How belly fat affects your performance at work

A big belly comes with big risks.

Heart disease. Colorectal cancer. Sleep apnea. High blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes.

But did you know obesity can dramatically impair your mental performance too? In a recent study of over 5000 people, researchers in Ireland confirmed our own 25 years’ clinical observations: belly fat impacts your brain.

Male professionals, in particular, often come to see us when concern for their careers surface. There are usually other symptoms, but it’s performance-stalling cognitive decline that ultimately brings them to IMI: brain fog, difficulty concentrating, impaired focus, low energy, and reduced performance and productivity.

Our clients Max* and John* were no different.

Like many corporate executives in Hong Kong, Max, age 44, worked long hours at his desk and his evenings were spent either wining and dining clients, hastily eating dinner while on a conference call, or grabbing a nutrient-poor bite and beer at the airport. Max knew he was overweight, but he had neither the time nor the inclination to do anything about it. That is, until he began to lose his razor-sharp memory and focus.

John, on the other hand, ate a relatively healthy diet and he worked out twice a week. Perplexed by his pot belly, the 36-year-old assumed it was hereditary. Blinding headaches and rapid cognitive decline brought him to IMI – he had seen family members succumb to dementia, so he recognised the need to get help fast.

Both Max and John scheduled consultations with IMI’s founder and highly-respected naturopath, Graeme Bradshaw.

Is diet letting you down?

Max’s was. Poor quality nutrition, food intolerances and allergies are just some of the common culprits that can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your gut, which can find its way to your brain.

During the initial consultation, Graeme determined Max’s need for a gut detox. The sugars in his carbohydrate-dense diet had caused prediabetes (insulin resistance) and a round of antibiotics had triggered candida – a fungal overgrowth in his gut that is proven to cause brain fog and fatigue.

Tailored to Max’s needs, Graeme recommended a nutrient-rich, brain-boosting diet. To manage Max’s sugar balance, he prescribed nourishing herbs and minerals. Alongside this, he treated Max’s unhealthy gut and fungal infections with potent herbs, supplements and dietary changes.

Like most men his age who embark on a customised detox, Max lost a significant amount of belly fat. In fact, within the first two months of his four-month programme, he lost 6 kg in body weight and 6cm from his waist. His brain fog and fatigue lifted, and with his new-found energy and enthusiasm Max joined a gym. He reports that he is now twice as productive and happier at work and at home.

Are chemical toxins affecting your mental performance?

Your liver is a super organ – it has a natural ability to disarm and eliminate toxins. But, in modern times it can struggle to cope with the increased exposure to environmental toxins. Cosmetics. Household cleaning products. Pesticides. Plastic bottles and more. They’re all overloading and overwhelming the liver. Where do these toxins go? Chemical toxins are proven to bombard the brain.

After careful analysis of John’s medical history, symptoms and lifestyle choices, Graeme suspected that John may be suffering from the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s – a debilitating disease than can start up to 25 years before obvious symptoms manifest. His genes represented a loaded gun, but it was environmental factors that were pulling the trigger, Graeme advised that John needed a complete clinical detox programme.

John wanted proof. What were these toxins? Why were they impacting him? And what was the connection between his belly and his brain?

Test. Don’t guess.

To create a fully customised treatment plan for clients, we offer a series of comprehensive tests that allow us to identify the exact causes of a plethora of health challenges.

Based on John’s medical condition, Graeme recommended three tests:

1) DNA Health Test

This test confirmed that John was carrying the APOE4 gene – a gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. His genetic make-up promoted slow mercury detoxification – not ideal given the mercury fillings in his mouth and his preference for tuna steaks. With the presence of the PPAR gene, his fondness for meat was also working against him. The saturated fats resulted in excess abdominal fat, which exacerbates cognitive impairment.


The urine test confirmed that petrochemicals, plastics and pesticides were wearing John down. In fact, eleven of the 17 markers in the test were alarmingly high.

3) Blood tests

The tests showed high levels of mercury, bad cholesterol, liver enzymes and inflammation. Inflammation is known to fast-forward the onset of dementia.

Armed with the facts, John was ready to reduce his belly and boost his brain.

Graeme recommended a lower-fat diet, intermittent fasting, a blend of nourishing supplements, and a heavy metal and pollutants detox. The follow up tests confirmed John’s body and mind had been cleansed of toxins, and his liver, bad cholesterol and inflammation markers had normalised. But he already knew that: his weight was down and his brain power was reaching all-new heights!

Are you toxic?

There are many signs of toxic overload: excess weight, especially around the abdomen, is one of them.

If your waist measurement exceeds 40 inches (102 centimetres), it’s time to say bye to belly fat. Dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease. Parkinson’s Disease. They’ve all been scientifically linked to the gut. Don’t let belly fat take over your cognitive health.

And don’t reach out for an off-the shelf detox programme or juice fast either. Research proves they do not support the liver to remove toxins safely. We all detox differently – what works for one person can be extremely dangerous for another.

Call 2523 7121 or connect with us here to book an appointment with our detox specialists, Naturopaths Graeme Bradshaw and Tej BG. They’ll work with you to identify your unique detoxification challenges and put in place a safe, effective, and sustainable solution to help you achieve optimal health and wellbeing.

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