Natural Products Insider

JAN-FEB 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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6 INSIDER January/February 2018 More than two-thirds of adults and almost one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese. 1 Exercise and dieting typically start with a New Year's Resolution, but often do not last for long. Customers are instead seeking a more acceptable and manageable alternative. Several ingredients are effective in potentially reducing body weight and waist circumference, according to clinical trials. Since the mechanisms of action are established, suitable biological assays can validate the effi cacy of an ingredient coming from different suppliers. On the contrary, other ingredients marketed for weight management (including beta-glucans, calcium, capsaicin, guar gum, hoodia, vitamin D or yohimbine, among others) were ineffective in reducing body weight in clinical trials. 2 Caffeine can be used as an additive to other ingredients in weight management supplements or may be present naturally in herbal products. A clinical trial with overweight or obese participants demonstrated signifi cant weight reduction and fat reduction (mean weight loss 5.3 kg), compared to a placebo group (2.6 kg) with a supplement containing caffeine and ephedrine. 3 The bioassays validating the activity of caffeine might utilize the inhibition of fat accumulation in fat cells. In addition to the activity of caffeine, weight loss is caused by major ingredients in the green coffee bean, such as chlorogenic acids. Chlorogenic acids regulate the differentiation of fat cells. A clinical trial demonstrated green coffee extract moderately, but signifi cantly, reduced body weight and fat accumulation (mean weight loss of 2.47 kg more than placebo) in overweight subjects. 4 Bioassays evaluating the activity of green coffee bean extract employed hypolipidemic effects in fat cells. The active components of green tea associated with weight management are catechins, primarily epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and caffeine. A meta-analysis of several randomized, controlled trials found a combination of EGCG with caffeine for 12 to 13 weeks resulted in mean reduction of 1.31 kg of body weight compared to control groups. 5 Since green tea extracts contain dissimilar amounts of EGCG and catechins, bioassays evaluating their effi cacy need to be used. African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) is a fruit seed extract that has decreased body weight, waist circumference and body fat percentage in clinical trials. Three trials reported a statistically signifi cant reduction in body weight compared with placebo (12.8 kg versus 0.7 kg; 4.1 kg versus 0.1 kg; 11.9 kg versus 2.1 kg). 6 This weight loss effect was probably induced by inhibiting adipogenesis. The activity of African mango seed extract might use a bioassay evaluating the differentiation of fat cells. Extracts of a white kidney bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) are used as active compounds in several weight management dietary supplements. They are marketed as carbohydrate- or starch-absorption blockers. One randomized, double-blind clinical trial with mildly overweight women demonstrated dried aqueous extract of Phaseolus vulgaris signifi cantly reduced body weight (with a mean weight loss of 2.93 kg) when compared to placebo (mean weight loss of 0.35 kg). 7 Another recent trial with overweight and obese men and women showed Phaseolus vulgaris also signifi cantly reduced body weight and body fat. 8 The weight management activity of white kidney bean extract is caused by an alpha-amylase inhibitor. Therefore, a bioassay evaluating alpha-amylase will validate the activity of specifi c Phaseolus vulgaris extracts. Other dietary supplements, including chitosan, chromium, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) or pyruvate, demonstrated only minimal, clinically insignifi cant effects on body weight. Clinical trials may substantiate effi cacy claims of extracts on the weight management dietary supplement label. However, the proper validation of effi cacy must be performed. Chemical analysis of an extract is usually focused on the identifi cation of the main compound(s), which is important for the characterization of the extract, while effi cacy (biological activity) depends on the full composition of the extract. Origin of the starting extraction material, cultivating conditions, and storage and extraction procedures will impact the quality corresponding to the effi cacy of the specifi c extract. Since these conditions are different among producers, the extracts of the "same" chemically analyzed compound(s) will have dissimilar effi cacy. DSTest Labs recently evaluated several green tea extracts containing high amounts of EGCG and other catechins for their effi cacy. Not surprisingly, some of the extracts had miniscule biological activity, whereas others demonstrated strong effi ciency in the bioassay. Obviously, the best high-quality weight management supplements containing truthful label claims must contain highly effi cient extracts. In other words, only proper testing will get rid of the "fake" dietary supplements in the industry. Daniel Sliva, Ph.D., CEO & founder, DSTest Labs (, is a senior investigator at Indiana University Health, and an adjunct associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He has master's degrees in food and biochemical technology, as well as biochemistry, and a doctoral degree in molecular biology and genetics. He founded DSTest Laboratories at Purdue Research Park in 2014 for evaluating and standardizing effi cacy of ingredients, nutraceuticals and dietary supplements. Supplements: Weight Management According to clinical trials, several ingredients are effective in potentially reducing body weight and waist circumference. Ingredients from different sources often contain varying degrees of active constituents; bioassays can help evaluate desired potency. Caffeine, green coffee bean, green tea, African mango and white kidney bean are popular in weight management applications. Weight Management With Verified Dietary Supplements by Daniel Sliva INSIDER's Take For a list of references, email

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