Take two tablets a day containing an extract of the Asian climbing plant Gynostemma pentaphyllum, and you’ll lose nearly a kilogram fat in a month. Without dieting, and without extra exercise, according to a study published by nutritionists at Chonbuk National University, Korea in Obesity.
Gynostemma pentaphyllum – or Jiaogulan – is related to cucumber, pumpkin and melon. Traditional healers in Asia use the leaves of the plant in particular. They use them to make a number of potions, including tea, which they say has the same properties as Ginseng.
And indeed, Gynostemma pentaphyllum contains gypensapogenins, which resemble the active substances in Ginseng, the ginsenosides. One of these – Ginsenoside-Rg1, to be exact – is shown here.
Bodybuilders may be familiar with Gynostemma pentaphyllum, as an ingredient in NO boosters. Some supplements manufacturers use Jiaogulan extracts for these products because in-vitro studies have shown that gypensapogenins do indeed boost NO concentration. [Nitric Oxide. 1999 Oct;3(5):359-65.]
But the Koreans are looking for other uses of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, in particular whether it’s likely to be an interesting slimming supplement. They base this reasoning on in-vitro and animal studies in which some components of Gynostemma pentaphyllum activate the energy sensor AMPK, which then boosts fat burning and makes muscle cells more insulin sensitive. [Bioorg Med Chem. 2011 Nov 1; 19(21): 6254-60.] [Biotechnol Lett. 2012 Sep; 34(9): 1607-16.]
Korean scientists have already developed an extract of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, which contains a high concentration of the AMPK-stimulating components Damulin A and B [structural formulas shown below]. The extract is called Actiponin.
The Korean researchers gave 40 overweight people 450 mg Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract daily for 12 weeks. The dose was given in 2 tablets a day. An equal number of subjects were given a placebo. The subjects made no changes to their lifestyle.
The researchers monitored the subjects’ blood, but observed no effect on cholesterol balance or triglyceride levels.
The bodyweight, fat mass and waist measurement of the placebo group did not change during the 12 weeks.
The subjects who had taken the extract lost weight, fat mass and centimetres round their waist.
“Data from our study suggest that Actiponin is a safe and effective antiobesity agent”, the Koreans conclude. “It will be of interest to investigate long-term effect of Actiponin supplementation on improving severe obesity. Combined with life style modification or weight-reducing diet program, the antiobesity effect of Actiponin will become more pronounced.”
Antiobesity effect of Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract (actiponin): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
The effects of actiponin was investigated, a heat-processed Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract, on body weight, fat loss, and metabolic markers of Korean participants in a 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
DESIGN AND METHODS:
Obese participants (BMI???25 kg m(-2) and WHR???0.90 for male or WHR???0.85 for female) who had not been diagnosed with any disease and met the inclusion criteria were recruited for this study. The 80 subjects were randomly divided into actiponin (n?=?40, 450 mg day(-1) ) and placebo (n?=?40) groups. Outcomes included measurement of efficacy (abdominal fat distribution, anthropometric parameters, and blood lipid profiles) and safety (adverse events, laboratory test results, electrocardiogram data, and vital signs).
During 12-week of actiponin supplementation, total abdominal fat area, body weight, body fat mass, percent body fat, and BMI were significantly decreased (P?=?0.044, P?< ?0.05, P?0.0001, P?0.0001, and P?0.05, respectively) in the actiponin group compared to the placebo group. No clinically significant changes in any safety parameter were observed.
Our study revealed that actiponin is a potent antiobesity reagent that does not produce any significant adverse effects. These results suggest that actiponin supplementation may be effective for treating obese individuals.
PMID: 23804546 [PubMed – in process]