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The Metabolic Unit at the University of Wales in Cardiff has been investigating evening primrose oil (Efamol) in severely obese patients.
The Cardiff doctors found that 30% of their patients had low sodium-potassium-ATPase activity, and they felt that this group had a metabolic cause for their obesity. This complicated-sounding substance is an enzyme which is essential to the storage and transfer of energy in living cells and is found in all cell membranes. It is responsible for more than 20% of the total energy used by the body. Studies have shown that there are decreased concentrations of this enzyme in various tissues of obese mice. Together with defective brown fat, defective activity of the sodium-potassium-ATPase enzyme is a major cause of obesity. Evening primrose oil activates this enzyme in cases where its activity is low. That’s one reason why evening primrose oil was used in the study at the Metabolic Unit in Cardiff.
The effects of evening primrose oil were investigated in ten obese patients on a normal diet, against eight obese patients on a calorie-restricted diet. After six weeks, the evening primrose oil group lost an average of around 5 kilos, and their sodium-potassium-ATPase activity increased by an average of 52%. The group on the calorie-restricted diet lost an average of around 6 1/2 kilos. Their ATPase fell by 37%.
The doctors concluded that through some unknown mechanism evening primrose oil might activate the mechanism involved in sodium-potassium-ATPase, so helping the body burn up excess calories. The most effective dose used was eight capsules a day.
It must be emphasized that evening primrose oil is not helpful in the great majority of people who are overweight. It is useful only in the severely obese, usually only in those with a familial basis for their condition.

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