As a nation we have been gradually getting more and more overweight, to the point where in the last 10 years the number of overweight people has actually doubled. Worse still, 12 million people in England alone are predicted to be obese by 2010.
While diet and lifestyle changes are the obvious first ports of call in any weight management programme, sometimes a little extra help may be necessary.
This is where a new plant-based product called Slimaluma which contains a cactus-like herb called Caralluma fimbriata from the Asclepiadaceae family comes in. It has been clinically proven to stave off hunger and benefit those trying to shed a few pounds.
For centuries Caralluma fimbriata has been grown as a vegetable in arid and semi-arid areas of India, where it is eaten cooked with spices or made into chutneys and pickles. In Wealth of India, the Indian Health Ministrys comprehensive compilation on medicinal plants, Caralluma fimbriata is listed as a vegetable and famine food because it functions as an appetite suppressant in drought-hit villages across the sub-continent.
It is also traditionally used in India by tribals for its appetite-suppression and thirst- quenching effects. These tribals make their living as hunters, wood collectors, plant collectors and foragers and are out in the forests for sometimes up to two or three days at a time. They do not carry any food with them, but chew on the fleshy aerial parts of Caralluma fimbriata when they feel hungry or thirsty, which grows wild. This sustains them and banishes hunger.
Aware of its appetite-suppressing effects, researchers were keen to investigate the active components in Caralluma fimbriata to determine its modes of action. They discovered that the plant reduces hunger by interfering with an appetite control mechanism in the brain.
Promotes weight loss by reducing your appetite and preventing the formation of new fat cells
In response to the smell and taste of food, hormones are secreted in your stomach and intestines which stimulate appetite. These hormones send signals to the hypothalamus the part of your brain that controls appetite. When you are full the hypothalamus then sends other signals giving you a sense of being satisfied, and so you stop eating.
Compounds in Caralluma fimbriata called pregnane glycosides appear to interfere with this signalling system by creating a signal of their own. This fools the brain into thinking that the stomach is full, even when a person has not eaten. Consequently, taking the herb before meals curbs your appetite, resulting in the need for less food.
In addition to its appetite-suppressing effects, scientists have found that Caralluma fimbriata reduces fat synthesis by inhibiting adipocyte formation. Adipocytes are cells that store fat. New fat cells are formed as pre-adipocytes, which then divide to form adipocytes. Caralluma fimbriata is a potent inhibitor of this cell division, reducing the number of new fat cells formed. This helps decrease fat synthesis, making it easier for your body to burn off existing fat.
Slimaluma can help you lose up to nine pounds in just four weeks
To date, two independent clinical trials have been carried out involving Caralluma fimbriata, which used Slimaluma a standardised extract of the plant that has been developed to contain the full spectrum of active components from the herb in 500mg capsules.
The first trial, a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study, was carried out in India over a two-month period. Fifty participants received either one capsule of Slimaluma or a placebo, one hour before their main meals. During the trial those taking the appetite suppressant noticed a 19.7 per cent decrease in hunger levels, while those taking the placebo did not experience any drop in hunger levels.
At the end of the study the results showed statistically significant differences in body weight, waist circumference, body fat, blood pressure and hunger levels. The weight loss in the Slimaluma group accounted to 4.27 Ibs compared with 2.48 Ibs in the placebo group, while waist circumference in the treated group was reduced by 1.09 inches compared to 0.54 inches in the placebo group. The study also showed that the participants on Slimaluma made healthier food choices, rather than being dictated by cravings.
The second study, which was carried out in the US, followed the same double-blind format used in the earlier study . Twenty-six people were recruited: 19 of whom received the active compound and 7 the placebo. One patient from each category dropped out. Participants were instructed not to change their daily exercise regime, or their food intake.
After four weeks almost all of the participant taking Slimaluma lost weight. Eleven participants lost about six pounds. The highest loss was nine pounds. Thirteen out of 18 participants reduced their waist circumference by 0.5 inches to three inches, while 5 out of 18 participants reported an increase in energy levels while on the active substance. There was almost no weight loss experienced by those taking the placebo.
Researchers from both clinical trials concluded that in addition to Slimalumas (Caralluma fimbriata) ability to induce appetite suppression, it has an overall fat-reducing effect as well by inhibiting the formation of new fat cells.
Further studies on Slimaluma are now underway to explore its mechanisms of action in more detail. This research should be completed by the latter part of 2007, and HSI promises to keep you fully updated on the findings as soon as they become available.
What to take for best results
The recommended dosage for Slimaluma is two 500mg capsule taken 45 minutes before lunch and evening meals. Research has shown that Slimaluma is safe and non-toxic when taken at the suggested dose.
1.Paola Zaninotto, Heather Wardle, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Jennifer Mindell and Jenny Head. Forecasting Obesity to 2010, prepared for the Department of Health. Joint Health Surveys Unit (National Centre for Social Research and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Royal Free and University College Medical School. Aug 06.
2.Kuriyan.R., et al. Effect of Caralluma Fimbriata Extract on appetite, food intake and anthropometry in adult Indian men and women. Appetite, Nov 06.
3.Ronald M Lawrence and Suneeta Choudhary. Caralluma Fimbriata in the Treatment of Obesity. 12th Annual World Congress of Anti-Aging Medicine, December 2004, Las Vegas, USA.