Obesity is one of the most distressing, fast-growing epidemics we have yet to witness, leading to a severe public health crisis and countless cases of cardiovascular disease. Although being overweight was merely a cosmetic issue years ago, it is now becoming scientifically evident that the extra pounds your body carries can literally be the culprit for your death. Moreover, excessive body fat has recently been shown to generate several other conditions that affect more than your physical well-being, having been linked to mental health issues like eating disorders, clinical depression and anxiety.
Staying at a healthy weight is not a matter of vanity or conceit, but rather a long-term effective approach to leading an illness-free lifestyle and avoiding potential chronic diseases. While most modern diet fads and naïve mantras currently promoted in the media are nothing but half-truths, you do have access to accurate information regarding weight management, if you know where to look. Even though there is no magic pill to lose weight fast, there are healthy, natural alternatives for you to try out, in combination with a nutrient-rich diet and regular physical exercise.
When I say supplement, you probably immediately think about some unnatural, chemical-filled product that’s manufactured for profit alone. However, not all supplements are the same and, surprisingly, not all producers are after your money. If you do your research, you’ll find that there are natural and effective brands out there that have gone through proper testing and show promising results. Moreover, a supplement is not necessarily made out of chemical substances. Some are simply a smart combination of medicinal plants, herbs and vegetables or are based on traditional formulas used for decades in other cultures. The way that these type of supplements work can involve appetite suppression, for cases in which the person is dealing with excessive, unwarranted hunger, or through lipase inhibition. The latter involves inhibiting the enzyme responsible for producing fat (also known as lipase). This prevents absorption of fat and causes it to be eliminated by the large intestine.
For indigenous populations, obesity is virtually unprecedented. Using traditional science for the past thousands of decades and over 5000 plants of medicinal value, most of the diseases which affect Occidental societies are unheard of in the land of these natives. For instance, colorectal cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart attack and stroke are shockingly uncommon amongst tribes in India and not only. One of the core factors for why this is the case is of course lifestyle. Native populations eat mostly frugal diets (this means fresh fruits and vegetables, some grains, little to no animal products and plenty of spices and herbs) and are reasonably active. They also walk long distances every day and do not consume preservatives of any kind. In addition to their healthy lifestyles, indigenous people also use several supplementary herbs and plants as part of their daily routine. Condiments like fenugreek and karela are used as flavor enhancers and facilitate good digestion and proper nutrient absorption.
Native populations of India frequently consume locally grown medicinal plants as part of their everyday diet. One such plant is Caralluma fimbriata, a succulent edible cactus which grows wild and is often used as a margin in gardens. Traditionally, Indian tribes used to chew chunks of this plant in order to dampen hunger and quench thirst during a long hunt. This powerful appetite suppressant was also called “famine food” due to its remarkable ability to quell hunger and improve stamina. Scientists have recently picked up on the plant’s active ingredients and its noteworthy effects, using them to prevent some of our most widespread chronic diseases, in particular obesity and weight-related issues.
Belonging to the Apocynaceae family, over 260 species of the genus are distributed across Asia and the Mediterranean. Caralluma is viewed as a cure-all medicinal genus, used not only for its endurance-enhancing properties, but also for treating leprosy, paralysis, rheumatism and inflammation. As a herbal compound, Caralluma contains a wide range of bioactives, including Pregnane Glycosides, Flavonoid Glycosides, Luteolin, Chromium and Beta-sitosterol.
Caralluma fimbriata has been tested in several clinical trials and shows promising results when it comes to weight loss and maintaining good health. But how does it work? The cactus contains the phytochemical Pregnane Glycosides, which blocks the enzyme responsible for storing fat and producing fatty acids (Citrate Lyase). Moreover, the plant’s active compounds also block Malonyl Coenzyme A, which is the catalyst-enzyme for fat production.
By combating these two fat-generating enzymes, the cactus extract reduces fat storage within the body, while at the same time compelling your body to begin burning its own fat reserves. Nonetheless, what turns Caralluma fimbriata into a veritable super food and an unmatched aid for weight loss is its ability to suppress appetite. Here’s how this process takes place.
When you’re hungry, your hypothalamus begins sending signals to your brain – this signal lets you know that you need to eat. After you ingest food to the point of satiation, the hypothalamus sends another signal to your brain that you’ve consumed enough nutrients – this gets you to stop eating.
What Caralluma fimbriata does is it intercepts these signals and disrupts the usual hunger cycle. This, in turn, decreases your appetite and makes you feel less hungry even if you haven’t eaten a lot. Furthermore, clinical tests in which this plant extract was used for weight management shows that there is not only a decrease in the number on the scale, but in actual body fat percentage. Studies which only measure the pounds a person weighs are not necessarily accurate, as the amount of fat in the body is a much more relevant indicator of the efficacy of a weight loss product than the mere number that appears on the scale.
Moreover, weight measurements alone are not sufficient, as the weight loss experienced may be due to loss of water, and not fat in the body (as is the case with most crash diet programs).
Quenching hunger is not the only advantage that comes with taking this supplement. Caralluma fimbriata extract has also been linked to higher energy levels. Perhaps you’re worried that eating less will cause you to feel exhausted or tired all the time. It’s certainly the case for most yo-yo diets, where your body isn’t getting enough energy from calories and starts wearing down. Since our brains rely exclusively on glucose (sugar) to function and have energy, depriving your body of carbohydrates that supply that glucose to the brain can be very harmful in the long run. However, Caralluma extract has been tested and proven to improve energy levels. The reason for this is that the plant not only inhibits fat synthesis in the body, it also increases the burning of fat. Consequently, this releases more energy and makes it available to the body, causing individuals to report lively moods and boosts of energy.
This cactus extract has been linked to other significant health benefits. One of these is the reduction of fatigue. As mentioned above, by activating fat stores in the body, part of the fat is turned into lean muscle gains, while the rest of it is burned and used as fuel for the body. So if you’re suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, you might want to give this supplement a try and see if you notice any improvements in your mood and energy levels.
Another reason why this supplement is so popular is due to its anti-aging properties. Packed full with high levels of antioxidants, Caralluma fimbriata targets free radicals in the body and reduces aging side effects. This doesn’t only mean you’ll have fewer wrinkles, but that you’ll also maintain good overall physical and cognitive health. Last but not least, this extract helps fight off inflammation. A whole host of life-threatening diseases are caused by inflammation in the body. The high levels of omega 9 fatty acids contained in Caralluma fimbriata can minimize inflammation and cholesterol levels, as well as regulate blood pressure and, consequently, lower your risk of arthritis, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that 500 mg of the extract, taken daily for up to 60 days is completely safe for most people. Mild side effects like intestinal gas or stomach upset are possible to occur, but have been reported to disappear within a week of using the product. When it comes to dosing, an average Caralluma fimbriata dose is 1600 mg per day or 800 mg twice per day, with breakfast and dinner.
Some producers recommend using 400 mg per day, so it largely depends on the particular formula you purchase. Just make sure you follow the relevant directions on the product label and you’ll be fine. You can also consult your pharmacist, physician or healthcare provider before beginning use, if you need extra reassurance.