Manufactured by Next Pharmaceuticals', the ingredient Relora, formulated from Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense, is targeted at overweight consumers, as well as individuals wanting to control their weight through stressful periods.
"Dietary supplement manufacturers and functional food/beverage companies have a myriad of new product positioning opportunities with the addition of our patented ingredient Relora," said Bob Garrison, jr, president and CEO of Next Pharmaceuticals."Our three human studies along with the findings from our current clinical trial with Relora provide branding opportunities in some hot markets, including stress reduction and weight control."
Under the direction of Diane R. Krieger at Miami Research Associates, the pilot trial - the fourth human study on Relora - studied forty 'healthy overweight, premenopausal' women. The participants (BMI 25 to 34.9) between the ages of 20 and 50, typically ate more in stressful situations.
While the placebo group gained significant weight during the trial, the scientists report that the Relora group was able to maintain weight. Negative mood was related to weight gain in the control (placebo) group but not in the Relora group.
Although the study was small, there were consistent trends for lowered arousal in the Relora group as indicated by lower bedtime cortisol levels and lower systolic blood pressure.
'Relora appears to promote weight maintenance and decrease stress arousal as demonstrated by decreased evening cortisol and decreased systolic blood pressure,' said the company.
Extensive safety data was collected demonstrating that Relora is a safe and effective natural ingredient and may help stressed individuals maintain or lose weight, added the group.
Next Pharmaceuticals has a patent on the botanical Magnolia, US 6,582,735, and the Phellodendron is patent-pending.
"This study suggests that individuals who are stress eaters and who also have elevated cortisol levels, might have greater success in managing their weight by supplementing with Relora in addition to watching their calories and maintaining a regular exercise programme," said Garrison, adding that the firm is now planning larger clinical trials.
Relora may also play a role in decreasing the risks associated with the stress/cortisol-related condition known as metabolic syndrome. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 47 million Americans may suffer from metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by a cluster of conditions including insulin resistance and the presence of obesity, abdominal fat, high blood sugar and triglycerides, high blood cholesterol, and high blood pressure.