Study participants who took a new herbal supplement, while also exercising and controlling their food intake, had greater success in losing weight and slimming down than did those who didn’t take the supplement, report researchers at the University of California, Davis, and in India.
The researchers suggest that the supplement—made from extracts of a wild herb and a tropical fruit rind—may be a safe and effective aid for dealing withexcess body weight and obesity, which affect more than 60 percent of adults in the United States.
Two clinical trials involving the supplement were conducted at Alluri Sitarama Raju Academy of Medical Sciences in India. Results from both trials combined are reported in the June issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food, while results from just the second of the two trials appears in the May issue of the journal Obesity.
Data analysis and study communication was led by Judith Stern, distinguished professor of nutrition and internal medicine at UC Davis.
“The results from our study are promising, and we did not see significant side effects with this supplement extract,” Stern said. “This was a short-term study, and we don’t know what happens in the long run; along with a diet and exercise program, the results may be even greater,” she said.
Stern noted that study results indicate that the herbal supplement may cause these positive effects by interfering with the formation and storage of fatty compounds in the body.
The two studies included a total of 95 subjects, many of whom were considered obese according to their body mass index—a measurement based on a person’s weight and height and used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.
During each clinical trial, participants in the test group received twice daily a 400-mg capsule containing the herbal mix. That mix was made from extracts of the aromatic annual plant Sphaeranthus indicus, a member of the aster and daisy family, and the rind of the tropical fruit Garcinia mangostana, commonly called mangosteen. Both plants have long been valued as having medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine—an ancient system of medicine that originated in India.
Participants in the control group for the two trials received placebo capsules rather than the herbal supplement. All participants in the study also were provided with three meals totaling 2,000 kcal per day, and each of the participants walked for 30 minutes five days per week.
At the end of each eight-week trial, the researchers found that participants who had taken the herbal supplement lost significantly more weight than did the control-group participants, who had not taken the supplement.
In the combined clinical outcomes reported in the Journal of Medicinal Food, the test-group participants with the supplement had lost an average of 5.2 kg (11 lbs. 7 oz.) by the end of eight weeks compared to the control group participants’ loss of an average of 1.5 kg (3 lbs. 5 oz.) The supplemented group also had an average decrease in waist circumference of 11.9 cm (about 4.75 inches) compared to the control group’s average decrease in waist circumference of 6 cm (about 2.5 inches).
In the clinical trial published in the journal Obesity, participants taking the supplement lost an average of 5.1 kg (11 lbs. 3 oz.) compared to the control group’s loss of an average of 1.3 kg (2 lbs. 15 oz.). The supplemented group also had an average decrease in waist circumference of 11.8 cm (4.5 inches) compared to the control group’s average decrease in waist circumference of 6.4 cm (about 2.5 inches).
The researchers also noted that in both clinical trials, the study participants receiving the herbal supplement experienced significant reduction in their blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Consumption of the herbal supplement did not to appear to be linked to any negative health effects in any either clinical study, the researchers said.
More about weight loss recent news:
The new weight loss drug lorcaserin (Belviq) appears to improve blood sugar control in nondiabetic, overweight individuals, independent of the amount of weight they lose, a new study finds. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
Lorcaserin activates a serotonin receptor(5HT2C) in the brain believed to decrease appetite and promote a sense of fullness, thus encouraging decreased food consumption, said the study’s principal investigator, Louis Aronne, MD, professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City.
“This analysis supports the possible role that the drug’s serotonin receptor activation may play in regulating glucose [blood sugar] metabolism,” Aronne said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administrationapproved lorcaserin last June as an add-on treatment to diet and exercise for long-term weight management in adults who are obese (body mass index, or BMI, greater than 30 kg/m2), or overweight (BMI of 27 or greater) with at least one weight-related health complication.
Aronne’s study was a pooled analysis of two previously published clinical trials that together included more than 6,300 overweight or obese, nondiabetic patients. These trials compared the effects of lifestyle changes—diet and exercise—combined with either lorcaserin treatment or a placebo (dummy pill).
The new study received funding from San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals, the maker of lorcaserin, and from Eisai in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
As a group, the 3,195 patients treated with lorcaserin tablets lost twice as much weight after one year of treatment and lifestyle changes than the 3,185 patients in the placebo group did: an average of 12.8 pounds versus 5.6 pounds, the study authors reported. However, even when lorcaserin-treated patients and placebo-treated patients lost the same amount of weight, those receiving lorcaserin had a greater average decrease (improvement) in their hemoglobin A1c level than the other group did, Aronne said. Hemoglobin A1c is a measure of long-term glycemic (blood sugar) control.
“More than just weight loss alone may explain the significant improvement in glycemic control associated with lorcaserin,” Aronne said.
Fasting blood sugar levels also were better after one year in the lorcaserin group, which had an average decrease since the study started of 0.23 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), according to the abstract. In the placebo group, fasting blood sugar levels rose 0.60 mg/dL in the same period.
In a separate study not included in this analysis, lorcaserin also demonstrated improved blood glucose measures in patients with type 2 diabetes, Aronne said.
The two earlier studies included in the new analysis were the BLOOM (Behavioral modification and Lorcaserin for Overweight and Obesity Management) Study and BLOSSOM (Behavioral modification and Lorcaserin Second Study for Overweight and Obesity Management). The pooled data confirmed the independent findings of BLOOM and BLOSSOM, Aronne said.