involving alcoholic hamsters have shown that Kudzu does lead to a decrease in their craving for alcohol. With humans, however, Kudzu failed to demonstrate any benefit toward helping recovering alcoholics remain on the wagon. Reportedly in some short term experiments, Kudzu did reduce the beer consumption in heavy alcohol drinkers.
More recent research has shown promise that Kudzu may be beneficial to women who are post-menopausal.
Kudzu possesses plant steroid hormones called phytoestrogens that are very similar to the estrogen post-menopausal women are deficient in. One of the major problems faced by post-menopausal women is the development of diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome due to the lack of normal estrogen levels. Hormone replacement therapy is not a desired alternative because it increases the risk of a woman developing breast or uterine cancer.
However, researchers have found that the phytoestrogens from Kudzu actually mimics human estrogen by binding to tissue specific estrogen receptors in the female body—with the exception of the breast and uterine tissues. Therefore, phytoestrogens from Kudzu might prove to be useful as a safe estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopausal women. In fact, in an animal study involving obese mice that had their ovaries removed and while fed a high fat, researchers discovered that extracts from Kudzu added to the diets of the obese mice resulted in a reversal in weight gain and fat accumulation.
It is this association between Kudzu phytoestrogens and the reversal of both fat accumulation and weight gain in the ovariectomized mouse study that is the likely source of backing for the recent promotion of Kudzu root as a dietary supplement that may help fight butt fat. It should be noted that in the mouse study, that the fat lost was primarily abdominal. The paper did not discuss whether butt fat is a factor in mouse obesity or not.
Be that as it may, the interest in using Kudzu root as a butt fat fighting supplement is reportedly based on the mechanism that since adipose tissue in the butt is estrogen responsive, that the Kudzu phytoestrogen will physically block a pre-menopausal woman’s naturally occurring estrogen and thereby prevent the formation of fat over the gluteal muscles.
That’s all well and good, if it’s true. Unfortunately no studies were referenced showing this. However, if this mechanism is true then the rub is—but what of the other uses of estrogen in a premenopausal woman? Do you want interfere with your estrogen levels that are part of your birth control?
A search of contraindications for taking Kudzu root has revealed that women who are taking birth control pills that contain estrogen might be adversely affected by the phytoestrogens from the Kudzu root that might make their birth control pill less effective. Therefore, by taking Kudzu root to decrease butt fat, a woman on birth control may find herself unintentionally pregnant and facing the development of an even bigger butt in her near future.
Other contraindications for taking Kudzu root include:
• Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
• Estrogen sensitive cancers and medications such as Tamoxifen and Methotrexate
• Medications used for treating diabetes
The take home message is this: Kudzu root may or may not be effective in fighting butt fat. However, it is generally considered safe as long as none of the medical contraindications apply and a woman understands that she may want to use another form of birth control before adding Kudzu root to her diet. And, of course, talk to your doctor to ensure that Kudzu root does not pose any other unforeseen risks toward your health that you may not be aware of before starting this or any other butt fat busting supplement.
Here are some additional warnings you need to know about some popular weight loss supplements and drugs.
Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile
Reference: “Estrogenic Plant Extracts Reverse Weight Gain and Fat Accumulation without Causing Mammary Gland or Uterine Proliferation” PLoS One. 2011; 6(12); Elise F. Saunier, Omar I. Vivar, Andrea Rubenstein, Xiaoyue Zhao, Moshe Olshansky, Scott Baggett, Richard E. Staub, Mary Tagliaferri, Isaac Cohen, Terence P. Speed, John D. Baxter, and Dale C. Leitman.