Natural ingredients for weight control

Category: Integrative Nutrition

Natural ingredients for weight control

Obesity and overweight are disorders that result from an imbalance between high calorie intake and low metabolic expenditure. Excess fat accumulates in the body in the form of adipose tissue, which is a risk factor for many diseases.

The circumstances under which millions of people suffer from these problems are very diverse and, in many cases, begin in childhood. Modern work, which is becoming increasingly sedentary, is one of the main causes. In addition, the consumption of high-fat foods and processed products leads to a significant increase in weight.

How to regulate body weight?

Obesity can be defined as a chronic disease that generates a set of comorbidities. The World Health Organisation has established that obesity exists when the body mass index is greater than or equal to 30. This measure is obtained from the ratio between weight and height.

People with obesity are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some types of cancer. These phenomena have been observed in many countries, where obesity rates have tripled since 1975.

For these reasons, combating obesity has a positive impact on general health and longevity. To this end, some natural ingredients in food supplements have positive effects that help to achieve an ideal weight.

Coleus forskohlii

This is the chemical name for an active ingredient, commonly known as forskolin, found in the roots and leaves of the plant Plectranthus barbatus. It is a member of the mint family and grows in India, Nepal and Thailand. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used for heart and respiratory disorders.

Scientific research provides evidence that it may stimulate thyroid function in cases of hypothyroidism, the gland responsible for energy metabolism. This effect would accelerate the reduction of fat deposits (1)

Forskolin increases the concentration of intracellular AMP, an important mediator of cellular response to hormonal stimuli. Indeed, some clinical studies have focused on lipolytic effects on fat tissue (2) and appetite suppression, two mechanisms that contribute to correcting or preventing excess weight.

In a review of plant species, the available medical literature on this plant was evaluated. Promising therapeutic actions related to body weight regulation and intake control were found (3)

In addition, the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study indicated that ingestion of forskolin extract decreases the percentage of body fat. It is also reported to increase bone density and testosterone levels in the blood. (4)

Capsicum annuum

Capsaicin is a substance found in many foods used to flavour food, such as ginger and cayenne pepper. It is found in the highest concentrations in chillies or Capsicum annuum.

It has been determined that consumption of this substance activates the cell channels that allow calcium to pass through, so that its intracellular content increases. The effects are activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which generates satiety, and increased metabolism of adipose tissue, increasing energy expenditure. Among other benefits contributing to weight loss, better control of blood insulin levels has been reported.

The conclusion is that they have positive effects on glycaemic control to combat obesity. They also have an impact on the prevention of cardiovascular disease by stimulating weight loss (5)

Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that, when present, increase the likelihood of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. In a review of 11 controlled trials, it was shown that supplementation with Capsicum annuum improved cholesterol levels and reduced body weight. (6)

Black pepper

This plant has been widely used as an appetite stimulant and condiment for centuries, particularly the Piper nigrum species, whose active ingredient is piperine. In a review of medical literature, the effects of certain foods used in traditional Chinese medicine for weight loss were analysed.

Specifically, mechanisms of action related to obesity control were found, and piperine was among the active ingredients evaluated. The conclusion was that it increases the feeling of satiety, reduces intestinal absorption of lipids and accelerates their metabolism (7)

In terms of digestion, this substance stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and activates intestinal peristalsis, speeding up transit. It also has an antioxidant effect and helps the liver to purify toxic compounds. (8)


This substance, also known as vitamin B3, is water-soluble and is not stored in the body, which is why it must be consumed in the diet. Its metabolic derivatives, NAM and NAD, two types of nicotinamide, are important cofactors in cellular metabolism and respiration. They are substances involved in the modulation of metabolism and in the physiological processes of ageing (9)

The amide form of vitamin B3, or NAM, administered in supplement form, protects against weight gain induced by the consumption of high-calorie foods. In turn, it counteracts the processes that cause fatty liver and improves glucose metabolism. Niacin is therefore a potential resource in the prevention of obesity and its complications. (10)


Chromium is a micronutrient essential for the regulation of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. Its intake in farm animals and humans has been found to be below the recommended requirements. In particular, this metal is involved in several metabolic processes that result in an increase in lean muscle mass (11)

In a study of obese patients, two chromium compounds were administered for eight weeks in conjunction with a low-calorie diet. The result was that the percentage of lean body mass increased without offsetting the total weight loss achieved (12)

Ultimately, overweight and obesity are diseases that can be controlled. For this purpose, there are natural substances that activate the metabolism and contribute to weight loss.

Bibliographic References:

1. P.A. Ealey, L.D. Kohn. Estimulación con forskolina de naftilamidasa en secciones de tiroides de conejillos de Indias detectadas con un bioensayo citoquímico. Ekins. Acta Endocrinol.1985 marzo; 108 (3): 367-71. PMID: 2984870 DOI: 10.1530/acta.0.1080367.

2. Yen Chen Tung, Yi-Ang Shih, Kalyanam Nagabhushanam, Chi Tang Ho, An Chin Cheng, Min Hsiung Pan. Los extractos de Coleus forskohlii y Garcinia indica atenuaron la acumulación de lípidos al regular el metabolismo energético y modular la microbiota intestinal en ratones obesos. Alimentos Res Int. 2021 abril; 142: 110143. PMID: 33773654 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2021.110143.

3. Katie J. Astell, Michael L. Mathai, Xiao Q Su. Una revisión sobre especies botánicas y compuestos químicos con propiedades supresoras del apetito para el control del peso corporal. Alimentos vegetales Hum Nutr.2013 septiembre;68(3):213-21. PMID: 23666454 DOI: 10.1007/s11130-013-0361-1.

4. Michael P. Godard, Brad A. Johnson , Scott R. Richmond. Composición corporal y adaptaciones hormonales asociadas con el consumo de forskolina en hombres con sobrepeso y obesos. Obes Res.2005 agosto; 13 (8): 1335-43. PMID: 16129715 DOI: 10.1038/oby.2005.162.

5. Sharon Varghese, Pedro Kubatka, Luis Rodriguez, Katarina Gazdikova, Martín Caprandá, Julia Hedotova, Antonio Zulli, Pedro Kruzliak, Dietrich Büsselberg. El chile como alimento para bajar de peso corporal. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2017 junio;68(4):392-401. PMID: 27899046 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1258044.

6. Hwan Hee Jang, Jounghee Lee, Sung Hyen Lee, Young Min Lee. Efectos de la suplementación con Capsicum annuum sobre los componentes del síndrome metabólico: revisión sistemática y metanálisis. Representante científico. 2020 1 de diciembre; 10 (1): 20912. PMID: 33262398 PMCID: PMC7708630 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-77983-2.

7. WL Zhang , L. Zhu , J.G. Jiang. Principios activos de origen botánico natural en el tratamiento de la obesidad. Obes Rev. 2014 diciembre; 15 (12): 957-67. PMID: 25417736 DOI: 10.1111/obr.12228

8. K. Srinivasan. Pimienta negra y su principio picante piperina: una revisión de diversos efectos fisiológicos. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2007;47(8):735-48. PMID: 17987447 DOI: 10.1080/10408390601062054.

9. James B. Kirkland, Mirella L. Meyer-Ficca. Niacina. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2018;83:83-149. PMID: 29477227 DOI: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2017.11.003.

10. Karen Alejandra Méndez-Lara, Elisabeth Rodríguez Millán, David Sebastian, Rosi Blanco-Soto, Mercedes Camacho, et al. La nicotinamida protege contra el aumento de peso corporal inducido por la dieta, aumenta el gasto de energía e induce el tejido adiposo blanco y beige. Mol Nutr Alimento Res. 2021 junio;65(11):e2100111. PMID: 33870623 DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.202100111.

11. R. A. Anderson. Efectos del cromo en la composición corporal y la pérdida de peso. Nutrir Rev. 1998 septiembre; 56 (9): 266-70. PMID: 9763876 DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.1998.tb01763.x.

12. B. Bahadori, S. Wallner, H. Schneider, T.C. Wascher , H. Toplak. Efecto de la levadura de cromo y picolinato de cromo en la composición corporal de pacientes obesos, no diabéticos durante y después de una dieta de fórmula. Acta Med Austriaca. 1997;24(5):185-7. PMID: 9480618.

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