A recent study examined the effect of glucomannan and garcinia cambogia for weight loss in overweight and obese individuals.
Obesity is a serious problem in developed counties worldwide. Being overweight or obese has been associated with numerous health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, and osteoarthritis. While many factors contribute to obesity, polymorphisms in certain genes, including fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO), perilipin (PLIN) and β-adrenergic receptor 3 (ADRB3) have been implicated in its development.
Caloric restriction and exercise are commonly recommended evidence-based strategies that help individuals lose weight, but other strategies like the use of herbal medicines may also be effective. Garcinia cambogia (GC), a fruit-derived type of fiber, and glucomannan (GNN), a fruit that grows in South Asia and India, have shown promise as weight control agents.
A group of Spanish researchers tested the efficacy of glucomannan and garcinia cambogia for weight loss in overweight or obese individuals, in combination with a controlled diet over a six-month period. They also investigated whether the presence of different genetic polymorphisms associated with the genes FTO, PLIN, and ADRB3 modified weight reduction. The results of their study were recently published in BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine.
A total of 214 overweight or obese individuals participated in the study. They received 500 milligrams of garcinia cambogia and glucomannan twice daily. Clinical parameters including weight, fat mass, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate, glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides were evaluated at the beginning of the study and at three and six months following the start of treatment. The researchers also analyzed the effect of the three genetic polymorphisms on weight loss.
Overall, body composition improved significantly across the study period. On average, the participants experienced reductions in weight, fat mass, visceral fat, glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides at three and six months, while basal metabolic rate increased. The participants with the genetic polymorphisms of FTO, PLIN, or ADRB3 lost less weight at three and six months and less fat mass and visceral fat at six months compared to participants without genetic polymorphisms. The presence of polymorphisms did not affect changes in glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, or basal metabolic rate.
While previous studies have shown mixed results, this study suggests that glucomannan and garcinia cambogia are safe and effective treatments for weight loss. Differences in study findings may be accounted for by differences in sample characteristics or the composition of supplements. The treatment effects were independent of age, sex, and the presence of comorbidities.
Written by Suzanne M. Robertson, Ph.D
Reference: Maia-Landim, Andrea, Juan M. Ramírez, Carolina Lancho, María S. Poblador, and José L. Lancho. “Long-term effects of Garcinia cambogia/Glucomannan on weight loss in people with obesity, PLIN4, FTO and Trp64Arg polymorphisms.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 18, no. 1 (2018): 26.