Caralluma Fimbriata: Hope or Hype?
In last week’s blog we looked at substances that are claimed to assist in weight loss. One of those substances was Caralluma fimbriata (C. fimbriata), a cactus extract used for appetite suppression. Let’s take a deeper look at this extract.
What is C. fimbriata?
1C. fimbriata is an edible succulent cacti (family Asclepiadaceae) commonly found growing wildly in India and Africa. It’s considered a famine food due to its appetite suppressant features.
2Some of the key active compounds found in C. fimbriata and their uses incude:
- Pregnane glycosides – appetite suppression
- Flavone glycosides – antioxidants
- Megastigmane glycosides – anti-inflammatory
- Polyphenols – antioxidants
- Flavonoids – antioxidants
- Saponins – immune system enhancers
- Bitter principles – protection of digestive system and pancreas
3While common uses for C. fimbriata include weight loss – burning fat, thirst quenching and enhancing endurance and energy – 4some of its other claims include:
- Antimicrobial and antiparasitic activities
- Improved brain function
- Anxiety reduction
- Muscle building
- Prevention of hardened arteries
- Improved digestion
- Liver function protection
- Improved kidney function
- Testicular function protection
- Antioxidant activity
- Reduced blood sugar levels
This is an impressive list! However it’s very important that you do your research before taking any type of drug, get the facts, read the studies, consult with your physician. Please see the list of studies and sources below.
Some helpful research has been done and is being done on C. fimbriata and the claims of weight loss, increased energy levels and digestion enhancement. 5Let’s look at a few of those studies as they relate to these claims:
In 50 overweight patients (DB-RCT), intake of 1 gram of Caralluma fimbriata extract per day for 60 days reduced waist perimeter and appetite.
However, in 89 overweight patients (DB-RCT), 12 weeks of Caralluma fimbriata extract failed to reduce weight or appetite.
Caralluma fimbriata extract blocked the growth of fat cells. This effect was seen most at high doses (over 100 μg/ml).
Fat burning releases energy in form of ATP.
*Modulatory effects of Caralluma fimbriata extract against high-fat diet induced abnormalities in carbohydrate metabolism in Wistar rats.
In rats fed a high-calorie diet, intake of Caralluma fimbriata extract increased the activity of the enzyme creatine kinase in muscles, thus enhancing the efficient use and transport of energy.
Improve Digestive System Function
Caralluma fimbriata has high amounts of fiber (15%) and is a good source of this plant component when eaten as a vegetable.
*Health effects of dietary fiber.
Fiber has several health benefits, such as increasing the digestive transit, facilitating nutrient uptake and digestion, and protecting from diseases.
Every drug we take will have its benefits and its side effects. It is very important that you know BOTH before taking any drug, be it manufactured or herbal. 5Here are some of the more common side effects found with C. fimbriata:
- Stomach bloating
- Stomach inflammation
- Tongue inflammation
- Sleep deprivation
- Generalized weakness
- Increased blood pressure
As you can see, this list (which is NOT exhaustive) has side effects ranging from the irritating, not so important to the really serious and health-threatening. 6C. fimbriata is an extract from the main supplemented herb Caralluma adscendens var. fimbriata and is also sold as Slimaluma (brand name). It is classified as a food product and ayurveda.
The claims revolving around C. fimbriata make it sound like one big magic bean. You can lose weight, burn fat, increase your energy, build more muscle, increase your endurance, decrease your anxiety, improve your sleep AND clear your arteries all with one single drug! However, if you’re older than 16, you know nothing can do everything, especially without any special effort on your part. Wanting to lose weight, get in shape, be fit, be healthy and look good are not bad goals to have, we all have them. But like anything else in life, it’s going to take good old-fashioned work and effort on your part. Be smart – don’t take drugs (and yes, herbal supplements ARE considered drugs) without doing your due diligence: research the substance, read the studies, read what others have to say, consult with your doctor or a pharmacist or registered dietician beforehand.
And tune in next week for more information on weight loss miracles!
(Disclaimer: SplitFit does not endorse any supplement mentioned in its blogs. The information is given for knowledge only.)
For a concise breakdown of C. fimbriata’s chemical composition: https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/caralluma-fimbriata/
1“To evaluate efficacy and safety of Caralluma fimbriata in overweight and obese patients,” Ekta Arora, Vijay Khajuria, Vishal R. Tandon, Atul Sharma, Annil Mahajan, Zahid H. Gillani, Naiyma Choudhary, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4314845/
2,4,5“Benefits of Caralluma Fimbriata + Reviews and Side Effects,” Joe Cohen, https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/caralluma-fimbriata/
3“Caralluma: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage and Warnings,” WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1160/caralluma
6“Caralluma fimbriata – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects,” Kamal Patel, https://examine.com/supplements/caralluma-fimbriata/
Image Credit: garciniacambogiaresults.net