There’s a lot of info out there about various supplements and their benefits, and it’s tough to know which ones have solid science-backed support. Recently, however, a blend of two herbal ingredients—Sphaeranthus indicus extract (from a plant widely used in Ayurvedic medicine) and Garcinia mangostana (from the rinds of mangosteen fruits)—has actually been shown to help people shed both pounds and inches, according to research at both the University of California, Davis and a hospital in Vijayawada, India. (Here are more 10 Unbelievable Diet Rules Backed By Science.)
Their eight-week study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, had one group of people take capsules with the herbal combo before breakfast and dinner, while another group took placebos; all participants followed the same 2,000-calories-a-day diet and walked daily. Very quickly, those taking the Sphaeranthus indicus/Garcinia mangostana blend noticed changes: After two weeks, they’d lost almost 3 pounds more than the placebo group, and by the eight-week mark, the difference was 8.4 pounds. What’s more, they saw bigger decreases in their waist and hip circumferences (2.3 more inches and 1.3 more inches, respectively), with changes showingup in these measurements in just two weeks.
What accounts for these results? The study authors concluded that the blend, along with lifestyle changes, may change pathways involved in metabolizing sugar and fat. For instance, the people who took the herbal combo showed an increase in levels of adiponectin, a protein that breaks down fat. And they weren’t just slimmer—they were healthier too: Their total cholesterol and triglycerides improved, as did their fasting blood-glucose levels. (Many of the participants started the trial with abnormal glucose levels,but were within normal range by the eight-week mark.)
Perhaps most important, the study authors didn’t observe any safety problems or serious negative effects of taking the supplement. In fact, other studies that have individually focused on either Sphaeranthus indicus or Garcinia mangostana have found health benefits, such as better blood pressure, higher antioxidant levels, improved digestion, and anti-inflammatory activity. The blend is available in supplement form; if you want to try it, look for Re-Body Meratrim at GNC ($40; gnc.com).
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By Shape Editors