Combat overweight and obesity in a natural way

Category: Digestion, Integrative Nutrition, Obesity

How to combat overweight and obesity in a natural way

Víctor Blasco, PhD in Chemistry. Specialist in Medicinal Chemistry.

Overweight and obesity is one of the biggest public health problems, which is most evident in developed countries. Its incidence, far from decreasing, is increasing uncontrollably in our society and every day more and more people, both adults and children, suffer from this pathology.

This is especially due to the lifestyle of today’s society, based mainly on a sedentary lifestyle and the massive consumption of processed foods and saturated fats, which has a direct impact on the deterioration of the quality of life of a large part of the population.

This problem is not only relevant in terms of aesthetic issues, but a large body of research has shown that there is a close relationship between being overweight and the risk of developing numerous chronic diseases and other health problems. These include hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, apnoea, respiratory problems, various types of cancer and mental disorders, among others. [1] [2]

All of the above highlights the need to regularly monitor our body weight by adopting good eating habits, taking regular physical exercise and, if necessary, using certain food supplements that can help us to lose weight periodically and keep it at an appropriate level.

Ideally, these supplements should be able to act through different routes of action, adapted to the needs of each individual. In relation to this, they could include certain satiating ingredients, capable of calming hunger and curbing the urge to eat; or other ingredients that help burn and absorb fat, as well as improve the uptake of sugars to reduce the calories assimilated by the body. In addition, they could include certain substances capable of promoting and helping the body to drain fluids, leading to a decrease in volume and helping to deflate the abdomen and legs.

In the following, emphasis will be placed on certain natural extracts that fulfil the functions described above and can be a highly recommended option to control our body weight.

Natural products that can help you control your body weight:

  • Coleus root: Coleus forskohlii is a plant commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, where it has been used for millennia to treat various ailments, including obesity. Its active ingredient, forskolin, is a natural diterpene isolated from the roots of this plant, the properties of which have been extensively studied. It is believed that this extract is capable of increasing the metabolism of fatty acids and glucose, promoting greater calorie consumption and, as a result, weight loss. In other words, it is considered to be a natural fat burner in the body. In addition, studies have shown that administration of the extract could significantly reduce appetite and the development of dyslipidaemia. [3]
  • Cayenne fruit: Capsicum annuum, also known as hot cayenne, is a plant native to the American continent and tropical areas. It has traditionally been used in cooking, but is now also highly regarded for its medicinal properties. Its active compounds include capsaicin, which has numerous health benefits. These include its anti-inflammatory properties and its effect on reducing body weight. In this case, this active ingredient reduces appetite, promotes thermogenesis (increased body heat) and boosts metabolism, which leads to the elimination of body fat. [4] In addition, it has been shown that this compound also activates specific satiety-related receptors located in the stomach (TRPV1), causing the feeling of fullness to appear more easily and more quickly. [5]
  • African Mango seeds: The African mango is a tree that grows mainly in the regions of Cameroon and Nigeria. Due to its high fibre, vitamin and mineral content, it has numerous health-promoting properties. In addition to its antioxidant effect, it has a strong cleansing and laxative action, which is why it is often used as a slimming agent. Another of its essential components is leptin, a hormone responsible for regulating the feeling of satiety in the body, reducing appetite and preventing excessive food intake. Finally, this extract also accelerates lipid and glucose metabolism, acting as a natural fat-burner and reducing stored fat in the body. [6]
  • Horsetail: Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is a well-known plant in traditional medicine with multiple applications. In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect, it has an enormous diuretic effect, promoting urination and helping to prevent fluid retention in the body. Extract of this plant can therefore help weight loss through fluid drainage, while it can considerably alleviate the symptoms of circulatory diseases. [7]
  • Black pepper: Pipper Nigrum is a species of the Piperaceae family, native mainly to southeast India. Historically used as a culinary spice, it has now been attributed a multitude of properties in traditional medicine. Black pepper is used in certain slimming diets because its active ingredient, piperine, promotes the metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates and acts as a natural fat-burner, as it contains certain phytonutrients that help to break down fat in the cells. At the same time, this extract prevents fluid retention and has a significant diaphoretic effect, thus enhancing weight loss. [8]
  • Svetol® (decaffeinated green coffee): This ingredient is a patented extract of decaffeinated green coffee that induces weight loss while reducing body fat. The active ingredient in Svetol® is chlorogenic acid, which is responsible for inducing body weight loss as well as having a high antioxidant power, limiting lipid oxidation in the liver. It does not appear to show any noticeable adverse effects. [9]

In addition to these natural extracts, the importance of certain vitamins and minerals such as Niacin (vitamin B3) and Chromium (in the form of picolinate), which contribute to weight loss and the reduction of body fat through the aforementioned mechanisms, should also be highlighted.

In conclusion, it is essential to adopt good eating habits and lead a healthy lifestyle in order to avoid certain pathologies associated with overweight and obesity. The majority of the population seeks to be able to control their body weight and their own organism, for which it is possible to use certain food supplements that help us to eliminate those extra kilos, which have no intention of disappearing from our body overnight.

Bibliographic References:

[1] Lauby-Secretan B, Scoccianti C, Loomis D, et al. Body Fatness and Cancer–Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group. New England Journal of Medicine 2016; 375 (8);794-798.

[2] NHLBI. 2013. Managinf Overweigth and Obesity in Adults: Systematic Evidence Review from the Obesity Expert Panel.

[3] Nagarajappa Shivaprasad H, Gopalakrishna S, Mariyanna B, Thekkoot M, Reddy R, Shivanandappa Tippeswamy B (2014). Effect of Coleus forskohlii extract on cafeteria diet-induced obesity in rats. 6 (1), 42-45.

[4] Colin D. Wilborna et al., (2017) Effects of twelve weeks of capsaicinoid supplementation on body composition, appetite and self-reported caloric intake in overweight individuals, Appetite, 1 (113), 264–273.

[5] Zheng, Jia et al. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications. Bioscience reports, 37(3), 2017.

[6] Ngondi, J. L., Etoundi, B. C., Nyangono, C. B., Mbofung, C. M., & Oben, J. E. (2009).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, 8, (7).

[7] Carneiro, D. M., Freire, R. C., Honório, T. C., Zoghaib, I., Cardoso, F. F., Tresvenzol, L. M., de Paula, J. R., Sousa, A. L., Jardim, P. C., & da Cunha, L. C. (2014). Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial to Assess the Acute Diuretic Effect of Equisetum arvense (Field Horsetail) in Healthy Volunteers. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 760683.

[8] Park, U. H., Jeong, H. S., Jo, E. Y., Park, T., Yoon, S. K., Kim, E. J., Jeong, J. C., & Um, S. J. (2012). Piperine, a component of black pepper, inhibits adipogenesis by antagonizing PPARγ activity in 3T3-L1 cells. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60 (15), 3853–3860.

[9] Sudeep, H. V., & Shyam Prasad, K. (2021). Supplementation of green coffee bean extract in healthy overweight subjects increases lean mass/fat mass ratio: A randomized, double-blind clinical study. SAGE open medicine, 9.

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