Why You Want Evidence Based Weight Loss Supplements
Whether you’re new to the weight-loss journey or you’re an experienced pro, you’ve likely come across a wide variety of weight-loss solutions. Special diets from drastically low calorie to low carb. Workouts ranging from daily walks to hardcore programs. And, of course, pharmaceuticals as well as supplements. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which ones work the best—or at least best for you. Let’s take supplements, for example. What are the top 5 evidence-based natural weight-loss supplements?
Before we dive into the evidence, let’s address the elephant in the room. A lot of people, programs, diets, manufacturers, etc. make big promises to entice you to purchase their products. Claims like:
- Lose 30 pounds in a month!
- Lose up to 1 pound a day!
- Get a gym body… without going to the gym!
- Clinically proven to reduce your waist by up to 1 inch in 2 weeks.
- Trim 1.5 inches from your thighs in just 4 weeks!
- And so many others….
Look for Facts, Not Hype
I’m sure you’ve seen some claims that have made you curious as well as cautious or even skeptical.
Yet the fact is, even the best diet, program, or supplement only works if you do. That is, if you put in the effort to change your lifestyle for the long term. If you are consistent when it comes to following a healthy, mostly whole food diet, ensuring you move your body regularly, and only then adding supplements as directed.
In other words, no matter how effective or how much evidence is available on the supplement, if you don’t follow a well-balanced program that includes consuming a healthy diet with less calories coming in than going out, then your chances of getting the weight-loss results you so desire are slim.
That being said, there are supplements that can give you a helping hand and put the odds more in your favor. Some supplements, for example, can help by:
- Reducing appetite, so you eat fewer calories
- Boosting thermogenesis, so you burn more calories
- Cutting cravings, so you can more easily avoid temptation
- Supporting metabolic hormones
- Limiting the absorption of calories
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at the top 5 evidence-based natural weight loss supplements.
5 Evidence Based Natural Weight Loss Supplements
#1: Irvingia gabonensis (aka African Mango or IGOB-131)
One of the top evidence based natural weight loss supplements has to be Irvingia gabonensis.
This compound is derived from the seed kernel of the African Mango, which is a culinary staple in parts of West Africa. In research, Irvingia gabonensis was shown to help participants control appetite by increasing satiety. It was also found to enhance thermogenesis and support normal range blood sugar levels. In studies, it helped participants lose both body weight and body fat.
Irvingia gabonesis appears to work by three main chemicals in the body: leptin, adiponectin, and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. These chemicals signal the release of triglycerides from fat cells and regulate fat production.
Leptin is a key hormone in the regulation of appetite, bodyfat storage, and weight loss. Uniquely, Irvingia gabonesis helps enhance leptin function by decreasing C-reactive protein and reducing leptin resistance.
Because of leptin’s role in the body to turn off hunger, researchers originally thought weight loss would be as simple as increasing leptin levels. Unfortunately, they soon discovered that overweight people already have plenty of leptin in their bodies. However, they are not receiving the signal to control appetite and metabolism. This condition is called “leptin resistance.” Enhancing leptin function is a key to being able to successfully manage weight.
Other Health Benefits
In addition, Irvingia gabonensis may improve insulin sensitivity by upregulating the expression of adiponectin. When high levels of adiponectin circulate, research has found improved cardiovascular health, lower body weight, along with lower body fat.
One 10-week study gave 102 overweight/obese healthy participants Irvingia gabonesis 30 to 60 minutes before lunch and dinner. The participants who used Irvingia gabonensis experienced significant improvements in not only weight but body fat, waist circumference, fasting blood sugar, and blood fat levels. In fact, the participants lost an average of 28 pounds, 6.7 inches off their waists, and reduced bodyfat by 18.4%.
In short, Irvingia gabonensis extract may help:
- Promote weight loss, especially around the belly
- Correct leptin resistance
- Reduce the pro inflammatory cytokine markers
- Lower blood sugar and blood fat levels 1, 2
#2: Dichrostachys glomerate (aka DYG-400-P or Dyglomera)
Another one of the 5 evidenced-based natural weight-loss supplements is the patented extract of Dichrostachys glomerate. It comes from a dried fruit pod that’s commonly used as a traditional spice in Cameroon. It’s believed to work by increasing levels of adiponectin while decreasing C-reactive protein. It may also improve insulin sensitivity and blood fat levels.
In one 8-week, double-blind, placebo-control study with 318 obese participants, subjects lost an average of 24.5 pounds and nearly 11% body fat. In addition, they reduced waist and hip circumference by over 7% using 200 mg twice daily (before lunch and dinner).
Research indicates Dichrostachys glomerate may help:
- Assist in healthy weight management
- Promote the reduction of hip and waist circumference
- Correct insulin resistance and normalize blood sugar and insulin levels
- Enhance leptin function and regulate and balance metabolic function
- Support normal range blood fats including LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol (while increasing HDL)
- Support a healthy inflammatory response
- Address metabolic syndrome to reduce body fat
#3: CQR-300 Cissus quandrangularis
Though it has a long history as both an edible vegetable and for medicinal applications, Cissus quandrangularis has only recently been investigated for its effects on weight and metabolic function. 7 There have been only a few small human studies demonstrating these effects, but they are promising.
In the first 10-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers gave 48 participants 150 mg 2 times daily before meals. Not only did participants reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels but they also experienced reduced waist (by 3.4 inches), weight (by 8.7 kg or over 19 pounds), and body fat (by 14.6%). 8
The second study, of the same quality, involved 64 subjects over 6 weeks. They saw similar reductions in weight (a drop of over 10 pounds) and total cholesterol. Yet they also experienced reductions in triglycerides. Participants also saw an increase in serotonin levels. This is significant as this neurotransmitter is associated with improved mood as well as satiety. 9
Researchers believe Cissus quandrangularis is effective as it helps limit the number of calories that enter the bloodstream after a meal. It appears to do this by helping block the activity of the fat-digesting enzyme lipase. In addition, it may block alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase, which are enzymes that break down starch and starch-derived sugar from the carbohydrates we ingest.
Additional Health Benefits of Cissus Quandragularis
Impressively, Cissus quandrangularis may also help reduce stress or emotional eating due to its potential effects on serotonin. Because Cissus quandrangularis may help increase levels of serotonin levels naturally, many users also enjoy enhanced emotional well-being, which may help decrease emotional eating and promote satiety.
In summary, research indicates Cissus quandrangularis may help:
- Promote effective weight loss and management
- Enhance feelings of fullness and satiety
- Control appetite, including when due to stress or emotion
- Boost metabolic rate and support metabolic wellness
- Promote thermogenesis
- Promote a more positive mood and well-being
- Alleviate stress and tension
- Promote feeling calm and relaxed
- Support cardio functioning
- Help support normal range cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Support a healthy response to inflammation
- Provide antioxidant protection
- Enhance energy levels and reduce fatigue
Capsaicin is the chemical found in chili peppers that provides the heat! Research shows it may help curb appetite, speed metabolism, and help you burn calories, promoting vascular and metabolic health. 10
When you consume capsaicin (from either a hot pepper or a supplement), it can help your temperature rise as your body tries to cool down. This means your body is burning more calories. 11
Research indicates capsaicin may help:
- Decrease appetite
- Reduce food cravings and decrease preoccupation with food
- Decrease the desire to eat fatty, salty, and sweet foods, especially short-term
- Boost metabolism
- Burn more calories
- Provide gastrointestinal benefits
Capsaicin, however, may not be for everyone. It can cause skin irritation, heartburn, and stomach irritation for some individuals. So, start with lower amounts to see how you react. It’s also not recommended for people who are preparing for surgery, are taking certain medications, or pregnant or breastfeeding.
#5: Green Tea Extract
If you’re searching for the healthiest beverage you can find, green tea may just be it. It’s loaded with numerous plant compounds that may help benefit health, including a potent dose of antioxidants. And it may also help increase fat burning to promote weight loss.
The caffeine found in green tea, for example, provides a mild boost to metabolism rate. According to research, caffeine may support fat burning and improve exercise performance. In addition to caffeine, green tea also provides epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may support metabolism. And it may also help with the breakdown of fat.
According to research, green tea may help increase fat burning, both during exercise and at rest. 12 One study, for example, found an increase in fat burned by 17% while also improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. 13
Other research has found that green tea extract may boost the metabolism by three to eight percent. In other words, it may allow you to burn more calories even when at rest. 14 And one 3-month study with 60 obese participants found that those who used a green tea extract lost 7.3 pounds more and burned 183 more calories per day over those who used a placebo. 15
Research indicates green tea extract may help:
- Increase energy levels
- Boost metabolism
- Mobilize fat from fat cells to be burned as energy
- Increase fat burning, especially belly fat
- Reduce appetite
- Boost exercise performance
- Provide tons of antioxidants, including catechins
Other Evidenced Based Natural Weight Loss Supplements
Now that we’ve reviewed the top 5 evidence based natural weight loss supplements, are there any others that are backed by research? Some to look at include:
You find caffeine in coffee, tea, and soft drinks and often in weight-loss supplements as it may help reduce weight, BMI, and body fat. 16 Unfortunately, it can also come with side effects like nervousness, jitteriness, heart rate increases, and interfere with sleep. 17
Glucomannan—a type of fiber that can help people feel fuller, so they eat less. Unfortunately, some research has found that it may not lead to significant weight loss. 18 And it can also cause increased gas, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Meratrim—another stimulant-free option that’s claimed to decrease the amount of fat picked up in the bloodstream as well as helping burn stored fat. One study with 100 obese people put on a calorie-restricted diet found that those in the Meratrim group lost an average of 11 pounds and 4.7 inches off their waists over eight weeks. 19
CLA, another popular weight-loss supplement, stands for conjugated linoleic acid. Found in beef and dairy products, CLA also appears in supplements. It may help reduce appetite, boost metabolism, and promote the breakdown of bodyfat. 20 One review study found it may help people lose around three pounds more than if they just used a placebo. 21
Melatonin helps aid quality sleep, there’s also evidence melatonin may support weight loss. Research suggests melatonin increases metabolism, promote weight loss, and help protect muscle tissue. 22 It also helps keep leptin levels balanced, which can help control cravings for long-term weight-loss success.
The Bottom Line: 5 Evidence Based Weight Loss Supplements
Every person and every body responds differently. What works for one person may or may not work the same (or better) for someone else. Whichever exercise program, nutrition plan, or supplement you decide to use takes time to work. There are no overnight solutions. And while you may lose some weight in the first few weeks, you may also need to give it more time to become fully effective.
We all know people who have started a program and followed it to a T who drastically changed their bodies in less time than believed possible. We’ve also watched people follow the exact same program who didn’t see any changes until six or eight weeks after they began.
Even with evidence based weight loss supplements, you may be a fast responder. Or your body takes longer to adapt to the changes before you see the results you’re looking for. There are no guarantees on how fast you will see success. Fortunately, though, if you do put in the effort and combine healthy eating with moving your body and then adding evidenced-based natural weight-loss supplements, you can and will start to see results.
Just know that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are evidence based supplements that can help you lose weight, but there are no magic bullets.
1. Ngondi JL, Etoundi BC, Nyangono CB, Mbofung CM, Oben JE. IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2009 Dec 1;8(1):7.
2. Ngondi JL, Oben JE, Minka SR. The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2005 Dec;4(1):12.
3. Kuate D, Kengne AP, Dakam W, Etoundi BC, Paka GD, Ngondi JL, Oben JE. Effectiveness of Dichrostachys glomerata spice phenolics in reduction of oxidative stress associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes; a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Food Research. 2013 Apr 1;2(2):1.
4. Kuate D, Etoundi BC, Soukontoua YB, Ngondi JL, Oben JE. Antioxidant characteristics of Dichrostachys glomerata spice extracts Características antioxidantes de los extractos de la especia Dichrostachys glomerata. CyTA–Journal of Food. 2010 May 1;8(1):23-37.
5. Kuate D, Etoundi BC, Ngondi JL, Oben JE. Effects of Dichrostachys glomerata spice on cardiovascular diseases risk factors in normoglycemic and type 2 diabetic obese volunteers. Food Research International. 2011 Jun 1;44(5):1197-202.
6. Kuate D, Etoundi BC, Ngondi JL, Muda W, Oben JE. Anti-inflammatory, anthropometric and lipomodulatory effects Dyglomera® (aqueous extract of Dichrostachys glomerata) in obese patients with metabolic syndrome. Functional Foods in Health and Disease. 2013 Nov 18;3(11):416-27.
7. Oben J, Kuate D, Agbor G, Momo C, Talla X. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis formulation in the management of weight loss and metabolic syndrome. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2006 Dec 1;5(1):24.
8. Oben JE, Ngondi JL, Momo CN, Agbor GA, Sobgui CS. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2008 Dec;7(1):12.
9. Oben JE, Enyegue DM, Fomekong GI, Soukontoua YB, Agbor GA. The effect of Cissus quadrangularis (CQR-300) and a Cissus formulation (CORE) on obesity and obesity-induced oxidative stress. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2007 Dec 1;6(1):4.
10. McCarty MF, DiNicolantonio JJ, O’keefe JH. Capsaicin may have important potential for promoting vascular and metabolic health. Open Heart. 2015 Jun 1;2(1):e000262.
11. Ludy MJ, Mattes RD. The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite. Physiology & Behavior. 2011 Mar 1;102(3-4):251-8.
12. Ota N, Soga S, Shimotoyodome A, Haramizu S, Inaba M, Murase T, Tokimitsu I. Effects of combination of regular exercise and tea catechins intake on energy expenditure in humans. Journal of Health Science. 2005;51(2):233-6.
13. Venables MC, Hulston CJ, Cox HR, Jeukendrup AE. Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008 Mar 1;87(3):778-84.
14. Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, Girardier L, Mensi N, Fathi M, Chantre P, Vandermander J. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1999 Dec 1;70(6):1040-5.
15. Auvichayapat P, Prapochanung M, Tunkamnerdthai O, Sripanidkulchai BO, Auvichayapat N, Thinkhamrop B, Kunhasura S, Wongpratoom S, Sinawat S, Hongprapas P. Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial. Physiology & Behavior. 2008 Feb 27;93(3):486-91.
16. Tabrizi R, Saneei P, Lankarani KB, Akbari M, Kolahdooz F, Esmaillzadeh A, Nadi-Ravandi S, Mazoochi M, Asemi Z. The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition>. 2019 Sep 8;59(16):2688-96.
17. Westerterp‐Plantenga MS, Lejeune MP, Kovacs EM. Body weight loss and weight maintenance in relation to habitual caffeine intake and green tea supplementation. Obesity Research. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204.
18. Onakpoya I, Posadzki P, Ernst E. The efficacy of glucomannan supplementation in overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2014 Feb 1;33(1):70-8.
19. Stern JS, Peerson J, Mishra AT, Sadasiva Rao MV, Rajeswari KP. Efficacy and tolerability of a novel herbal formulation for weight management. Obesity. 2013 May;21(5):921-7.
20. Kennedy A, Martinez K, Schmidt S, Mandrup S, LaPoint K, McIntosh M. Antiobesity mechanisms of action of conjugated linoleic acid. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2010 Mar 1;21(3):171-9.
21. Onakpoya IJ, Posadzki PP, Watson LK, Davies LA, Ernst E. The efficacy of long-term conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on body composition in overweight and obese individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. European Journal of Nutrition. 2012 Mar 1;51(2):127-34.
22. Walecka-Kapica E, Klupińska G, Chojnacki J, Tomaszewska-Warda K, Błońska A, Chojnacki C. The effect of melatonin supplementation on the quality of sleep and weight status in postmenopausal women. Przeglad Menopauzalny= Menopause Review. 2014 Dec;13(6):334.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!
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