The increasing global prevalence of obesity and its associated disorders point to an urgent need for the development of novel and effective therapeutic strategies that induce healthy weight loss. Obesity is characterized by hyperleptinemia and central leptin resistance. In an attempt to identify compounds that could reverse leptin resistance and thus promote weight loss, we analyzed a library of small molecules with mRNA expression profiles similar to that of celastrol, a naturally-occurring compound we previously identified as a leptin sensitizer. By this process we identified another natural compound, withaferin A, that also acts as a leptin sensitizer. We found that withaferin A treatment of diet-induced obese mice resulted in a 20-25% reduction of body weight, while also decreasing obesity-associated abnormalities including hepatic steatosis. Withaferin A marginally affects the body weight of ob/ob and db/db mice, which are both deficient in leptin signaling. In addition, withaferin A, unlike celastrol, has beneficial effects on glucose metabolism independently from its leptin-sensitizing effect. Our results show that the metabolic abnormalities of diet-induced obesity can be mitigated by sensitizing animals to endogenous leptin, and indicate that withaferin A is a potential leptin sensitizer with additional anti-diabetic actions.
Source: Lee, J., Liu, J., Feng, X., Salazar Hernández, M. A., Mucka, P., Ibi, D., Choi, J. W., Ozcan, U. Withaferin A is a leptin sensitizer with strong antidiabetic properties in mice. Nature medicine (2016), 22(9), 1023 1032.
Chronic stress has been associated with a number of illnesses, including obesity. Ashwagandha is a well-known adaptogen and known for reducing stress and anxiety in humans. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a standardized root extract of Ashwagandha through a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. A total of 52 subjects under chronic stress received either Ashwagandha (300 mg) or placebo twice daily. Primary efficacy measures were Perceived Stress Scale and Food Cravings Questionnaire. Secondary efficacy measures were Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, serum cortisol, body weight, and body mass index. Each subject was assessed at the start and at 4 and 8 weeks. The treatment with Ashwagandha resulted in significant improvements in primary and secondary measures. Also, the extract was found to be safe and tolerable. The outcome of this study suggests that Ashwagandha root extract can be used for body weight management in adults under chronic stress.
Source: Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. (2017);22(1):96-106.
Background: Many women experience sexual dysfunction where there are orgasm disorders and sexual difficulties. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a herb known to improve the body's physical and psychological condition.
Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the efficacy and safety of a high-concentration ashwagandha root extract (HCARE) supplementation for improving sexual function in healthy females.
Methods: In this pilot study, 50 study subjects were randomized to either (i) HCARE-treated group or (ii) placebo- (starch-) treated group. The subjects consumed either HCARE or placebo capsules of 300mg twice daily for 8 weeks. Sexual function was assessed using two psychometric scales, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) Questionnaire and the Female Sexual Distress Scale (FSDS), and by the number of total and successful sexual encounters.
Results: The analysis indicates that treatment with HCARE leads to significantly higher improvement, relative to placebo, in the FSFI Total score (p < 0.001), FSFI domain score for "arousal" (p < 0.001), "lubrication" (p < 0.001), "orgasm" (p = 0.004), and "satisfaction" (p < 0.001), and also FSDS score (p < 0.001) and the number of successful sexual encounters (p < 0.001) at the end of the treatment.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that oral administration of HCARE may improve sexual function in healthy women. The present study is registered in the Clinical Trial Registry, Government of India, with a number CTRI/2015/07/006045.
Source: Dongre S, Langade D, Bhattacharyya S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. Biomed Res Int. (2015);284154.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been described in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac that can be used to treat male sexual dysfunction and infertility. This pilot study was conducted to evaluate the spermatogenic activity of Ashwagandha root extract in oligospermic patients. Forty-six male patients with oligospermia (sperm count < 20 million/mL semen) were enrolled and randomized either to treatment (n = 21) with a full-spectrum root extract of Ashwagandha (675 mg/d in three doses for 90 days) or to placebo (n = 25) in the same protocol. Semen parameters and serum hormone levels were estimated at the end of 90-day treatment. There was a 167% increase in sperm count (9.59 ± 4.37 × 10(6)/mL to 25.61 ± 8.6 × 10(6)/mL; P < 0.0001), 53% increase in semen volume (1.74 ± 0.58 mL to 2.76 ± 0.60 mL; P < 0.0001), and 57% increase in sperm motility (18.62 ± 6.11% to 29.19 ± 6.31%; P < 0.0001) on day 90 from baseline. The improvement in these parameters was minimal in the placebo-treated group. Furthermore, a significantly greater improvement and regulation were observed in serum hormone levels with the Ashwagandha treatment as compared to the placebo. The present study adds to the evidence on the therapeutic value of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), as attributed in Ayurveda for the treatment of oligospermia leading to infertility.
Source: Ambiye VR, Langade D, Dongre S, Aptikar P, Kulkarni M, Dongre A. Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. (2013);2013:571420.
Background: Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) is a prominent herb in Ayurveda. This study was conducted to examine the possible effects of ashwagandha root extract consumption on muscle mass and strength in healthy young men engaged in resistance training.
Methods: In this 8-week, randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, 57 young male subjects (18 50 years old) with little experience in resistance training were randomized into treatment (29 subjects) and placebo (28 subjects) groups. Subjects in the treatment group consumed 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily, while the control group consumed starch placebos. Following baseline measurements, both groups of subjects underwent resistance training for 8 weeks and measurements were repeated at the end of week 8. The primary efficacy measure was muscle strength. The secondary efficacy measures were muscle size, body composition, serum testosterone levels and muscle recovery. Muscle strength was evaluated using the 1-RM load for the bench press and leg extension exercises. Muscle recovery was evaluated by using serum creatine kinase level as a marker of muscle injury from the effects of exercise.
Results: Compared to the placebo subjects, the group treated with ashwagandha had significantly greater increases in muscle strength on the bench-press exercise (Placebo: 26.4 kg, 95 % CI, 19.5, 33.3 vs. Ashwagandha: 46.0 kg, 95 % CI 36.6, 55.5; p = 0.001) and the leg-extension exercise (Placebo: 9.8 kg, 95 % CI, 7.2,12.3 vs. Ashwagandha: 14.5 kg, 95 % CI, 10.8,18.2; p = 0.04), and significantly greater muscle size increase at the arms (Placebo: 5.3 cm2, 95 % CI, 3.3,7.2 vs. Ashwagandha: 8.6 cm2, 95 % CI, 6.9,10.8; p = 0.01) and chest (Placebo: 1.4 cm, 95 % CI, 0.8, 2.0 vs. Ashwagandha: 3.3 cm, 95 % CI, 2.6, 4.1; p < 0.001). Compared to the placebo subjects, the subjects receiving ashwagandha also had significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage as indicated by the stabilization of serum creatine kinase (Placebo: 1307.5 U/L, 95 % CI, 1202.8, 1412.1, vs. Ashwagandha: 1462.6 U/L, 95 % CI, 1366.2, 1559.1; p = 0.03), significantly greater increase in testosterone level (Placebo: 18.0 ng/dL, 95 % CI, -15.8, 51.8 vs. Ashwagandha: 96.2 ng/dL, 95 % CI, 54.7, 137.5; p = 0.004), and a significantly greater decrease in body fat percentage (Placebo: 1.5 %, 95 % CI, 0.4 %, 2.6 % vs. Ashwagandha: 3.5 %, 95 % CI, 2.0 %, 4.9 %; p = 0.03).
Conclusion:This study reports that ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength and suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program.
Source: Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., Bhattacharyya, S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2015), 12, 43.
Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effects of roots of W. somnifera (ashvagandha) were assessed on human subjects. Six mild NIDDM subjects and six mild hypercholesterolemic subjects were treated with the powder of roots of W. somnifera for 30 days. Suitable parameters were studied in the blood and urine samples of the subjects along with dietary pattern before and at the end of treatment period. Decrease in blood glucose was comparable to that of an oral hypoglycemic drug. Significant increase in urine sodium, urine volume, significant decrease in serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL (low density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) cholesterol were observed indicating that root of W. somnifera is a potential source of hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic agents. Clinical observations revealed no adverse effects.
Source: Andallu B, Radhika B. Hypoglycemic, diuretic and hypocholesterolemic effect of winter cherry (Withania somnifera, Dunal) root. Indian J Exp Biol. (2000) ;38(6):607-9.
Hypocholesteremic and antioxidant effects of Withania somnifera (WS) Dunal (Solanaceae) were investigated in hypercholesteremic male albino rats. When the root powder of WS was added to the diet at 0.75 and 1.5 gm/rat/day, hypercholesteremic animals registered significant decreases in total lipids (-40.54%; -50.69%), cholesterol (-41.58%; -53.01%) and triglycerides (-31.25%; - 44.85%) in plasma. On the other hand, significant increases in plasma HDL-cholesterol levels (+15.10%; +17.71%), HMG-CoA reductase activity (+19.51%; +26.02%) and bile acid content (+24.64%; +30.52%) of liver were noted in these animals. A similar trend was also noted in bile acid (+22.43%;+28.52%), cholesterol (+14.21%; +17.68%) and neutral sterol (+12.40%; +18.85%) excretion in the hypercholesteremic animals with WS administration. Further, a significant decrease in lipid-peroxidation (-35.29%; -36.52%) occurred in WS administered hypercholesteremic animals when compared to their normal counterparts. However, it appeared that WS root powder is also effective in normal subjects for decreasing lipid profiles.
Source: Visavadiya NP, Narasimhacharya AV. Hypocholesteremic and antioxidant effects of Withania somnifera (Dunal) in hypercholesteremic rats. Phytomedicine. (2007);14(2-3):136-42.
Aging is a decelerating unidirectional process of life. Shortening of telomeric DNA, the (TTAGGG)n hexanucleotide repeats, which form the caps at the chromosome ends, is implicated to determine the aging process, and more importantly the healthy lifespan itself. Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein having reverse transcriptase activity, arrests telomere loss through addition of the TTAGGG repeats de novo, to the ends of the chromosome. The telomere/telomerase maintenance is an inevitable necessity to delay aging and for a healthy lifespan. Here, we report the potential of full-spectrum, high concentration Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), an Ayurvedic medicinal herb, root extract to increase telomerase activity. HeLa cells, when treated with various concentrations of Ashwagandha root extract, showed an increase in telomerase activity measured with the established Telomerase Rapid Amplification Protocol (TRAP) assay. Ashwagandha root extract increased telomerase activity with highest enhancement of ~45% at 10 - 50 μg concentration. Thus, Ashwagandha root extract has the anti-aging inducing potential.
Source: Raguraman, V. and Subramaniam, J. Withania somnifera Root Extract Enhances Telomerase Activity in the Human HeLa Cell Line. Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology (2016), 7, 199-204.
Background: Root extracts of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) are known to possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects. An aqueous extract of roots plus leaves of this plant has shown to yield higher percentages of withanolide glycosides and, accordingly, may possess better analgesic, anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective effects than root alone extracts.
Objectives: To evaluate efficacy and tolerability of a standardized aqueous extract of roots plus leaves of W. somnifera in patients with knee joint pain and discomfort.
Material and methods: Sixty patients with knee joint pain and discomfort were randomized in a double-blind manner to W. somnifera 250 mg, W. somnifera 125 mg and placebo, all given twice daily. Assessment was done by Modified WOMAC, Knee Swelling Index (KSI), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) at baseline and at the end of 4, 8, 12 weeks. Tolerability was assessed by incidence of adverse effects in treatment groups. Student's ‘t’ test and ANOVA were used to compare mean change from baseline within and between the study groups. A p < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: At the end of 12 weeks, compared to baseline and placebo, significant reductions were observed in mean mWOMAC and KSI in W. somnifera 250 mg (p < 0.001), W. somnifera 125 mg (p < 0.05) groups. VAS scores for pain, stiffness and disability were significantly reduced in W. somnifera 250 mg (p < 0.001), W. somnifera 125 mg (p < 0.01) groups. W. somnifera 250 mg group showed earliest efficacy (at 4 weeks). All treatments were well tolerated.
Conclusions: Both the doses of an aqueous extract of W. somnifera produced significant reduction in outcome variables, with the 250 mg group showing significantly better response. In addition, the therapeutic response appears to be dose-dependent and free of any significant GI disturbances.
Source: Ramakanth, G. S., Uday Kumar, C., Kishan, P. V., Usharani, P. A randomized, double blind placebo controlled study of efficacy and tolerability of Withaina somnifera extracts in knee joint pain. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine (2016), 7(3), 151 157.
Background: A recent in vitro study indicates that IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the traditional West African food plant Irvingia gabonensis, favorably impacts adipogenesis through a variety of critical metabolic pathways including PPAR gamma, leptin, adiponectin, and glycerol-3 phosphate dehydrogenase. This study was therefore aimed at evaluating the effects of IGOB131, an extract of Irvingia gabonensis, on body weight and associated metabolic parameters in overweight human volunteers.
Methods: The study participants comprised of 102 healthy, overweight and/or obese volunteers (defined as BMI > 25 kg/m2) randomly divided into two groups. The groups received on a daily basis, either 150 mg of IGOB131 or matching placebo in a double blinded fashion, 30 60 minutes before lunch and dinner. At baseline, 4, 8 and 10 weeks of the study, subjects were evaluated for changes in anthropometrics and metabolic parameters to include fasting lipids, blood glucose, C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and leptin.
Results: Significant improvements in body weight, body fat, and waist circumference as well as plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, C-reactive protein, adiponectin and leptin levels were observed in the IGOB131 group compared with the placebo group.
Conclusion: Irvingia gabonensis administered 150 mg twice daily before meals to overweight and/or obese human volunteers favorably impacts body weight and a variety of parameters characteristic of the metabolic syndrome. This is the first double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial regarding the anti-obesity and lipid profile modulating effects of an Irvingia gabonensis extract. The positive clinical results, together with our previously published mechanisms of gene expression modulation related to key metabolic pathways in lipid metabolism, provide impetus for much larger clinical studies. Irvingia gabonensis extract may prove to be a useful tool in dealing with the emerging global epidemics of obesity, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance, and their co-morbid conditions.
Source: Ngondi, J. L., Etoundi, B. C., Nyangono, C. B., Mbofung, C. M., Oben, J. E. IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation. Lipids in health and disease (2009), 8, 7.
Dietary fibres are frequently used for the treatment of obesity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Irvingia gabonensis seeds in the management of obesity. This was carried out as a double blind randomised study involving 40 subjects (mean age 42.4 years). Twenty-eight subjects received Irvingia gabonensis (IG) (1.05 g three time a day for one month) while 12 were on placebo (P) and the same schedule. During the one-month study period all subjects were on a normocaloric diet evaluated every week by a dietetic record book. At the end, the mean body weight of the IG group was decreased by 5.26 ± 2.37% (p < 0.0001) and that of the placebo group by 1.32 ± 0.41% (p < 0.02). The difference observed between the IG and the placebo groups was significant (p < 0.01). The obese patients under Irvingia gabonensis treatment also had a significant decrease of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase of HDL-cholesterol. On the other hand, the placebo group did not manifest any changes in blood lipid components. Irvingia gabonensis seed may find application in weight loss.
Source: Ngondi, J. L., Oben, J. E., Minka, S. R. The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon. Lipids in health and disease (2005), 4, 12.
The anti-obesity effects of yeast hydrolysate (YH) supplementation (1.0 g/d) have already been demonstrated. We investigated whether a low dose of YH (0.5 g/d, YH-500) also has the anti-obesity effects. Thirty obese women were randomly assigned to the control or YH-500 groups. After 8 weeks, weight and body mass index were significantly reduced by the YH treatment (0.5 g/d) (P<0.05). The YH-500 group lost a significant amount of body fat after the 8-week treatment: fat mass 25.9 kg (baseline) versus 23.8 kg (8th week), P<0.01; fat mass ratio 38.8% (baseline) versus 36.5% (8th week), P<0.05. The YH-500 group showed a significant reduction in calorie intake during the 8-week treatment (P<0.001). The control group wanted to eat much more food (P<0.05) and sometimes thought about eating more often compared with the YH-500 group (P<0.05). Whereas the control group showed a slightly increased sweet preference, the YH-500 group showed a significant reduction in sweet preference (P<0.05). In conclusion, low dose YH supplementation (0.5 g/d) may induce a reductions in weight and body fat in obese women via the reduction of calorie intake.
Source: Jung, E. Y., Lee, J. W., Hong, Y. H., Chang, U. J., Suh, H. J. Low Dose Yeast Hydrolysate in Treatment of Obesity and Weight Loss. Preventive nutrition and food science (2017), 22(1), 45 49.
Polyphenols from cinnamon (CN) have been described recently as insulin sensitizers and antioxidants but their effects on the glucose/insulin system in vivo have not been totally investigated. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of CN on insulin resistance and body composition, using an animal model of the metabolic syndrome, the high fat/high fructose (HF/HF) fed rat. Four groups of 22 male Wistar rats were fed for 12 weeks with: (i) (HF/HF) diet to induce insulin resistance, (ii) HF/HF diet containing 20 g cinnamon/kg of diet (HF/HF + CN), (iii) Control diet (C) and (iv) Control diet containing 20 g cinnamon/kg of diet (C + CN). Data from hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps showed a significant decrease of the glucose infusion rates in rats fed the HF/HF diet. Addition of cinnamon to the HF/HF diet increased the glucose infusion rates to those of the control rats. The HF/HF diet induced a reduction in pancreas weight which was prevented in HF/HF+CN group (p<0.01). Mesenteric white fat accumulation was observed in HF/HF rats vs. control rats (p<0.01). This deleterious effect was alleviated when cinnamon was added to the diet. In summary, these results suggest that in animals fed a high fat/high fructose diet to induce insulin resistance, CN alters body composition in association with improved insulin sensitivity.
Source: Couturier K, Batandier C, Awada M, Hininger-Favier I, Canini F, Anderson RA, Leverve X, Roussel AM. Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity and alters the body composition in an animal model of the metabolic syndrome. Arch Biochem Biophys. (2010);501(1):158-61.
Background: Nutritional modulation remains central to the management of metabolic syndrome. Intervention with cinnamon in individuals with metabolic syndrome remains sparsely researched.
Methods: We investigated the effect of oral cinnamon consumption on body composition and metabolic parameters of Asian Indians with metabolic syndrome. In this 16-week double blind randomized control trial, 116 individuals with metabolic syndrome were randomized to two dietary intervention groups, cinnamon [6 capsules (3 g) daily] or wheat flour [6 capsules (2.5 g) daily]. Body composition, blood pressure and metabolic parameters were assessed.
Results: Significantly greater decrease [difference between means, (95% CI)] in fasting blood glucose (mmol/L) [0.3 (0.2, 0.5) p = 0.001], glycosylated haemoglobin (mmol/mol) [2.6 (0.4, 4.9) p = 0.023], waist circumference (cm) [4.8 (1.9, 7.7) p = 0.002] and body mass index (kg/m2 ) [1.3 (0.9, 1.5) p = 0.001] was observed in the cinnamon group compared to placebo group. Other parameters which showed significantly greater improvement were: waist-hip ratio, blood pressure, serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Prevalence of defined metabolic syndrome was significantly reduced in the intervention group (34.5%) vs. the placebo group (5.2%).
Conclusion: A single supplement intervention with 3 g cinnamon for 16 weeks resulted in significant improvements in all components of metabolic syndrome in a sample of Asian Indians in north India.
Source: Gupta Jain, S., Puri, S., Misra, A., Gulati, S., Mani, K. Effect of oral cinnamon intervention on metabolic profile and body composition of Asian Indians with metabolic syndrome: a randomized double -blind control trial. Lipids in health and disease (2017) 16(1), 113.