Tried-and-true ingredients the key to the 2012 weight loss category

Tried-and-true ingredients the key to the 2012 weight loss category

Many Americans have simply given up on weight loss—sales of diet pills suffered double-digit drops last year—apparently figuring it’s easier to just move up a size. We survey the ingredient landscape for signs of scientific life to give the category its groove back.  

The weight-loss segment seems to yo-yo with the same frustrating frequency as many of the dieters using the products. A promising new ingredient comes out with exciting claims, consumers buy it up in droves, weight is lost and money rolls in. Then come the reports of health risks, maybe even deaths, attributed to the ingredient. Suddenly the boom busts and consumers change their buying patterns out of fear and mistrust.

“Reputability, efficacy and safety are bigger issues in this category than any other,” said Juliana Erickson, marketing manager for InterHealth Nutraceuticals, supplier of Super CitriMax as well as Meratrim. “Wild claims combined with negative media coverage have made many consumers wary.”

But according to Scott Steil, president of Nutra Bridge and sales manager for category heavyweight 7-Keto, the more suspect ingredients that get pulled off the market, the better it is for those that have the research to back up their efficacy and safety. “What we’re seeing right now is that everything old is new again. For the most part the active ingredient in most new products is something that’s been around, that has clinical trials behind it, is pre-DSHEA, or has an NDI or GRAS status,” explained Steil.

Tried-and-true thermogenics

Super CitriMax has been around the block. It took a significant hit when Hydroxycut was forced to reformulate, but has since achieved GRAS status. “It’s highly soluble and tasteless, odorless and colorless, making it an excellent choice for inclusion in a wide variety of beverages,” says Erickson.

Super CitriMax is a calcium-potassium salt of hydroxycitric acid (HCA-SX) derived from Garcinia cambogia. One clinical trial showed that when taken at a daily dose of 4,667 mg (providing 2,800 mg HCA per day) in combination with a 2,000 kcal diet/day and a 30 min/day, 5 day/week walking program, subjects’ body weight and BMI decreased by 5.4 percent, low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides levels were reduced by 12.9 percent, and urinary excretion of fat metabolites increased by 32-109 percent in an eight-week period.1 No significant adverse effects were observed.

Advantra-Z from Nutratech is an extract of bitter orange, or Citrus aurantium. There is a certain amount of controversy surrounding C. aurantium’s cardiovascular side effects, what with its similarity to the banned ephedra. The dominant alkaloid amine in Advantra-Z, p-synephrine, binds to beta-3 adrenergic receptors that trigger lipolysis—the process by which fat stored in cells is broken down. P-synephrine has some structural similarities to ephedrine, but with markedly different receptor-binding properties.2 Because of its similarities to ephedra, it has gained traction as a bona fide weight-management ingredient. Importantly, studies show that p-synephrine exhibits little or no binding to alpha- and beta-1 and beta-2 adrenergic receptors, which are associated with increases in heart rate and blood pressure.3,4

In a published 2011 study, 23 mildly overweight Americans were given a formula containing 13 mg p-synephrine, 176 mg guarana (a caffeine source), 55 mg green tea, and small amounts of bee pollen, white willow bark, ginseng, Garcinia cambogia and vanadium. No effects were noted on heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure or mean arterial pressure. The researchers concluded that the formulation did not increase cardiovascular stress, and, while not a primary endpoint in this study that was mostly about safety, did increase fat oxidation in some subjects.2

7-Keto (Humanetics) is a non-stimulant thermogenic ingredient that helps boost the resting metabolism that usually falls off when people cut calories while dieting. Our levels of this naturally occurring, fat-burning enzyme drop as we age—a 50 percent loss by age 40, says Steil. When combined with diet and exercise, subjects taking 7-Keto experienced a 3-fold increase in weight loss compared to participants using diet and exercise alone.5

One recent hit against 7-Keto comes from across the pond, where the Brits—mindful of the London Olympics being held in June—put restrictions on the sale of 7-Keto by following up with the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to put the ingredient on the banned list.

“WADA likened 7-Keto to anabolic steroids,” said New York attorney Rick Collins. “They classified it as a Schedule 4 substance—it can be prescribed by a doctor but not sold over-the-counter. It’s not good news for 7-Keto.”

“We show no anabolic effect, no hormonal effects, in one or two 7-Keto studies,” says researcher Douglas Kalman of Miami Research Associates.

While the UK and WADA decision does not have any practical effect of the ingredient’s sale or availability in the US, it doesn’t help, either.

[Collins and Kalman will be luminaries in the Food-Supp-Drug Convergence track at the Nutracon conference, March 7-8, in Anaheim, CA, on the front end of Natural Products Expo West/Engredea.]

Fucoxanthin, derived from brown seaweed, is a relative newcomer to the weight-loss scene, but has already made its way into formulations from Garden of Life, Solaray and Life Extension. This carotenoid has shown promising results in numerous animal studies as a thermogenic agent in reducing body weight and particularly abdominal fat in obese mice.6,7

Human clinical trials with Xanthigen (a branded ingredient combining fucoxanthin and pomegranate oil) have resulted in statistically significant reduction of body weight, waist circumference, body and liver fat content, liver enzymes, serum triglycerides and C-reactive protein in the obese women studied.8

African mango (Irvingia gabonensis), grown in Cameroon on the west coast of Africa, actually began its rise with a 2009 study published in Lipids in Health and Disease by Cameroon researchers.9 This was the first double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trial. The 10-week study on 102 overweight people (BMI >25) showed 150 mg twice daily 30-60 minutes before meals led to significant improvements in body weight, body fat, and waist circumference as well as cholesterol and blood-sugar levels. A follow-up rat study, by the same researchers, published in the March 2011 issue of the same publication showed significant increases in HDL (good) cholesterol.10

Carb control

Phase 2 (Pharmachem), a white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) extract, earned self-affirmed GRAS status in March of 2007. One clinical trial shows that when combined with a carbohydrate-rich, 2,000- to 2,200-calorie diet, subjects had significantly greater reduction of body weight, BMI, fat mass, adipose tissue thickness, and waist/hip/thigh circumferences while maintaining lean body mass compared to subjects receiving placebo.11 Another in vivo study in which eleven fasting subjects were given 4 slices of white bread and 42 g of margarine with or without 1.5 g of bean extract showed inhibited absorption by 66 percent as measured by the area under the plasma glucose-time curve.12

InSea2, formulated from concentrated polyphenols from two types of brown seaweed, slows down the action of the enzymes that break down carbohydrates and sugars. The results of a recent clinical study presented at the Experimental Biology meeting and submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal, revealed a significant decrease in blood glucose and insulin responses following a high carbohydrate meal.13 The study also showed improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Appending appetite

Slimaluma (Gencor Pacific), a standardized extract of Caralluma fimbriata, has produced statistically significant results reducing appetite, waist and hip circumference, as well as BMI and body fat in two human clinical trials.14,15 This edible succulent was used for centuries in India as an appetite suppressant in times of famine. Its concentrated form, extracted and supplied by Gencor Pacific, has achieved self-affirmed GRAS status.

Oliggo-Fiber brand inulin (Cargill) is an inulin-oligofructose combination offering the benefits of prebiotics, fiber, and low-calorie sweetening to functional foods. “Food and supplement products that contain significant amounts of prebiotic fiber can promote a feeling of satiety without adding calories,” according to Kerry Watson, certified nutrition consultant and manager of the product library for SPINS, a Schaumburg, Ill.-based market research company for the natural products industry.

“Clinical studies have linked inulin and oligofructose, as prebiotics, to a range of whole-body benefits that extend over a lifetime,” said Joseph O’Neill, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Beneo-Orafti in North America. “By boosting levels of beneficial bifidobacteria in the colon, they can enhance digestive health, function and immunity, and exert positive effects on bone health through improved calcium absorption. They also help maintain healthy body weight in both adolescents and adults.”

Select weight management suppliers

Fibersol-2 digestion-resistant maltodextrin is a highly-soluble fiber, licensed in North America from Matsutani. It is stable, has low viscosity, is transparent in solution and adds virtually no flavor.

AHD International
LuraLean condensed, water-soluble fiber promotes weight loss. The GRAS ingredient can be used in bars, breads, cookies, crackers and frozen foods.

Orafti brand inulin and oligofructose. Its moderately sweet taste makes oligiofructose a natural sugar replacer, while inulin has GI-lowering and prebiotic properties.

VitaSugar is a prebiotic fiber sweetener that works well with high-intensity sweeteners and is  pH stable for acidic beverages.

Xtend sucromalt and isomaltulose are low-glycemic, natural liquid sweeteners. OliggoFiber prebiotic inulin fiber can be added to most foods and drinks. Barliv is a barley beta-glucan extract that helps promote healthy blood-sugar levels.

Litesse polydextrose is a soluble prebiotic fiber sweetener low in calories. Fibrex, or sugar beet fiber, has a unique composition of both soluble and insoluble fibers. It is gluten-free.

Fabuless is a patented oil-in-water emulsion that can be incorporated into dairy or supplements. It is a mixture of palm oil and oat oil that triggers the natural appetite-control mechanism. Teavigo is natural green tea catechin EGCG with a purity of a minimum of 94 percent on dry basis. InsuVital hydrolyzed casein stimulates secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Available as a powder, it can be used in foods and beverages.

Fenulife is a concentrate of the beneficial galactomannans in fenugreek used for supplements. By regulating sugar absorption, it turns fast carbs into slow carbs.

Gencor Pacific Group
Slimaluma brand Caralluma fimbriata extract is for supplements, an edible succulent used for centuries in India as an appetite suppressant.

Humanetics Corp
7-Keto DHEA plays a role in up-regulating key thermogenic enzymes in the body, enhancing resting metabolic rate.

Zychome brand chromium dinicocysteinate is a unique, patent-pending, next generation chromium complex. This revolutionary new form of chromium has been clinically shown to be safe and effective for enhancing metabolic parameters for insulin management. ChromeMate is a niacin-bound chromium compound that reduces insulin sensitivity. Super Citrimax, a Garcinia cambogia extract, targets weight and insulin.

Kemin Health
Slendesta is a GRAS, all natural, clinically-backed ingredient derived from potatoes that is used for satiety applications in a variety of food categories.

National Starch
Nutriose soluble prebiotic fiber is suitable for beverages, dairy and sauces. It adds texture and body to reduced-sugar and reduced-fat recipes.

Advantra Z brand Citrus aurantium stimulates thermogenesis, reduces weight, increases ratio of lean-muscle mass to total body mass and suppresses appetite.

Nutraceuticals International
FucoPure 10 percent is a thermogenic ingredient used to target belly fat. It’s a highly-concentrated form of fucoxanthin extracted to reduce levels of heavy metals and iodine content commonly found in Wakame seaweed.

Phase 2 starch blocker for supplements and StarchLite for food applications is a proprietary white-bean extract. It reduces GI of white bread when added to recipes. Phase 2 is a patented extract of Phaseolus vulgaris, the white bean plant.

ForsLean is a patented extract derived from Coleus forskohlii roots, and the only known plant source of forskolin, a natural compound that has been shown to increase lean body mass. GarCitrin is a patented ingredient combining a standardized extract obtained from the dried fruit rinds of Garcinia cambogia with hydroxycitric acid.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.