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Rat study shows insulin resistance benefits for Caralluma fimbriata

By Hank Schultz

18-Jul-2014
Last updated on 18-Jul-2014 at 18:03 GMT

Ingredient supplier Gencor says a new study shows its Slimaluma ingredient has benefits in ameliorating insulin resistance.

In a study published in the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, researchers used Slimaluma, an ethanolic extarction of the botanical Caralluma fimbriata, in a study involving male Wistar rats.  Caralluma fimbriata is a cactus-like plant traditionally used in India as a famine food, may be beneficial for the suppression of high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance and oxidative stress.

The study found that feeding Caralluma fimbriata extract (CFE) to rats on a 90-day, high-fat diet prevented the development of health-threatening disorders such as hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), hyperinsulinemia (high insulin), hyperleptinemia (high serum leptin) and hypertriglyceridemia (high triglycerides), as well as reducing oxidative stress.

Study details

The researchers divided the rats into four groups.  Two groups were fed a normal pellet diet and a high fat diet, respectively.  The other two groups were fed a high fat diet in addition to CFE and the insulin resistance drug Met (Metformin), respectively.

Researchers indicated that the effects produced by CFE are “nearly comparable” to those produced by the drug, indicating that they may act similarly. In conclusion, researchers said, “CFE could be a beneficial adjuvant therapy for management of pre-diabetic state of IR (insulin resistance).”

There are a number of natural herbal components that work in a way similar and perhaps identical to the mode of action of Metformin, which is itself derived from guanidine, a compound originally extracted from the herb Gallega officinalis, aka Goat's Rue. Metformin is licensed as a drug, while the other herbals are not. The fact that the others do not appear to share Metformin's adverse effect profile (GI effects) suggests that the drug companies backed the wrong horse,” said Paul Clayton, PhD, Gencor’s chief scientific advisor.

Body of evidence

Gencor has offered Slimaluma, a patented CFE extract since 2006 and has performed several studies on the ingredient. In 2013, two double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials found statistically significant decreases in waist circumference in human experimental groups taking Caralluma fimbriata compared to placebo groups.

On its own, (the Wistar rats) study would not be sufficient to support the use of Slimaluma as a weight control agent. However, if taken in the context of all the other mechanistic, pre-clinical and clinical research, this trial's results fit into a larger body of information that is very consistent and quite robust. Slimaluma has at least two mechanisms of action that fit the animal and human data -- namely a central modulation of the satiety centers in the hypothalamus (much like Hoodia), and peripherally, the ability to inhibit the transformation of pre-adipocytes. While the latter mechanism is not so relevant to folks who are already overweight, obese or (pre-)diabetic, the former action (achieving a feeling of satiety) is helpful,” Clayton said.

Source: Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry
Volume 70, pages 311-320 DOI 10.1007/s13105-013-0304-1. 
“Beneficial effects of hydro-alcoholic extract of Caralluma fimbriata against high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance and oxidative stress in male Wistar rats”
Authors: G. Sudharkara et al.

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