Scanning the shelves for weight-loss supplements can be overwhelming. After all, there are hundreds of products available, and they all work in slightly different ways. Here's a look at three promising ingredients that may help you get rid of unwanted pounds-each through its own unique mechanism.
African Mango Extract
Research has found that an extract of the seeds of the West African fruit Irvingia gabonensis is an effective weight-loss aid. For example, a study of 102 overweight people in the plant's native country of Cameroon compared a proprietary extract of African mango (IGOB131) with a placebo and found that the extract significantly enhanced weight loss-even though the people in the study didn't change their diets or add exercise to their normal routines.
On average, those taking 150 mg of IGOB131 twice daily lost 28 pounds and 6.7 inches around the waist-reducing their body fat by 18 percent after 10 weeks. They also significantly reduced LDL and total cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and inflammation.
During the study, published in Lipids in Health and Disease, those taking the extract ate less, likely because the supplement improves the function of two hormones: leptin, which regulates appetite; and insulin, which influences how food is used to produce energy.
In addition, IGOB131 inhibits, to some degree, the absorption of starch, which our bodies convert into sugar. Starch is found in virtually everything we eat except animal protein and fat.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
hCG-a hormone produced by pregnant women-has gained popularity in recent years as a weight-loss aid. In expectant mothers, hCG enables stored fat in the abdomen to be released to nourish the fetus. As a supplement, hCG coupled with a very-low-calorie diet appears to trigger a similar mechanism of fat burning, resulting in rapid weight loss.
The approach was originally developed more than 50 years ago by Albert T.W. Simeons, MD, and described in his book, Pounds & Inches: A New Approach to Obesity. He used an injectable form of hCG that is still used today. Recently, a homeopathic version, which can be taken orally, has become even more popular.
According to Simeons, hCG must be used in conjunction with a diet of no more than 500 calories per day in order to coax the human body to burn stored fat for fuel. It's claimed that people on the diet don't experience hunger because most of their calories come from body-fat stores.
A special type of fiber, PGX promotes weight loss by essentially filling up the stomach without added calories. When combined with moisture, it expands in the stomach, making us feel full on less food. Like other sources of fiber, it also helps eliminate toxins and has additional health benefits.
PGX has been tested in more than a dozen human studies that have shown it to be effective in reducing appetite and enhancing weight loss. Additionally, according to an overview published in Alternative Medicine Review, research has shown that PGX helps reduce blood-sugar swings and improve insulin efficiency-thereby promoting the burning of food as fuel rather than being stored as fat. By enhancing this mechanism, the supplement reduces the risk for diabetes. It also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Additionally, the research review found that PGX was as effective for weight loss as some prescription drugs.
African Mango Extract: Products with the proprietary form of the extract (used in the research) will indicate IGOB131 or WellTrim iG on the label. Take at least 150 mg twice daily, 30-90 minutes before meals. African mango extract is available as a single supplement, as well as in combination weight-loss formulas.
HCG: Use according to directions with a diet of no more than 500 calories per day that includes 200 grams of lean protein, very little starch, and no sugar.
PGX: Take 5 grams, 5-10 minutes before meals, or follow product directions. It's available as an individual supplement and in weight-loss formulas.
Packed with herbs and amino acids, this hormone-free spray comes with a diet plan and is available as a 15- or 30-day program.
PGX Daily Singles
These convenient packets are designed to be mixed with cold water or juice and taken before meals. Perfect for on-the-go use.
Ultimate African Mango Extract
Each capsule has 300 mg of the extract, which can be used twice daily before meals.