Rat study supports Caralluma fibriata effect on appetite and weight

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

A new rat study has added to the evidence that Caralluma fibriata extract can suppress appetite and help with slimming.

Caralluma fibriata is a succulent plant with a long history of consumption as a vegetable in rural India. It is renowned as a ‘famine food’, and has been used by hunters and other travellers as a portable food and thirst quencher.

The new study, conduced in Bangalore, India, and published in the open access Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism​, used a diet-induced obesity rat model to assess the appetite suppressing, antiobesogenic and antiatherogenic properties of the extract.

A group of rats were randomly divided into three groups. One group served as a untreated control, while the second was fed a high-fat ‘cafeteria diet’. The third group received the cafeteria diet plus caralluma fibriata extract by gavage at three doses each day: 20, 50, or 100mg/kg body weight, over a period of 90 days.

The Caralluma fibriata extract was Slimuluma, provided by Indian company GreenChem. The extract was produced from the aerial plants of the plant using alcohol to obtain a 25 per cent solution of pregnane glycosides, which was lyphilized to powder.

The antiobesogenic effects were measured by monitoring changes in feed intake, body weight, serum lipid and hormonal profiles, fat pads and liver weight. Histology was used to measure the antiatherosclerotic effects.

The researchers found there was a “significant and dose-dependent”​ inhibition of food intake, with dose-rependent prevention of weight gain, liver weight and fat pad mass observed.

Serum lipid changes and leptin levels associated with weight gain were also seen to be inhibited.

The researchers wrote: “We conclude that Caralluma fibriata extract possesses antiobesogenic and antiatherosclerotic properties.”


Health claim wrangle

Caralluma fibriata has recently been the subject of debate into its efficacy, as in 2010 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) gave a negative health claim opinion.

However Hong Kong-based Gencor, which made the submission and was involved in the new study, challenged the conclusions of EFSA’s panel as in its initial opinion it said a clinical trial showed no statistical reduction in waistline circumference.

When Gencor pointed out that the trial showed there was, the NDA acknowledged its error and published an amended version of its opinion without changing its verdict that Slimaluma did not demonstrate weight loss.

In September 2010 Gencor managing director RV Venkatesh sent a letter to European Commission’s head of Food Law, Nutrition and Labelling, Basil Mathioudakis, in which he accused the panel of misrepresenting the studies reviewed on Slimaluma.


Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Volume 2010, Article ID 285301, 6 pages

DOI: 10.1155/2010/285301

Antiobesigenic and antiatherosclerotic properties of Caralluma fibriata extract

Authors: Soundararajan Kamalakkannan, Ramaswamy Rajendran, Ramasamy V. Venkatesh, Paul Clayton, andMohammad A. Akbarsha

Related topics Research Botanicals Weight management

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